So the Mitt (or is it the Mutt?) has finally chosen his VP—Paul Ryan.
The first question that popped into my head was: Dear God, where do the Republicans get all these dweebs? And then it occurred to me: the Grand Old Party just never runs out of Weenies to put on the national stage. I mean look at the lineup they had vying for the Presidential nomination before Mitt outspent them all, led by that queen of shrill vapidity, Michelle Bachman. Has anyone ever seen her like? And then there was the Newt, like some thatch-headed extra for a revolutionary war film who forgot his uniform. Followed by that refugee from a minstrel show, Herman Cain; with Texas’s Rick Perry looking as if he’s forgotten his blunderbuss but remains eager to shoot someone, anyone; and Ron Santorum blathering as if he’s forgotten his Bible while trying to figure out whether Roman Catholics are supposed to read the Bible in the first place. Blunderers all; thundering idiots you would not ever want to be caught cornered at a party with. I met an aspirant to some minor office at a party in New Jersey once when I was just out of college. What a tool. He was the type of guy you knew from school or work who everyone was always trying to slip away from. The phrase an editor colleague of mine once used to describe another colleague is perfect here: “He has halitosis of the soul.” It’s a condition the Republican party has made its own.
Hence the current VP nominee, Paul Ryan. Does he not look like his mother forgot to tell him how to tuck his shirt in or comb his hair? Earnest, self-righteous, and dorky in the extreme. Eagerly proclaiming his intention to save the republic from the flaming socialist-commie-teacher-darkie government revenooers he sees everywhere trying to spend us into oblivion. Save the nation: cut the fat out of the budget: which is to say, get all the freeloaders—the poor, the aged, the minorities, the halt and the lame—off the backs of the good Americans (like the Koch Brothers, his big backers) who work for a living! No free lunch! We need to take the hard steps to get our house in order (except for the military of course; Ryan, an avid hunter, loves the gun-toters; and also excepting the platinum health care reserved for himself and other Congressionals). And it occurs to me: what has happened to the Irish in the state of Wisconsin? I mean, the real Irish of old in cities like New York and Boston who were pols of the old school, ready to breathe fire to implement social justice. Folks like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Mary “Mother” Jones of the Wobblies, Honey Fitz in Boston and the Boston Kennedys and the Walkers and the Daleys who, though they were operators, at least operated a good part of the time on behalf of working people and the underdog. But Wisconsin! First they give us Joe McCarthy, that demagogue of a witch hunter who saw commies in every closet. Then they give us Scott Walker, the current governor and model dweeb, another lap dog of the Koch brothers ridding the public payroll of all those unionists and government pensioners. And now Paul Ryan, with his budget fix that will enrich the rich and disembowel the poor, with his recent quote: “American rights come from God, not government.” Oh really? Weren’t there some government guys who fought and died for those rights? Weren’t there some Jeffersons and Franklins in Philadelphia who secured those rights in a government document?
In a way, though, Ryan is the perfect fit for that original dweeb, the Mitt. If ever two pols were a match in their awkwardness, in their disregard for common people, in their rigidity of hair and thought and white paranoia, it’s these two. Who could ever imagine either one of them with an emotion? with a human response to suffering? with a genuine response to a song—other than a pre-planned hand-on-breast-for-the-cameras pose for the national anthem? Though they try to feign it, of course, and play down the harshness of their plans, and pretend to be all for the people. Yeah, but which people? The ones who love vouchers, is who they mean; the ones who want to shed tears over the unborn, but who are perfectly happy to condemn living breathing human beings of the “wrong sort” to perpetual servitude.
And all we can hope is that a majority of American voters will feel that heartlessness, will feel that void where humanity normally lives, even if they can’t quite figure out intellectually that a vote for these guys is a vote for the return of the white-bread ideologues who nearly brought the house down in the first place, and fully intend to do it again if given the chance.