02 July 2015

Political Thoughts

In the London Review of Books (18 June 2015) Christopher Lehman writes of the Republican so-called candidates: “Of the dozen or so people who have declared or are thought likely to declare, everyone can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.” He speaks particularly of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham and Scott Walker. If it weren’t too true it would be too funny! So much hubris, so much presumption suggests that somewhere and somehow hidden intentions abound. There has to be some motive for displaying incompetence so prominently. I find it hard to imagine so much idiocy so unabashedly and publically displayed without there first being some sinister motive developed by some Republican politico-strategist. I’m guessing that there must be some grand intention that would explain the entrance of so many remarkably unremarkable, unqualified Republican candidates into the race for the Presidential nomination. I am thinking that it was the 1962 New York Mets when last a similar bunch of amateur incompetents were assembled as is now grouped under the Republican banner of candidates for President of the United States. I acknowledge, however, that the well meaningness of the former far exceeds that of the latter.
     And in this week’s New York Times I read that Chris Christie has joined the fray. I am not heartened by his entrance and continue to suspect some ulterior motive to the growing list of candidates, though what the ultimate strategy might be I cannot imagine. The article suggests that “Mr. Christie, whose rapid rise as a national Republican in his first term was matched only by his spectacular loss of stature at home in his second, enters the 2016 presidential race bearing little resemblance to the candidate he once expected to be.
The economic recovery he promised has turned into a cascade of ugly credit downgrades and anemic job growth. The state pension he vowed to fix has descended into a morass of missed payments and lawsuits. The administration he pledged would be a paragon of ethics has instead conspired to mire an entire town in traffic and the governor’s office in scandal.” I wonder how a man so described could presume to think himself competent to become the President of the United States. Christie must be blind to his failures, or he wondrously re-inscribes his failures as achievements, or he assigns the responsibility for these debacles onto others in his administration. In any of these cases, I remain dubious of the man’s ethics.
     And so with all of these incompetents declaring their interest in becoming President, I have to assume that there is an overall strategy that has been developed by some mastermind in the Republican Party that might explain this plethora of putridity (a phrase that reminds me of the best pronouncements of another illustrious Republican, Spiro Agnew, to whom we owe such insightful rhetorical expressions as “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “effete corps of intellectual snobs”). In his article Lehman suggests that the entrance of Donald Trump into the race “can make anyone in his general vicinity look good,” and so is justified Trump’s announced candidacy this past week, and so is reinforced my suspicion of some Republican strategist’s grand design.
     And finally, that Chief Justice Roberts permits Justice Scalia to speak as disrespectfully of his colleagues as he does gives some insight into the presumption of the Republican candidates for the Presidency, and continues to terrify me that any one of them might succeed. 


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