I don’t have a funny little story right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and get to the point: Politics in this country right now is killing the spirit of America (if such a thing ever existed).
Imagine, for a moment, if a republican had won the election that made Barack Obama our first president on the classroom poster whose skin looks different mine (other than Grover Cleveland–I hear he had really bad eczema). Now imagine that this republican president was running for reelection this year, while this nation had seen the same sort of recovery we have seen since the 2008 election–A recovery that has effected almost every aspect of the American economy: Growth in manufacturing, in job creation–with headlines like the one I saw the other day reading “Jobless Claims Fall to a 4 Year Low,” in the stock market, saving the auto industry, …. Good grief, even killing Osama Bin Laden! If a republican incumbent was running on the record of accomplishments that we have seen since Obama has been in office, instead of spouting endless criticism, the republicans would be bragging every chance that they could about this first term. And the other side of that coin is that the democrats would likely be saying the same sort of thing that the republicans are saying right now– “It’s not good enough,” “It’s the wrong direction,” and even saying that Obama’s policies “have actually made our economy worse” as House Speaker John Boehner has been arguing recently…. Which is just not true.
Even Mitt Romney admits that the economy is getting better–And he’s getting a lot of flack about that admission from the conservative right. For example, check out this back and forth between Mitt Romney and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham:
INGRAHAM: You’ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the president’s argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying it’s getting better?
ROMNEY: Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession, there is always a recovery.
INGRAHAM: Isn’t it a hard argument to make if you’re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession, he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now, we’re seeing more jobs, but vote against him anyway? Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?
ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.
And yeah, it is the truth–Economically, things are a lot better than they were four years ago. But in order to get elected, candidates aren’t allowed to admit this sort of fact (the sort admission that concedes the other side may be experiencing some measure of success) without getting huge amounts of blowback. And people just kind of throw their hands up and say, “Well, that kind of stuff is just politics,” but the thing is: Yeah. You’re right. But it’s gross, and it’s dishonest, and it doesn’t have to be this way. At least, it SHOULDN’T be this way.
If a candidate admits that the other side has something that even resembles a good idea, people will call it a “gaffe.” A gaffe is defined as “A politician accidentally telling the truth.” (I was really proud of myself for coming up with this definition, so I Googled it…. Turns out I am far from the first person to come up with it. Crap. Oh well–it’s still awesome.) Last week, Romney’s campaign spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom had one of those “truth-telling gaffes.” When he was asked if Mitt has skewed so far right during the primaries that it was going to be difficult to sway independents in the general election, here is what he said: “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch–You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.” (For an interesting list of some of the Best Romney Gaffes, click here.) And it’s the truth–You cater to the crazies during the primaries! Everybody knows that. But you can’t SAY that, or you’ll never get a chance to be the nominee. It’s so messed up.
My thing is this: Have these guys never watched a freaking movie about politics or running for office?!? If those communist bastards that run Hollywood have taught me anything (and they have), it’s that the American public is DESPERATE for a politician who will tell it like it is. You got your Dave, your The American President, your Bulworth (Oh my goodness, BULWORTH!! If you take nothing else away from this blog, GO SEE THE MOVIE BULWORTH!!! Please, I am begging you–It is so, SO awesome!), and to a lesser extent, you got your Brewster’s Millions. As Richard Pryor’s Montgomery Brewster spoke the truth about politics and called both candidates a couple of crooks while asking people to vote for “None of the Above,” the city found the truth so refreshing that it looked like he might actually win! I still find it refreshing–if I see Brewster’s Millions on TV, it’s one of those movies that I will watch all the way through, even though I’ve seen it about 50 times (By the way, before the whole Rush controversy, Mitt Romney was asked about the Blunt Amendment–a bill making it harder for women to access birth control–and he said, “I’m not for the bill…. Contraception is working just fine. Let’s just leave it alone.” Then, three hours later, he “corrected his gaffe” and catered to the crazies. Please watch John Stewart explain it better than I ever could).
Imagine the Montgomery Brewster-esque reaction the voting public would have had if, after Rush crossed the line, even one of the candidates had had the balls to stand up and say something like, “Yeah, I have agreed with some of the things that Rush has said in the past, and I have disagreed with some of the things he has said…. But calling this woman a slut and a prostitute and suggesting that she film herself having sex and post that video to the internet in order to ‘pay us back’ for buying her birth control is just morally reprehensible. I think that Ms. Fluke should slap his fat head. He really is a very bad person, and I will never listen to his show again.” The one who said that would win in a landslide! At least he would if we’re making a movie. Well…. He’d win the primaries, I mean–If we’re telling the truth, none of these jokers stands a chance against Obama in the general election…. Especially not if Hollywood is writing the script. Those communists.