Thanks for the
© Jack Cashill
I am weary, Lord, of all the complaining and caterwauling, all the cranky emails that tell me Fred is too lazy and Rudy is too sleazy and John is too wily and Mitt is too wobbly and Mike is too cagey and Ron is too crazy and Duncan is too dreary and Tom is too Johnny one note.
And none of these Republicans, by some calculus or another, is conservative enough or charismatic enough, and all of them, alas, will come a cropper in the face of just about any Democrat not named Chris Dodd.
And this, Lord, is what I hear from my right wing friends. I ask You, have they drunk so deeply of the mainstream Kool Aid that they lost their minds or at the very least their memories?
Do they not understand that this is best crop of candidates any party has put up in years, possibly ever?
2000 was the Republican’s last competitive primary. If You recall—I know You do--that year I moderated a presidential debate in Kansas City.
The day of debate I met Alan Keyes, who bristled when he talked, and Pat Buchanan, who bristled even when he walked, and Gary Bauer, who may still bristle at the thought of me.
As You remember, I was supposed to nudge out a little stool for Bauer to stand on. But I screwed up and knocked it over noisily and, who knows, maybe cost him the nomination. My bad!
These were some of our top tier candidates by the way. Nothing against short guys, mind you, or bristlers, but I cannot imagine Napoleon standing on a stool. And real leaders don’t bristle. They inspire.
My pick that year was Steve Forbes. Watching him speak, however, was like watching Ben Stein teach economics to Ferris Bueller. Forbes had the curb appeal of a Dennis Kucinich and about as much chance of beating Al Gore as Gary Bauer did, which was none.
In 1996, however, that very same Steve Forbes was Bob Dole’s only real competition. I know you might have liked to forget, but being Who You are, you cannot forget 1996. I just try to.
As far as Kansas senators go, Sam Brownback proved a more attractive candidate this time around than Dole was then, but Sam did not even make this year’s final cut. In 1996 Dole was the man. Bless his heart, I could have beaten him.
As to John McCain, he spent primary season 2000 criss-crossing the country like a crazed contestant in some bizarre reality show, the goal of which was to insult as many Christian conservatives as possible before the gong sounded, which it did, happily, in South Carolina.
And then there was George W, the only Republican in America who could have beaten Al Gore in 2000, he of the good heart and strong will. Thank You for helping us pick him.
You might have endowed W with a little more, well, coherence, but we know Your ways are strange and mysterious.
Strange or not, we thank You and W both for the tax cuts, for the strong economy, for John Roberts and Sam Alito, and especially for the all but unbelievable six years free of terrorist attacks against us anywhere in the world save for the battlefields.
And let us offer our special thanks and prayers for those thousands of young Americans who gave their all on those battlefields to keep us safe and free.
History will remember W more kindly than CNN does today. Perhaps if we honored W’s better angels more than we harped on his hare-brained ones (metaphorically speaking, of course), we could help set the record straight.
In any case, George 43 has been a consistently better president than the otherwise honorable George 41, that “vision thing” holding him back a bit.
Yet in 1992, our only real choice was George 41 and Pat B. That was it, if you forget nutball Ross Perot, which I can, if You cannot.
In 1988, another open year, we in our weenie wisdom concocted a field of George 41 and Bob Dole and Al Haig and Jack Kemp and “Pete” DuPont—Pierre, actually—and, though our final pick was likely the best, we dare to complain about 2008?
How ungrateful can we be? In 1976, You gave us a choice between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and we chose Ford! In Your mercy, You forgave us and gave another look at the Gipper.
Thank You, and forgive the people of Iowa for going astray in the 1980 caucus. That happens.
In 1968, closet-liberal Richard Nixon nosed out the un-closeted Nelson Rockefeller and the cross-dressing John Lindsay and we complain that the 2008 field is not conservative enough?
Forgive us our teeny memories.
In 1972, the first year I could vote, Nixon was the one and only one. For all his faults, he did keep George McGovern out of the White House, and I don’t regret my vote. Still!
In 2008, there are no Rockefeller Republicans among our remaining eight, no Nixons, no Fords, no one promising a “kinder and gentler” anything. Not a one of them, as far as I can tell, even knows the words to “Kumbaya.”
Certainly not John McCain. In the last seven years he has wiped the grease paint off and put the war paint back on.
As to Mitt Romney, if the Dems had someone that smart, successful and charismatic, they would be celebrating his Mormonism as an “historic choice.”
The Dems call Thompson “dumb and lazy,” but to me that sounds like code for “Reaganesque.” They know their base well enough to fear that 20 percent of them will vote for Fred because they like him on Law & Order.
The Dems tell us that social conservatives won’t vote for Rudy, but what, they will vote for Hillary?
Yes, of course, they remember how the pants-suited junior senator pulled New York out of the ashes of 9-11 and led the fight against Islamic terrorism. Puhleeze!
Mike Huckabee has helped America forget that only recently Arkansas’s state flower was coca leaf and its state motto was, “You might want to put some ice on that.”
Tancredo and Hunter, good guys both, understand better than anyone that Robert Frost was right, good fences do make good neighbors, at least better neighbors.
As to Ron Paul, he may be against the war, but he is the only candidate who would have opposed it even if Al Gore had gotten to lead it.
In the process, he is converting millions of slackers and deadheads from liberalism to libertarianism, an essential first step out of their parents’ basements.
So thank you, Lord, for this and so very much more, especially for Hillary. Come election day, she will remind us all why, regardless of what we are, we are not Democrats.
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