3/17/2014

#45 A Rat-like Political Experiment (2000)

All Rights Reserved © 2000 Thomas W. Day

George Washington said, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the American people." I suspect he'd be a bit dismayed at the way we're currently managing this experiment. For those who follow the Rat Rants, you probably suspect that I have mixed emotions about the results of our Presidential election (however it turns out). You'd be right.

Sixteen years ago, we tried a guy who once was a supporting actor to a chimpanzee, after letting California prove this same dude wasn't up to the challenge of sitting on a chair in the governor's office. For eight long recession years, Ronnie succeed in looking confused, which is what passes for "charisma" and "communicating" in the modern media-muddled world. After almost a decade of indictments, convictions, cover-ups, treason, and burying the country under an astounding who-knows-how-many-trillions national debt, Ronnie left office, as sentient as a Bush brother after a ten day binge, and a conservative national hero. Go figure.

Following in those stumbling footsteps, the Bush family has, apparently, been grooming the nation for this day. First, George the First appeared to be no mental threat to anyone outside of Kansas or Texas; a do-nothing Vice President following in the two hundred year old heel marks of do-nothing Vice Presidents. Still, after what happened this year, you have to wonder if he didn't have some control over the "opposing party" and the national consciousness (the ultimate oxymoron). If the Demolicans hadn't found someone even less interesting to run against Bush in 1988, we'd have never heard of (and learned to love) his little buddy, Danny.

Four years of listening to the Danny Quayle babbling brook conditioned the country to living with a moron a heart beat away from a fool. Somewhere, in that large building, I'm sure there is a button that could destroy the world, but we also learned to take comfort in the secure knowledge that neither of those two goofs could find that button in their lifetime, let alone in four years. Bush spent his time trying to get us to look at him long enough to read his lips and starting wars to distract our attention from his criminally warped children. Danny occupied his time trying to get his foot out of the Lincoln bedroom's trash can.

In hindsight, it appears that George Sr. was getting us ready for life with George Jr. Once you've suffered a speech from a mathematically, grammatically, and generally intellectually impaired Vice President, what's to stop you from doing the same with an equally talent-free President? All George Jr. adds to this mix is absolutely no working experience at any job whatsoever. And a lifetime of failure at every highly-paid menial task he's stumbled upon.

And now, after eight years of prosperity and economic stability, Americans are ready to resume the Reagan-Bush trickle down years. Because, and let's be real here, the only thing George Jr. had to offer was an upper class tax reduction. That was the only stand the man took in a year and a half of campaigning against every reform proposed during that period, even reforms offered by members of his own party. Any kind of review of Bush's record as a person or a candidate would make anyone, even his dad, wish there were some minimal qualifications required before a citizen can run for President.

George didn't win the hearts of the majority of voters, but he may have won the majority of electoral votes. (For the fourth time in history, Alex Hamilton gets his revenge.) Just considering the almost half of the voting public who tossed their fish toward Bush, I have no idea what this choice meant. It couldn't have been a completely selfish economic decision. The state that suffered an actual recession under Clinton-Gore, California, went for Gore. Californians are advertised to be the most self-absorbed people in the country. It couldn't have been a reaction to the phony morality play the Republicans have been staging for the last eight years. Bush is an acknowledge drunk, druggie, convicted small time criminal, party animal, and general purpose rich-kid screw-up. So what were those folks voting for?

It could be an iteration of that experiment Mr. Washington described. Seriously.

In 1998, in Minnesota, voters decided on the odd premise that a professional wrestler might be as skilled, competent, and believable as either of the moronic professional politicians the Demolicans offered us. Of course, the Repubocrats and the press were convinced that nobody would "waste their vote" on a professional wrestler who ran from the edge of a political party that only barely existed in Minnesota.

Wrongo, Mongo. Minnesotan voters took the view that two things would be accomplished with their vote; we can send a message to the Demolicans that we're not taking any old junk they decide to pawn off on us and we can find out just how technical a job being a governor really is.

Nobody's managing these tests, however. We overestimated the Repubocrats' intelligence and failed our own gut check. The two political parties didn't learn a thing from the loss of the governor's office. This last election presented voters with the same old group of nincompoops and ruling class butt kissers, but voters didn't call the political parties' bluff and chickened out before the revolution did any damage to the powers that be. An uncontrolled experiment doesn't return useful data. Just ask the FDA, drug companies do this kind of crap all the time.

The other part of the experiment has played out pretty well, though. I've always maintained that 99+(a lot of 9's past the decimal point)% of all executives contribute absolutely nothing useful to the facilities they mismanage. If that's true in the private sector, it has to be more true in government. At worst, Jesse Ventura hasn't done any worse than any of our past traditional party goofs. At best, he has been incredibly consistent to his own beliefs and statements. So, we've learned that either this job is unnecessary or any fool off of the public streets can do the job well enough. '

We might be about to run that same experiment on the President's office. Don't get me wrong, Americans have filled the office of President with a long and hilarious collection of morons, crooks, and clowns in the last 224 years. The two party system hasn't done much for quality government, but it has sure provided lots of great material for political cartoonists and satirists. When our politicians aren't trying to get us all killed, they are almost always good for a laugh. But George W. Bush is an experiment at an almost perfect level. He has absolutely no useful qualities or experiences to offer to the position (not completely unlike Gerald Ford, but with less intelligence and coordination). If the republic can survive GWB, we'll know two things; anyone can do the job and the job is completely unnecessary.

A few years back, the federal government closed down everything but "essential services" for a few weeks while Clinton and the Gingrich crowd waved their private parts at each other. At that time, each branch of the federal government identified who their "non-essential employees" were and sent them home, with pay, until the politician's put themselves back under zipper and suit pants. Hopefully, someone noted which jobs were non-essential and that information was stored some place where NSA and AEC employees won't take it out, play with it, and forget where they put it. When this next four years is over, we can add the office of the President and Vice President to that list and get rid of all of the non-essential government positions. After which, we'll have reduced the federal budget to about $42,000 a year and we'll be able to pay off the national debt by the middle of the summer in 2005.

So pay attention fellow Rats. The country is about to fire up a really interesting experiment.

October 2000

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