Friday, November 4, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
I’ve enjoyed watching Herman Cain slowly circle the bowl over the past week or so. To give him his due, the guy is infinitely more entertaining than the rest of the gunslingers still bravely riding the Republican debate circuit, like a group of heroes from the Wild West clinging to their reputations as defenders of the rugged past of our great nation. (Can I get a “God Bless America” here from someone? Or, as we hear more often these days, "God Bless the United States of America," which I suppose is the original version that was handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the modifier "United States of" being reinserted to insure that no one accidentally calls down heaven's benison on some place like Venezuela.)
The Cain ad with the guy smoking at the end really captured my imagination. I loved it. If all the tobacco smokers out there got behind Cain that would pretty much put him over the top, especially when you add in the non-smoking supporters of the habit, of which there have to be a few. The trouble is that lots of smokers are so filled with self-loathing and revulsion for their own deadly addiction that a bunch of them would probably not vote for him just because he seems, indirectly, to support smoking, or at least not have a strong opinion on it like most folks do. Then there's the matter of the secret smoking of our esteemed President. But from here I won’t tread further into what I must, in fairness, concede to be the rightful territory of Jon Stewart the TV talk show hosts.
As a long-time struggler with smoking (see my recollection, “Tobacco Road,” which you can link to on my web site, peterteeuwissen.com, by going to the upper right corner of this blog) I have to say I like the idea of someone who flaunts convention to the extent this guy Cain does. Sure he’s a Republican, and I wouldn’t vote for him under any circumstances, or for that matter probably wouldn’t cross the street to piss on him if he were on fire, but that smoking thing was just so .... darned ....cute.
But now there are the not-so-cute sexual harassment charges. Naughty, naughty, Herman. Though nothing I’ve read so far has remotely approached the kind of stuff our former President was accused of (and ultimately admitted to) during the same general time period, it’s not good. Probably in the near future it will mean the end of our enjoyment of Herman Cain as he “struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is seen no more,” in the words of Macbeth. In today's LA Times I read that Cain, or at least his staff while they're out smoking on the sidewalk in front of his building, see the harassment accusations as “part of a calculated effort to undermine his presidential campaign.” Uh, gee, do you think??
Cain and his people suspect that Rick Perry is behind the unearthing of the sexual harassment charges--that he's found a smoking gun to complement the smoking campaign manager. Perry looks like an good bet, because he’s the go-to Bad Guy for any shootout with another Republican candidate. The reason for this is that (1) he’s a naturally mean sumbitch and relishes the fact, and (2) the powers that be in the GOP know he will be falling by the wayside himself soon enough and need to get what they can out of him. Soon he'll shoot himself in the foot once too often. Failing that, they'll take him out themselves. He’s just a bit too far out on the lunatic fringe even for them. Expect news of a Perry peccadillo or two in the near future, something beyond just rubbing the head of his black golf caddy for luck. Eventually the guy with the white hat (and white sideburns) is going to come riding into town for the final gunfight with Cowboy Rick. And when the smoke clears, only God's righteous right-hand man will be standing.
Another theory about Herman Cain did occur to me. I figured it might be the Mormons’ revenge for the smoking thing. We all know how abstemious they are in their personal habits. Then on further reflection I thought, why would the Mormons bring up sexual harassment, when the founder of their religion had a revelation from God that said he could take a sixteen-year-old girl as his bride in addition to the wife he’d already had for six years? And that was only the beginning. After a few more additions to the harem over the next ten years, old Joseph Smith went on a frenzy of wife-taking, adding as many as thirty more during the period from 1841-1844. Talk about a gunslinger--that guy rarely got it back into his holster. (The first Mrs. Smith, it should be noted, was not entirely down with this deal.)
I confess I didn’t think I’d be as amused as I have been by the alternative-reality show the Republicans have been putting on lately, but what with the baseball season being over and the NBA being on hold and only one or two days of college football games a week, I guess I succumbed. And of course the media is so eager to put so much time and effort into covering these rascals, notwithstanding the fact that the nominating convention is still ten months away. It proves what I’ve always said: even with half a dozen 24-hour news stations and thousands of newspapers and tweets and twitters and all that, there are still only about fifteen minutes of actual news worth reading or hearing on any given day, and that includes the weather and sports. It was true during World War II, for Christ’s sake, and it’s even truer today. The rest is entertainment, good or bad, no matter what else it purports to be.