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The Great Switcheroo

A Senator Changes Party as The Con Continues

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 23, 2001.

Examples of the grotesque knavery of human beings today. In one, a Vermont Senator is as of this writing threatening to switch parties from Republican to Democrat. He is doing so because, it is thought, the Bush White House has ignored him as so many other moderate Republicans. I agree with him, the Bush House is pandering to the Right. He also has policy problems with his party and has always voted down a predictably liberal social line. No horror here, he is a well regarded man by State and Senate. Further, I am he, in that I have all my life wanted to be a moderate Republican, socially liberal, vaguely libertarian and contrary financially, always willing to play off individual initiative against common good, corporate greed against labor stupidity. There are, at last count, three of us left in the United States. So it is sad I have to say that as much as I relish Trent Lott being sent packing as majority leader, I don't like this at all. I don't like people soliciting funds from one set of people and then turning on them. I didn't like it when our own reigning hypocrite, Ben "I'm A Cool Indian with Harley and Ponytail" Campbell held his digits damp to the thermals and switched over to the Republicans. And even though I think it serves the Republicans right, and that Senator Chafee of Rhode Island will follow, and that Strom Thurmond cannot possibly live till Thursday next, I don't like politicians who do this.

I don't like it because I don't believe them when they staple their wrist to their foreheads and bemoan the camel crushing straw that forced them, out of conscience, to make the change for the good of the people. Horse feathers. It's opportunistic as hell. Why the people who decry the decline of morality in opposition party members accept it when it goes their way only goes to the problem.

And in Hollywood, or its fringes, a woman who did something not dissimilar to these Senators paid the price. A aging self-declared gold digger and con artist set her sights on actor Robert Blake, best known as Beretta on television and the star of In Cold Blood in the movies. Blake is almost seventy, and this woman apparently and with malice aforethought deliberately got pregnant by Blake and compelled him to marry her because she would not get an abortion, even though she had had many before. Blake lost it and, it now seems sure, murdered her, although she had such a shady past it isn't impossible that Blake's improbable story is true and some other victim of hers did it. Nonetheless, although the medium is different, she would have made a good senator. She sets out to con people for her advantage by making promises and protestations of emotion she has no intention of keeping or actually feeling. She seduces her not terribly bright target. When, despite her assurances, a undesired product of this unholy union threatens to be born, a gossamer of legality is thrown over it so provide cover for the mark's stupidity and to give the con financial security. The difference here is that the mark, in this case Blake, recovered his brain but unfortunately killed her. I'm not approving of murder, but this woman did a horrible thing, using a baby as a blackmail tool against an old, if vain, man. The mark in the other case, The Public, shines it on. Politicians who blatantly deceive their public deserve comeuppance as well. Campbell was re-elected, because he transferred his allegiance to the bigger party. But it may not go so well in Vermont. If Senators feel the Republican Party has turned too far to the Right, as many do, they should get together and leave it in honorable fashion before the election, not half-way through their term, not right after the election like Campbell did. The people have a right to know who they're voting for.

All this said, it looks as though the Supreme Court will not bear the stamp of the conservative Republicans after all. Good often emerges from knavery. Go figure.