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Tough Choices for Tough Men

GOP Manhood

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 04, 2006.

We have a choice today, as Americans. Do we believe Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Florida Congresswoman Katherine Harris? They blame Democrats for springing Congressman Foley on America’s children, doing the work of Terrorists. Or do we believe Bill O’Reilly, who yesterday claimed Foley was, in fact, a Democrat himself, all that Republican money and campaign work by President Bush to the contrary? Still, though, doing the work of Terrorists. They only report, you decide.

Tough issues for tough times, and only real, American men like Loofa Bill can face up to these challenges. And American women. And some of those men and women are not Wasp Republicans, but ethnics, like those who showed up for Senator George Allen’s Ethnic Barbecue during his re-election campaign in Virginia. His words, not mine, and in Virginia, or the Virginia of George Allen, them ethnics vote too, and not all of them are Macacas as the good Senator calls them. Some of them are Jewish, and the Senator loves Jews as well, he just discovered, because he allowed the nation to know that he’d interrupted the consumption of a ham sandwich to say he was proud of his recently revealed Jewish heritage, by which is meant to the genetically inclined in racist minds he actually is Jewish like his mother, although somehow this part of the heroic family history never was spoken before a potential voter.

We hairy-chested American men have a tough row to hoe, surely. From the early days of getting Draft Exemptions to the long hours we’ve spent sending off lesser class men and women to war so we can feel man-like as well. We feel every IED, every term of service extension, every undelivered armor vest just like our brave men and women on the front line. It’s hell being a Republican in government. Only real men can do it.

One of the things that’s always annoyed me about the new Republican party since Reagan is that the most vicious hawks, the most chest thumping, self-declared True Americans, are so clearly third rate men by any standard, and have found the way to compensate in the Republican Party of Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and George Bush. This is partly because the GOP is of two halves at present: the actual conservatives, and the social conservatives of the religious right. Under the guise of a big tent, the Party welcomed the Jack Abramoff types to feed them, and the Ralph Reed types to bless them, and consecrate their greed and cowardice, even though both are obvious con men risen high. Henna-haired globs of unrisen dough, former insurance agents and exterminators, the GOP became vicious in reverse proportion to its individual member’s courage. And this is what filtered down to the ranks at Abu Ghraib.

The new GOPers joined a bunch of true, old time conservatives for gravitas, and they charmed the electorate by implying that the path to manhood was violence from afar, say around 30k feet, and smart weapons were the new swords, and that pose and posture of manhood sufficed for the real thing. In fact, their attempts to be Ronald Reagan, himself a mere image of manhood and action not verified in fact, were every bit as flimsy and uncentered in reality as Paris Hilton’s current career goal of being viewed as more than a band sock on a tour bus. In the battle of nature vs. nurture, nature wins every time.

Today, someone found a photo of President Bush with two wingmen, on foot and marching somewhere, I suppose in the Katrina-hit South, looking concerned and over manly. All three have the Ivy League at leisure look, dress shirts open at the collar, sleeves rolled up. This is politico posturing, common to all, but the fact is the two wingmen are Michael Brown, head of FEMA, and Congressman Mark Foley, a long time fan of young men, we’re learning. That’s today’s Republican Party in spades. Trust me, Hillary Clinton leading Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy from Hyannisport to Provincetown would not generate the same issues in the minds of most Americans. Kennedy served two years active duty, for one. Frank is openly and cheerfully gay. Most important, all three are highly competent at their jobs with high approval ratings.

Foley is now claiming that he was molested by a clergyman in his youth, unnamed, but because Foley was raised a Catholic we’re apparently to conclude by the easiest prejudice and blame the Catholic Church. Because the Church is, in fact, guilty as hell of a major criminal cover-up which won’t be prosecuted as such, Foley is hoping his own particular issues will dissolve in that miasma in the public’s mind. It won’t. And this is because the public is way ahead of the politicos on that issue. They know the Church is guilty not because it is a church but because is a self-protecting bureaucracy, and that the problems did not start in the 1960’s with the Hippies leading to degeneration of the American moral fiber. They also know that Congress, another bureaucracy, has protected its own and been a swamp of degeneration for two centuries, and they know why. A too large percentage of the men - as they’ve mostly been - who are attracted to power share variations of Foley’s proclivities and inclinations. But only under recent Republicanism has it been shielded by pseudo-patriotism and debased religion.