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Whither Art Thou, The True America?

Washington is no less 'real' than the gibberish in the heartland

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

Our perpetual election cycle continues, and today we're shocked that one of Sarah Palin's choices in the Tea Party actually might win, amazing given her lousy record of endorsement success, although this is in her home state.

In Arizona, always amusing, clueless former porn writer Ben Quayle, who probably is idiotically sincere in thinking Obama the worst President ever, won his Arizona congressional primary with some help from his father Dan and family money over six or seven opponents. Because it's Arizona, he is favored to defeat any Democrat, which is depressing, although there might be a debate or a spelling test. John McCain won over a huckster to retain his Senate seat, and it's doubtful a Democrat can beat him. Senator David Vitter, whose undenied forays into prostitution don't seem to have cost him anything in Louisiana, looks solid to win his primary on Saturday. Pollsters asked the important question of the voters, to wit: is Vitter a good Christian. You should know that 44% of Louisiana voters think Vitter is not a good model of Christian living to only 21% who say he is. Of the Republicans, 32% think Vitter is a good model. Again, the man employed hookers, and kept employed as a top aide someone who'd attacked his girlfriend with a knife. But that's unimportant. Is the man a Christian?

Ben Quayle assures us, as so many Tea Party enthusiasts do, that someone needs to kick ass and take names in Washington, and all politicians claim that those in Washington don't know what it's like in the real world, in the real America, and that's why their particular homey ignorance and blarney should be sent there at full pay to clean it up. I don't think that premise is true. I don't think it's ever been true. Of the two worlds - the often ridiculous Washington within the Beltway and small town/big city America - I think Washington lives in orbit within the real world and the rest of our nation is awash in moronic myth and social templates that serve to keep us ignorant and malleable to the ministrations of willing politicians. Take the big horror that, we're told, all real Americans fear and reject: socialism. They cannot call it communism, anymore, because Reagan defeated communism, don't you know.

In fact, the military, the agriculture sector, unions, and education are all socialized, and medicine has increasingly been so for while. Social Security and Medicare are socialist programs and mostly beloved. But as in so much, Americans want to pretend they're ruggedly independent and pay their own way. In reality, very few do. Successful politicians pander to that illusion, which is why the option of privatizing Social Security still lives. If we'd done that a decade ago, imagine how we'd be now after the collapse of our financial sector. Anyone who believes privatizing Social Security is a good idea is not reality based.

So decrepit is our educational system, candidates can campaign on issues over which the office they hope to win has no authority. Presidential candidates campaign on issues that the Constitution clearly gives to the Congress, like raising and lowering taxes.

Candidates for legislative office campaign on tough guy executive issues and assure voters they're going to take on al Qaeda or Cuba or Russia as if they were the CIC when they will be one vote of 435 in the House or one vote in 100 in the Senate. They also don't seem aware that Congress essentially signed over war making power to the President, which is of dubious constitutionality, but there we are.

Here in Colorado, Senatorial Candidate Ken Buck campaigns on an image that Washington is too liberal and is scared of conservative men of principle….like himself. Buck originally wanted to rescind the 17th Amendment and again allow only state legislators to elect Senators, as in the 18th century. That would require a Constitutional Amendment by a process that would not involve Ken Buck in any substantial way. That it's even raised as a serious consideration is fairly moronic, appealing only to those supposed conservatives who want just the original constitution enforced, Marbury vs. Madison be damned. Now that he has to pander to the sane, Buck is backtracking. On that issue, because each state could decide who could vote in a federal election, conservatives hope to return to the days before women, blacks, or anyone but men of property could vote at all, not because they're selfish, oh no, but because they're strict believers in the Constitution as Golden Tablet from on high. A great many of the third rate white males now allowed to vote aren't aware they would be excluded as well. I suppose they could find solace in their Christianity.