Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barack Obama - Stuck in the Middle with You

I'm not a fervent Barack Obama devotee. In a recent post, I outlined the reasons why. I wanted him to be the beguiling Pied Piper of his people, leading them in the direction he believed they should go by taking full advantage of the president's bully pulpit. I wanted him to forcefully articulate his position on issues like gay marriage and universal health care. I wanted him to passionately support the unions and workers in Wisconsin. I wanted him to take on the Republicans with a sword instead of a paring knife. Even if he went down, I wanted him to go down swinging.

My husband and I used to have a term for certain pop songs that were catchy but bland. They were pleasant and likable enough and often got stuck in your head, but without the heart to summon up strong feelings.  Barry Manilow was our idea of a piss-ninny pop artist. I think of Barack Obama a bit that way. Extremely talented and intelligent but unwilling to put those qualities on the line to risk recording what might become a classic but could possibly end up a dud. Better to hew to the safe path instead of  exploring new territory.

Okay, those are my thoughts in a vacuum but we don't live in a political vacuum, do we? The next presidential election is starting to heat up and oh, my God, what do we have on the Republican side? Megalomaniacs, hypocrites, nutcases and fools. There is not one of them who have even been mentioned as a potential candidate who doesn't give me cold chills.

All politicians are wafflers to one degree or another....it goes with the territory (well, except for maybe Ron Paul but he runs on principle, not in hopes of winning) but in Mitt Romney, the Republicans have the ultimate waffler. From (necessarily) liberal leaning Massachusetts governor and universal healthcare advocate to ultra-conservative health-care denying presidential candidate in 30 seconds. A speed record, I believe.

And there's Sarah, the playful presidential puppy, who mischievously grabs your issue and runs off with it to WTFville, then wags her tail in glee when your mouth drops open in disbelief. It is difficult to even take Sarah seriously until you consider some of the other politicians the American people have elected....and re-elected.

The Donald - ah, yeah, as a lower-middle-class worker, a man whose most famous words are: "you're fired" is exactly what I want in a president - a man whose ego towers as high as any of his buildings.

Then we have Newt, whose picture is in the dictionary next to the word hypocrite. Newt impeached a president for philandering even after he kicked his cancer-ridden wife to the curb to dally with whoever his girlfriend was at the time. Was it the aide he ended up marrying? I don't know. I've lost track of all the Republican holier-than-thou-ism.

There will probably be a bunch more. Possibly, we'll have Rick Santorum who bills himself as the only candidate qualified to be the Tea Party standard bearer - and what a truly terrifying thought that is! Maybe Mike Huckabee again - I have to admit that it is rather refreshing to see a Republican with an actual sense of humor.  Then, there is Haley Barbour, lobbyist and power broker extraordinaire, used car salesman to the stars. And Rick Perry, former Texas governor, nicknamed Governor Hair - possibly he and Donald Trump could have a Hair-Off. Indiana's own Mitch Daniels, running under the slogan - "Wouldn't It Be Fun To See If I Could Screw Up An Entire Country A Easily As I Screwed Up A Single State?" John Bolton, consistently wrong for at least the two decades I've been aware of his existence. There are actually about 20 more whose names are being bandied about as potential candidates but I just don't have the heart to go on.

So, considering the alternatives Obama is looking better and better. Back to the song theme, it reminds me of a line -  "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right - stuck in the middle with you".

And that's where I'm at - stuck in the rational middle with Barack.