Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chumtossing in the Palmetto state

Newt and MittensI watched the Republican debate last night, and I think I’ve finally recovered. That was traumatic (and I’m really not exaggerating...more in a moment).

I find myself bizarrely fascinated by the spectacle of these debates. I watch with a strange combination of horror and hilarity. I find that I need to concentrate on the latter in order to not blow a vein, and I’m usually live tweeting with friends and a handful of journalists I follow. (You can find me on Twitter @Luvrte66.) Sometimes Dan and George make appearances; sometimes Tom; last night it was Ryan. We make some serious points, but throw a few jokes and sarcastic remarks in there, too. The journalists that I usually see on there are David Corn of Mother Jones, Chuck Todd of NBC, and last night Democrat strategist Paul Begala and Time correspondent Michael Scherer were on there. They have some very astute comments and pertinent points. I’d say that they’re generally quite fair, although they’re pretty much on the left side of the aisle, so they express horror at some of the same things that I do.

Last night was especially awful for me because of the South Carolina audience. They were out for blood. They came across as angry and combative. They booed Juan Williams for asking Newt if his remarks about poor kids working as janitors or about food stamps (He offered to go to the NAACP and discuss why jobs are better than food stamps. Yes, he really did.) were racially insensitive. Williams was one of the moderators, people. He was doing his job in asking tough but reasonable questions. They booed Ron Paul when he said that we should really be “doing unto others” when it comes to attacking people...that we carpet bomb these countries and then wonder why people hate us. That’s right. They booed the Golden Rule. They cheered when Perry said that “South Carolina is at war with this federal government and this administration” concerning the Voting Rights Act. This in the state that first seceded from the Union, starting the Civil War, and to add a little double shock powah, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Impressive. They also cheered Perry when he made the incredible statement that because members of the Obama administration condemned the behavior of the Marines who urinated on Taliban corpses, they show “disdain for the military” and are engaging in “over-the-top rhetoric.” Never mind the fact that desecration of corpses not only undermines what we are trying to accomplish there, it is illegal according to military law. But that’s a discussion for another day. When Perry said that the Marines in question should not be charged with a criminal act (again, ignoring that the military considers it exactly that), the crowd cheered.

What really got to me, though, was when one of the moderators asked a question of Romney about immigration, and began his question with the statement that Romney’s father was born in Mexico after many Mormons fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution for polygamy. As soon as the moderator stated that George Romney was born in Mexico, the crowd booed. They BOOED! At the mere mention of the country, which happens to be one of our allies! I still cannot believe that happened. I had a moment of despair and depression, but today I’m channeling it into contempt and anger. Paul Begala tweeted this:
Begala tweet
I completely agree with him. I’ve seen the behavior of these crowds—this was definitely the worst yet—and I have just been appalled. Obviously, I’m pretty far to the left, but there are plenty of people who are more in the middle, moderates and independents who are still making up their minds, and I don’t see how any moderate person could see this behavior and think it’s anything short of dangerous and mean-spirited lunacy. It is of some consolation to me that the more the crowds egg them on, the more the candidates attempt to play to them and toss out more and more red meat. It may play well with audiences like that in South Carolina last night, but when it comes to the general election, I’m guessing it won’t be so warmly received. And there is plenty of video to be mined for use this summer and fall.

As for being traumatized? I had a bad dream last night in which the President was shot, and later died. I don’t recall any details about it, probably because it was so disturbing to me. It’s one thing to disagree with this President, but the behavior of the crowd last night was deplorable and downright bloodthirsty in its intolerance. I haven’t been quite so disgusted during this process as I was last night. It also solidified my resolve to do what I can to make sure President Obama has four more years and to keep these pandering cretins out of the White House. (Ron Paul excepted. I don’t want him in the White House, but it’s for other reasons, not because he panders.)

There’s another debate this Thursday, in Charleston. What will happen in that one? Will the audience burn an effigy of the President as the candidates look on with indulgent grins?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Morning Gloatmeal

TebowISAIAHI saw this picture of Tim Tebow on the Interwebz, and looked up the verse.

...But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Note that it doesn’t say anything in there about “verily, they will not get their asses whupped by the New England Patriots.”

And that is exactly what happened last night when Tebow’s Broncos went to Foxboro. Tom Brady and the Patriots didn’t just beat them; they methodically tore apart their offense, their defense, and pretty much every shred of their dignity. I’ve never been a Patriots fan (although I respect Tom Brady and think he’s an incredible player...they’ve just knocked my Colts out of the playoffs too often), but last night I was cheering for them as they demolished the Broncos 45-10.

Here’s why I am going to gloat about this, and why I don’t feel sorry for Tim Tebow. As I wrote about the other day, he wears his faith on his sleeve and although he can’t get away with painting Bible verses in his eyeblack anymore (that’s not allowed in the NFL), he still thanks his lord after every win, and literally takes a knee after every touchdown. I’ll give the guy credit: he really does seem to be a decent guy, doesn’t seem to be just giving lip service to his faith, and doesn’t seem to be a hypocrite about it. But to paraphrase an old saying, you live by the faith, you die by the faith.

Because he IS so vocal about his beliefs, he’s drawn much attention to himself. After a string of unlikely wins, some people were saying that maybe God really was intervening on Tebow’s behalf. As I said in my previous entry, the absurdity of thinking that any deity is interested in a football game just boggles my mind, and I find it offensive in a broader sense. First that anyone would actually pray for their team to win, and second that anyone would find worthy of worship a deity who thinks it’s more important that Tebow gets his win than alleviating starvation and suffering around the world. I mean, really...if you have that kind of power, and you spend your time influencing games instead of helping people who are suffering, you’re kind of a douche.

Anyway, so Tebow’s got everyone talking about his lord and about his faith and all this stuff. But this time, it seems that his lord was out of town, or maybe his DirecTV went out or something, because it looks like he wasn’t paying attention to the game. The Broncos didn’t just lose; they lost in a spectacular fashion. Will Tebow think about this? Will he think, “You know, maybe I should just play the game and work on getting better and not draw this kind of attention to my faith,” or even “You know, maybe God was trying to tell me to shut up and work on my game”? I doubt it. There will be no lessons learned here. Instead of thinking that maybe his god doesn’t care about the game, he’ll think something like “Okay, God didn’t help me this time, but he will next time.” Whatever.

In the meantime, you’ve got some people thinking that this was a game of good vs evil. Yes, an acquaintance of a friend really thought that evil (Tom Brady, who they think made some bad choices when it came to his dating life) triumphed over good (the saintly Tim Tebow) in this game. It’s laughable, it really is...but it’s also horrible that someone would judge Tom Brady as evil—not just having poor judgment, not just being kind of a playah, but actual spawn-of-Satan EVIL
because he was trying to beat Tim Tebow in a divisional playoff game. A football game, people. FOOTBALL. GAME.

So I don’t feel sorry for Tebow. He brought this upon himself. You know who I do feel sorry for? The other Broncos players who have to put up with all this attention paid to Tebow and his religion. There were plenty of people last night who were cheering for the Broncos to lose. I’ve never hated the Broncos. They’re not my team, and the Colts rarely play them, so I have nothing against them. But I was rooting for them to lose, and I laughed when they lost badly. Not because of any of the other players but because of Tebow’s self-centered assumption that his god gives a rat’s ass about whether he wins or loses. I enjoyed the righteous smackdown. If Tebow takes anything away from this, I hope it’s that he should just shut the hell up and play football.