Republican Genius on Parade
By Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2013 Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK, near America
Two decades ago, I worked for a mordantly wise and very wealthy man named Jasper R. That which he taught me I hereby pass along to you, dear Reader: lessons to help us grasp meaning from a fresh cycle of political flapdoodle now commenced—namely, a new cotillion of Republican Party clowns campaigning for presidency of the United States, never mind that the election is three years from happening.
While still a mere tadpole, J.R. played a critical role in building his family’s fortune in the commercial swine feed industry. On the Christmas morning of his twelfth year, the lad Jasper was excited about his presents under the Yule tree—a rainbow watercolor kit with brushes and pencils, and a pad of thick sketch paper. Pajamas-clad, he painted a picture of a great snorting hog with a curly pink tail and persuaded his old man to turn the artwork into a logo for the burlap sacks of wheat, corn, barley, oats, and sorghum that father and son peddled from the back of a truck to neighboring pig farmers in the southern state of Georgia.
In a matter of months, “Curly-Tail Hog Food,” as the lad named it, became a leading agricultural brand throughout the South. Thus did young Jasper launch his destiny as a huckster; eventually, he established his own advertising agency in Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. (J.R. would not object to such description. His all-time favorite movie is “The Hucksters,” a 1947 tale about the frolics of Mad Avenue, starring Clark Gable as an agency go-getter and Sydney Greenstreet as the tyrannical head of a client soap company.)
Over a fine lunch one day—in the legendary Pool Room of the Four Seasons restaurant, where prices do not appear on the menu and waiters in better suits than I will ever own post the cost of meals to the monthly accounts of A-list patrons—the boss was in a Socratic mood. He tutored me on the moral of the Curly-Tail legend: one burlap sack of hog feed is the same as another, save for the simple amusement of a boy’s dashed-off cartoon. That lesson, along with the art of sales success.
“Tommy,” asked J.R., between servings of white truffles and Ossetra caviar, “would you like to know how come I’m so goddamn rich?”
Yes indeed, I said.
“Two things. First, do you realize how easy it is to sell Americans anything?”
Such is the education of Mad Avenue, I suggested.
“Good. Now, second—do you realize there are two kinds of people who sell things?”
“Smart people and geniuses,” J.R. explained. “Smart people know what smart people want. A genius knows what stupid people want. I’m a genius.”
All these years, I have faithfully kept in mind what the late, great J.R. told me that day at the Four Seasons. And now I have found political application for his imparted wisdom—with a twist of irony.
The twist: Can the bigots, Babbits, and buffoons who constitute today’s Republican vanguard be some mutant breed of genius?
Let us consider the norm of presidential election statistics. Generally, the Republican and Democratic Party standard-bearers each win a minimum forty-three percent of the popular vote, leaving fourteen percent up for grabs. Numerically speaking, this is who we are as American voters. For a clean victory, determined candidates must simply boost their respective share of the vote by eight points out of fourteen.
On the Republican side of this equation, two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court make the prospects of victory increasingly bright: the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which green-lights unlimited, secret corporate financing of partisan campaigns, certain to redound enormously to Republicans; and last July’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerates the Voting Rights Act of 1965—legislation that produced about dramatic increases in voter registration among African Americans and other minority communities loyal to Democrats.
Bottom line: all a Republican genius must do is inspire a few more hair triggers among the party’s core constituency—the fetus-obsessed, Flat Earth Society adherents, homophobes, Islamophobes, vaginaphobes, kluxers, the Christian Taliban, machine gun maniacs, crazed hemorrhoid sufferers, and clodpates with little tin flags on their coat lapels and tea bags dangling from their hat brims.
Heaven help us Americans, for what follows is listing of Republican genius-clowns to usher us into yet another presidential campaign of irritating length:
TED CRUZ. Upper crust matriculation (Princeton University, Harvard Law School) and a résumé that includes a pointy-headed professorial stint have not diminished the appeal of this freshman Texas senator to plebeian lunkheads of the proto-fascist Tea Party persuasion. Likewise, the man said by right-wing media to be the leading Republican contender is beloved by moneyed, red-baiting ignoramuses. According to a July 2010 account in the New Yorker magazine, Mr. Cruz wowed a beef-eating Wall Street banquet crowd under the ægis of Americans for Prosperity, a corporate lobbying organization, when he brayed, “Obama would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law [because] there were fewer declared Republicans on the faculty than there were Communists…There was only one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
The Republican professor in question, however, told the magazine reporter that he rather doubted his colleagues were Communists.
Rafael Eduardo Cruz was born in the Canadian city of Calgary. Which on first glance might seem unsettling to Republicans who claim—still—that President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore holds illegal claim to White House tenancy. Banking on hypocrisy, Mr. Cruz tells partisans that although his father was Cuban his mother was certifiably American, making him, ipso facto, a “naturalized” citizen—one constitutionally qualified for the presidency. By such logic, even if the insistent fiction that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, his father’s ancestral land, he would be similarly qualified for the presidency since his late mother was unquestionably born in the corn-fed state of Kansas.
Incidentally, baby boy Cruz came into the world in 1970 at little or no cost to his parents, courtesy of socialized health insurance in Canada. The grown-up Mr. Cruz crusades against clear financial benefits to Americans under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a/k/a “Obamacare,” which he disparages as “job-killing socialistic tyranny.”
JEB BUSH. It would seem that Republicans have not had enough of the Bush dynasty. First came one-term President George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, whose winning campaign of 1988, featuring a television ad focused on a scary-looking black male prisoner, was arguably the most racist of modern times. Then came the dauphin, George W. Bush (2001-09), the most demonstrably inept president in U.S. history. Now, incredibly, Republican elders are plumping for the candidacy of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (shown here on the left, grasping a nincompoop).
As a white Republican, the ex-governor worries that onrushing demographic change in America—soon, racial minorities will constitute the majority population—does not bode well for a party that has seriously alienated anyone who hasn’t the decency of Anglo-Saxon heritage. During last April’s “Faith and Freedom” conference in Washington, he called on Republicans to get right with dark-skinned voters—Latinos in particular, whom he warned are “more fertile” than the party’s pale polity.
MARCO RUBIO. With four youngsters thus far, the twerpish freshman senator from Florida is a semi-fertile 42-year-old Latino with a fish-like mouth famous for slyly stupid remarks. In an interview last year with GQ magazine, he won the hearts of Jesus-jumping anti-Darwinists with an answer to the question, How old do you think the Earth is?
“I’m not a scientist, man,” Mr. Rubio told the interviewer. “There are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created… Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
RAND PAUL. Named for the Russian-born fascist and execrable novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982), the high-octane rhetoric of the curly-haired first-term senator from Kentucky has rump Tea Partiers swooning.
On March 6, during an old-fashioned, stand-up filibuster, he apparently approved of the U.S. Constitution by remarking, “I’m not saying that anyone is Hitler, don’t misunderstand me. But what I am saying that is (sic)…when a democracy gets it wrong, you want the law to be in place.”
An ophthalmologist by trade, Mr. Paul is an ardent foe of government-assisted health care, despite the fact that his office gladly accepts government reimbursements. He told a 2009 Tea Party rally in his state, “[I]f you think you have the right to health care, you are saying basically that I am your slave.”
CHRIS CHRISTIE. According to what are amusingly known as political “experts,” the rotund governor of New Jersey would find it impossible to weather an Republican primary election season due to his occasional bouts of reasonableness, notably when television cameras recorded him—gasp!— in close proximity to a prominent African American. But time and again, experts have been wrong. No one among the punditry has noted the stealth appeal Mr. Christie has among haters of the “lame-stream media,” as Tea Party cutie-pie Sarah Palin frequently chirps on television. Mr. Christie, too, often appears on camera to berate the press—occasions for record numbers of YouTube hits.
In July of last year, the governor held a press conference to discuss a water main collapse at a water treatment plant. He asked reporters to keep their questions “on topic.” Mr. Christie was unhappy when a press gallery rogue asked about the ongoing budget battle with Democratic state legislators.
The governor snapped at the miscreant, “Didn’t I say ‘on topic?’ Are you stupid? On topic! On topic! Next question!”
Mr. Christie closed the presser in his usual way, “Thank-you all very much and take care.” Then, with a hammy finger pointed at the offending journalist, he added, “And I’m sorry for the idiot over there.”
A few weeks ago, Mr. Christie pleased New Jersey gun owners by signing into law a bill that now permits the use of .50 caliber bullets—the very kind used by military snipers to kill enemies at one and one-half miles distant [km 2.49].
RICK SANTORUM. An unpropitious Google dictionary reference to his surname—“a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”—is least among the troubles of this former Pennsylvania senator, rock-ribbed Catholic, staunch tribune of probity, and fierce anti-abortion crusader. More pressing of late is the matter of an investigation by federal authorities, begun August 14, involving possible violation of campaign finance law: a nonprofit political watchdog organization alleges the campaign organization that ran Mr. Santorum’s failed presidential bid last year effectively laundered a Texas oil baron’s quiet gift of $1 million [€749,232] by funneling the money to a political action group legally barred from direct association with the candidate.
Also there is Mrs. Karen Santorum’s love affair with Pittsburgh abortion doctor Thomas E. Allen, forty years her senior. According to the Daily Mail of London, Mrs. Santorum (née Karen Garver) co-habited with the abortionist for six years, sans holy matrimony. A close friend of Mr. Santorum’s parents, Dr. Allen told the Philadelphia City newspaper in 2005, “When [Karen] moved out to be with Rick, she told me I’d like him, that he was pro-choice and a humanist. But I don’t think there’s a humanist bone in that man’s body.”
RICK PERRY. Yet another hysteric on the subject of “Obamacare” tyranny, the Texas governor nonetheless currently seeks $100 million [€749,282] in federal aid under the Affordable Care Act to help his profoundly Republican state attend to the needs of elderly and disabled residents. Mr. Perry is making his second bid for the presidency, despite a celebrated gaffe last year during a debate with fellow Republican hopefuls: he couldn’t remember the third of three federal agencies he strenuously proposed to abolish minutes after being sworn in as leader of the free world. He excused his lapse of memory with a doofus-like, “Oops.”
Although he adores fetuses, championing their “right to life” in debates over medical abortion, Mr. Perry is less merciful toward those living outside their mothers’ wombs. As governor, he has presided over the executions of two hundred and eighty-three death row prisoners, more than any of his predecessors in office.
BOBBY JINDAL. Last January, the governor of Louisiana told a national gathering of Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” by claiming—nearly to a person—that climate change is a hoax, God created the universe in seven days, President Obama is a secret marijuana-addicted Muslim born in Kenya, and Democrats are Marxist revolutionaries. Six months later, he published a jeremiad in the online Politico magazine in which he claimed “the left”—as if there were such a thing in America—believes “money grows on trees…debts don’t have to be repaid…unborn babies don’t matter, pornography is fine…wild weather is a new thing [and] moral standards are passé.”
Named Piyush Amrit Jindal by his parents, who emigrated from India, the 37-year-old U.S.-born governor began insisting that everyone call him “Bobby” when, at age 4, he became enamored of character in a television comedy.
Upon entering college, he further separated from his parents by rejecting Hinduism for a zealous form of Roman Catholicism. In an article he wrote for a church magazine—“Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare”—Mr. Jindal related his experience as a Catholic exorcist who commanded Satan to leave the body of his girlfriend, whom he identified as “Susan.”
Alas, the foregoing is but a partial list of genius-clowns. There are serious people within the Republican establishment—as if there were such people—who tout the prospective candidacies of this trio of the tried & tired:
Thomas Adcock is American correspondent for CulturMag.