Saturday, August 20th, 2011
My Dear America:
My friend, Larry, just went to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." He gave it a Thumbs Up and said he liked it a lot. Larry is not alone. Last Saturday, the day of the Iowa Straw Poll, the latest installment of the Planet of the Apes movie franchise was the highest grossing movie in our country for the second weekend in a row.
I still recall the first time that I saw Charlton Heston in the first "Planet of the Apes," movie toward the end of the film riding on a horse escaping from the apes and suddenly seeing the almost destroyed remains of the Statue of Liberty and realizing, along with the audience, that The Planet of the Apes was really planet Earth.
It was a very heavy scene and one that still gives me chills when I look around and realize that although we don't have a lot of apes running around the Earth, we certainly have our share of apes disguised as humans and a heck of a lot of apelike behavior by humans.
On the Planet of the Apes humans were subservient to apes and violent apes were generally in charge and very brutal. On our Planet of the Apes in 2011 we don't have to look very far to see brutish, stupid and apelike behavior.
Take the debate on the national debt, for instance. The Apes of the Republican Party and, in particular, the Tea Party, won by failing to debate and whipping what should have been a simple bipartisan political decision into a nightmare for President Obama and the Democrats, as well as the American people, by holding out for no taxing of the rich and extraordinary cuts of valuable programs. What Obama had to give up to get the Tea Party Republicans on board was too much.
In Iowa we finally had a referendum on who might be the Contenders for the Republican nomination for President. On Rise of the Planet of the Apes second weekend in the theaters some very fresh and interesting political theater was taking place in Iowa, as well as in South Carolina.
Just prior to the Straw Poll we saw a debate that took place there among the Republican Contenders. Tim Pawenty and Michelle Bachman, Minnesota's entrants in the Presidential race sliced each other up pretty well, Rick Santorum acted like a kid on the playground that wasn't picked for a game and Newt Gingrich sounded good but would not place well in the straw poll. Too many people were onto Newt's two faced, self aggrandizing brand of politics.
While Bachman stirred up her base in Iowa, like a shark circling its victims Sleezy Rider, Sarah Palin breezed into Iowa on her bus to attend the Iowa State Fair. What odd timing for her to come charging into Iowa. One would almost think that she was trying to take the spotlight away from the other Presidential Contenders. And, to some extent, It worked.
Also, in a state far away from Iowa, South Carolina, in fact, some additional political theater was taking place that was clearly designed to take the focus off the Straw Poll and put it on Texas Governor, Rick Perry. This strategy worked even better than Sarah Palin's, to draw attention to Perry's announcement that he was indeed going to be a Contender for the Republican Nomination for President.
The Straw Poll, itself, became almost an also ran. Michelle Bachman won it, Ron Paul came in second and Tim Pawlenty, third and Rick Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania who had been tossed out of office by a bone chilling loss to Present PA Senator, Robert Casey, came in 4th. Pawlenty, quit the race after losing to Bachman, Ron Paul proved once again that his power in the Republican race is not with the party but with the people.
The rest of the large Republican field did not see their poor showing in Iowa in the same light that Pawlenty did. Some, like Rick Santorum, have nothing better to do, of course, but for him the 4th place showing breathes new life for his poorly financed and lackluster campaign. The rest of the Straw Poll losers left Iowa, not only discouraged by their showing the in straw poll, but also discouraged by the new look look of the Republican field of Front runners.
Michelle Bachman soaked up her victory on every Sunday Morning Television Political Talk Show that she could find. Her front runner status was quickly challenged by Rick Perry accepting a speaking engagement in Michelle's home town of Waterloo, Iowa. Although she had initially not accepted a spot on the speakers platform of this Republican Fund raising event, she quickly got herself added to the candidate spotlight show and raced home to Waterloo for the Sunday Fund Raiser.
Although the press and pundits seem to have made this race a three way race between Bachman, Perry and Romney, I think it is far too early to count out other candidates like Palin.
To tell you the truth it looks like an awful group of Republican Candidates, with the possible exception of John Huntsman and Ron Paul, but to be honest I don't think either of these candidates have a snowball's chance in hell.
What both Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman have going for them is that they both look good on Television and both can give a good speech. As long as no one is paying attention to what they are saying they are going to be good, strong candidates.
God Help Us, America. Suddenly John McCain is looking like a wonderful candidate in comparison to what is available so far in the 2011 Republican Field of Political Dreams.