by Robert S. Becker
Am I the Great Rudder — or What?
If his stumbling, not ready-for-prime-time worsens, Rick “Treat ‘Em Ugly” Perry will soon be cornered and dangerous. That’s when flinty hardscrabble guys squint, then draw, pumping out enough audacity of rogue to win GOP primaries. No more Mr. Smiley Nice Guy conservative, clinging to compassionate shreds — like educating immigrant kids, immunizing girls, pooh-poohing secession — or not throwing in derringers with school lunches. Hey, don’t 6th graders have drug, crime, bullying, fashion, and pocket money issues dying for resolution?
The power right anoints Perry the most “electable” fringe purist — so step aside, little crazy lady from Minnesota. This strutting Texas Twister is the spunkiest hired gun to depose any weakling, city-slicker president. Perry ain’t running for “debater-in-chief,” as he says, but commander-in-chief, able to deliver a Texas-sized, “deep, deep rudder” of leadership. Is he talking pilot-in-chief? — an unfortunate metaphor as he founders, with rudderless debates, swamped by this field of GOP giants.
Even movie-star handsome from a big state can’t survive weird pot shots guaranteed to unhinge old folks — like declaring Social Security not just unconstitutional and a “monstrous lie” but a criminal “Ponzi scheme.” Understatement don’t march through this cowboy’s resume. Now grandma, having dodged Obama death panels, must reimburse the fed for years of illegal payments (already paid for). Doesn’t knowingly being in receipts from a “criminal, Ponzi scheme” join you to the sham, an accessory after the fact, even a co-conspirator. Even that sharpie, Sarah Palin, never threatened death panels to Social Security and Medicare. Yowwee.
A Crusading Catechism
On the other hand, admire Perry’s gall, dragging total non-issues to center stage — then defending pigheadedness with vengeance. Real character. One small point, Governor. In our system, no individual — be they president or bank CEO — settles constitutionality. Did this Texas cracker forget courts only decide questions that legitimate parties bring to judgment? Know of one court challenge to Social Security, nor any noted legal scholars calling it a crime? Hell, Perry barely got through Ag school, so what legal creds let him fantasize some Supreme Court would take the case, let alone agree with his insupportable stance? Oh yeah, Perry’s totally transparent “Ponzi scheme” is more solvent than Congress-controlled, burgeoning federal debt. To call this great idea “a monstrous lie” is to commit a monstrous lie.
If all American business enterprise were criminalized because later money replaced earlier, capitalism would crawl up and die. In fact, by this bizarre Perry standard, all of life would be a mock “Ponzi Scheme” — every personal loan, every mortgage, every insurance plan, indeed, every promissory note or contract, calculated in what’s called money, to be repaid later.
But Perry’s propaganda is hardly intended to change laws. Decoy issues are smoke-screens for a far more radical agenda to shred federalism, if not the 20th C. What President Perry would deliver goes well beyond “fixing” a program or two. The core fringe mania is “taking back the country,” per a Perry-Manifesto conspicuous from rightwing ravings. As a public service, I here collate ten, nearly Biblical commandments for a born-again country. Were God to move in such mysterious ways, President Perry’s first inauguration speech will teem with excess. You heard it here first.
The Real Perry Manifesto
Mandate #1 — Let us declare our Founders endorsed only small, minimalist government, limited to taxation, currency, repayment of loans and border defense against enemies (armed invaders, immigrants, revolutionaries, deviants, etc.). Thus, every welfare or social notion since the New Deal is unconstitutional and unAmerican, namely: Medicare, Social Security, Dept. of Education, EPA, all civil rights laws, funding for science, pandemic diseases, global warming, evolution, PBS, NPR, etc.
Mandate #2 — Because God destined this a Christian nation (with evangelical rule), we should rededicate a true America to be a Dominionist stronghold answerable to a literalist reading of the Holy Bible, as interpreted by born-again preachers and heads of believers’ colleges. Elections are fine when the elect govern.
Mandate #3 — Abortion shall not only be banned but advocates imprisoned for committing “sins against God’s law.” Abortion doctors should be indicted for murder, liable to capital punishment. Women committing abortion shall be fined heavily; or, if poor, be open to impregnation by approved Christians to offset the killing of the unborn.
Mandate #4 — Sexuality outside of marriage will be punished by jail or, if teens and gays, humiliation in public stocks. Pregnancy outside of marriage shall be illegal, but no child will be aborted, without exception. Since “gay rights” is an oxymoron, no one can be gay and have any rights. Just like old times, homosexuality will be sinful, illegal and a mental condition.
Mandate #5 — The Pentagon will be granted direct taxing ability, plus the right to draft heterosexual males, whenever and wherever. For warrior males over 50, crippled or beyond military service, Pentagon-run camps will establish gung-ho patriotism weekends.
Mandate #6 — Gun ownership will be universal for men, optional for women. No school or location limitations, though counties may restrict minority access. Any white male over 18 not carrying a gun can’t vote, drink, own property or carouse in public.
Mandate #7 — The old-time religion will become the cultural norm, excepting racial slavery. Adult males will head households, women will take orders, and children only speak when spoken to. County government will track Sunday school, tithing, and church services, henceforth signs of the patriotic elect known as “true Americans.”
Mandate #8 — By majority rule, states may nullify any federal stature, especially regarding civil rights, invasions of privacy, or restrictions on alcohol or drug consumption or cultivation. States by two-thirds majority vote may secede or rejoin the union at will, thus providing a healthy dynamism that checks federal over-reach.
Mandate #9 — Since labor or workers’ union are not mentioned in the Constitution, all unions will be banned and dismantled, not just in the public sector.
Mandate #10 — Federal taxes shall not be raised without a two-thirds vote of Congress; however, taxes shall be lowered by a simple majority of House members. Every candidate for president, vice-president or senator must provide a long-form American birth certificate, plus evidence of never having been Muslim, socialist, or alien from outer space.
Portrait by Paul Szep.