Down by one in the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded with no outs and Sammy Sosa`s on deck. The coach sends the signal: Bunt!
Wait a minute. That can`t be right. What kind of a fool would bunt when…?
Republicans control both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Executive Branch and the Governorships of 28 states including the power states of California, Texas, New York and Florida.
They control everything—and I am including little league, the Boy Scouts Of America and the PTA. (Not to be confused with PETA which would sooner deep pit a mink farm than accept a Republican member…although Karl Rove would consider those odds alluring.)
They have everything they ever wanted.
As far as the Republican constituency is concerned, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. Isn`t it? Now we can rid the country of three quarters of a century`s worth of liberal social policy that has left Americans over-taxed and under-valued…oh, and a tad displeased.
After their five-year occupation or window of opportunity, we do have a few changes to be thankful for.
A cloth has been draped over a naked statue in the DOJ.
The U.S. launched a Mandatory Democracy campaign in the Middle East.
Perhaps exhausted by these epochal successes, it seems Republicans have now fallen back on their favorite past time:
Eating each other alive.
Case in point: Arkansas
On January 15, 2005 Governor Mike Huckabee gave his State of the State address.
"There has been for a long-time a legitimate complaint in the higher education community that there is a lack of funding…"
Tarry not, he had a solution.
"I am also going to ask that we open financial aid for any student graduating from a high school in Arkansas."
Then he said,
"There is something terribly unjust about a kid whose family came here looking for an opportunity. Maybe that kid has come at the age of 4. It has happened. It happened in a school in El Dorado."
Oh, I don`t like where this is going.
"That student of Hispanic descent spent his entire career as a student in Arkansas public schools from the age of 4. He graduated from high school, one of the top kids in his class."
Ah, now I see.
"But when he applied for financial aid, he wasn`t eligible for the various scholarships or grants because of his status, a status that he had no decision in or control over."
His status? Now what status would that be?
Huckabee won`t even say the word:
Then, to cap it all off:
"Let`s not say that out doors are open but our opportunities are closed."
Wow. Where do I begin?
How about this:
Speaking of pandering…
In a 2003 radio address Governor Huckabee likened America`s treatment of modern-day Mexican (illegal) immigrants to that of African Americans. (Oh yeah, he went there.)
"We respect those who want to provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. For decades, we treated our state`s African-American population poorly. The Hispanic influx gives us a second chance to prove what kind of people we really are."
Governor Huckabee is referring to is the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis of 1957.
This is a popular tactic.
Right on cue, Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has chimed in with the same subtle argument in his recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
"Arkansas is fighting for its soul again. It feels a
little like 1957, when the Crisis of Central High became
a permanent footnote in the history of the American
civil rights movement. That confrontation was a turning
point in the state`s history, and the state turned the
wrong way." Cross Country: ILLEGAL ALIENS! (in
by Paul Greenberg Wall Street Journal Feb 3, 2005
Of course, this is hysterical nonsense. And it is profoundly insulting to African-Americans. They didn`t break American laws to get here. They weren`t asking for handouts—just civil rights.
Then Greenberg [send him mail] explains the fight for Arkansas` soul:
"Sen. Holt has introduced a bill modeled after Arizona`s Proposition 200 to make sure that immigrants without proper documentation don`t vote in elections."
"But the bill goes further, much further, than assuring clean elections. It would require proof of citizenship for state services: education, medical care, any and all."
This a fight for Arkansas soul?
The real question is: how could anyone object to this measure?
But Governor Huckabee responded to Holt`s bill with accusations of (wait for it!) racism.
He reportedly asserted that the bill was "inflammatory ... race-baiting and demagoguery."
Furthermore, he claimed, it is "anti-life…It would deny pre-natal benefits to illegal-alien mothers and therefore harm their newborns, who would be American citizens."
He went on to say:
Governor Huckabee may have been mesmerized by Louis Farrakhan. He may even be silly enough to believe the Wall Street Journal.
Or he may just be responding to the distressing fact that he is termed-out. He needs a job – maybe in Washington D.C.
Hey, Bush White House! Don`t forget about me!
All this is very disconcerting to a California girl.
I remember being in the office of the great Curt Pringle when he was Minority Leader of the California State Assembly. My boss, a Republican from northern California, had not only taken the floor to openly lobby against a Pringle water bill, but had gone so far as to accuse the Republican Leader of stealing northern California`s water.
Curt Pringle was livid and rightly so.
But all he said to me was, "Can`t you get him to keep his [expletive deleted] mouth shut?"
I never heard a word about it outside of the leader`s office and mine.
In the case of immigration, however, the current GOP leadership is responsible, not merely for precipitating a civil war, with its amnesty, guest worker and transfer payment proposals, but also for an extraordinary fratricidal bitterness.
Rush Limbaugh, another member of my favorite men list, is right…belatedly: Illegal immigration is shattering the Republican conservative coalition—and could place the country`s leadership squarely in the hands of someone like, dare I say it, Hilary Rodham.
(Ok, just breathe into the bag…breathe into the bag.)
Actually, I might be wrong. The Republicans aren`t bunting in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded.
They`re striking out.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.