Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rick Perry moments

I’ve been having a number of Rick Perry moments lately, so understand how disconcerting they can be. Perry, in case anyone missed it, forgot during a GOP candidate debate this week the third Cabinet department he would eliminate if elected: “Commerce, Education and ….” Whoops (it was supposed to be Energy).

My nemesis has been the four strategic points of the Main Street program, the topic of many presentations in and around Chariton during the last few weeks, a few given by me. I try to do these off the top of my head and generally do fine until reaching the point where it is necessary to say something like, “and the four strategic points of the Main Street program are organization, business improvement, design and, and, and ….” (it’s supposed to be “promotion.”)

The really embarrassing (or reassuring) aspect of this is that there’s occasionally someone else in the room who has been through an earlier presentation and can finish the sentence for me. Very frustrating. I should write the four points on my hand. I wonder if Perry’s thought of this.

On the other hand, I don’t have aspirations to lead the free world --- so my gaffe is not that big a deal.

Perry’s gaffe, however, reinforces that suspicion that early this year Republican strategists gathered somewhere and distributed “four-more-years” campaign buttons bearing President Obama’s portrait.

When Newt Gingrich rises in the polls solely by process of elimination, you know the Grand Old Party is in trouble. I’m delighted about this, but it does seem odd.

Then the inevitable Mitt Romney, on Veterans Day, kind of suggested during a meeting down South Carolina way that vouchers for private healthcare might be a viable alternative to the Veterans Administration healthcare system. Good grief. A sane person who seriously wanted to win the presidency would not have suggested this on Nov. 11.

If the self-styled “conservative” Iowa blogs I read are any indication, members of Iowa’s GOP elite continues to debate which of the obvious losers --- Cain, Bachmann and Santorum --- they’ll endorse while the GOP’s silent majority continues to wear disguises as it slips into and out of Methodist churches scattered across the prairie, fearful that if discovered not to be Baptist they'll be branded insufficiently holy. The majority will back Romney, highlighting the increasing irrelevance of the Republican party to Iowa Republicans.

The positive aspect of all this is that Obama forces haven’t had to dip into their campaign chest yet --- Republicans are campaigning for them.


I don’t follow sports; never have attended a college/university-level football game. Can’t remember if the “Big 10” and the “Big 8” still exist. And am always confused about whether Kinnick stadium is in Iowa City or Ames. So I’d never heard of this Joe Paterno guy.

Until this week when it became fairly evident that Paterno (left), head football coach at Penn State (what the heck does Nittany Lions mean?), the althletic department and parts of the university administration had been complicit in enabling a decades-long rampage by an aging pedophile and former sub-coach, Jerry Sandusky --- married with six adopted children --- whose hobby was abusing little boys.

I’ve seen this characterized as Joe Paterno’s “tragedy.” Hmmm. So what about the abused kids?

Anyhow, even to oblivious me it’s obvious that college football in Iowa --- where we’ve never had anything quite this dramatic occur (that we know of) --- has taken on religious overtones, backers of the Cyclones vested in red and gold; Hawkeyes, black and gold. Big Saturday afternoon praise gatherings in either Iowa City or Ames, or both.

So I was interested in Andrew Sullivan’s take on this, comparing the scandal at Penn State with the pedophilia-fueled scandal within the Roman Catholic Church.

"Does anyone not see the extraordinary ironies and parallels here? Yes, this is a classic "father" figure, like a priest or bishop or Pope. The man is even called "Paterno". And what Paterno did is what the current Pontiff did when he was an archbishop in Munich, where he was told of a priest under his jurisdiction who had raped children. He didn't alert the police; he merely sent the rapist on to a psychiatrist and the man went on to rape many more children. And we might as well face it: college football is a kind of religion for many. Challenging the Pope of Penn State was unthinkable.

"I regard the current actual Pope as an accessory to child-rape, as I do Paterno. But their paternal authority within religious institutions allowed them to carry on. And this is another thing one can say about this profoundly fucked-up culture of abuse: once condoned or treated lightly, the abuses often get worse and worse. I am not surprised that prescient Mark Madden is now hearing rumors that Sandusky was "pimping out young boys to rich donors." Pedophiles find each other.

"All they need is for good people to look the other way. And a cult of authority that never challenges the father figure."that Sandusky was "pimping out young boys to rich donors." Pedophiles find each other.

"All they need is for good people to look the other way. And a cult of authority that never challenges the father figure."

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