With Helen Mirren at Buckingham and Meryl Streep occupying 10 Downing how can the Brits go wrong? They are clearly in the most capable (and talented) hands. And with Tina Fey having gotten nowhere near the White House, we have every reason to hope. We dodged what could have been a fatal bullet. Some have suggested Streep is more Thatcher than Thatcher. Easily claimed when the Iron Lady is of such poor heath and diminished mind that she cannot make a case for herself. As to Fey being more Palin than Palin, the jury will probably always be out because while the lady of Wasilla is good at stuffing her bank account, she has never been able to make a coherent argument about anything, much less for herself.
Republicans go to caucus this week. Let the serious games begin. If 2012 will show us anything; it will remind painfully that our election cycles are far too long. Not only do they go on interminably, they essentially put our governance on ice. You could argue that this is not such a bad thing, but don’t buy that Kool-Aid. We have essentially been in limbo since the 2010 off year ballot (the least productive Congress since the 1880s) and the paralyzing result has been anything but good. Even now, as the President has agreed to put off raising the debt ceiling for a few days, one can almost predict the sound and fury signifying nothing that will present itself with their return from holiday break. Sorry old Bard for the steal, it was just too hard to resist.
One always hopes that on some small level progress can be made in the passage of time. Forget that dream. As the country continues to be devoured by economic stagnation and cancerous income inequality, Republican candidates are again tuning to God about whose stature in the face of evils like same-sex marriage and abortion seems so much more important than all those struggling families both the underemployed and the jobless. Of course they have always been close to the Almighty, always tried to outdo each other on that. Mike Huckabee, God's super pitchman, considered entering the fray. No need, we’ve got it covered with lovely Michelle Bachmann, the anti-abortion vigilante mother who also fostered those 10,000 wonderful kids. Who knew she’d flame out so quickly? Sad, no one seems to have shared that fact with her? Again, no worry. Rick Santorum to the rescue, stepping so deftly into the vacuum. To be fair, Santorum brought God to the Senate’s floor long before the woman from Minnesota brought the divine to the lower House. So I guess he is really just filling his own vacuum. Too bad that important handful of American voters in Iowa might, dare I say, abort his resurrection at the starting gate.
Newt is crying at year’s end and we haven’t even reached New Hampshire where Hilary was revived by tears. Did you know his mother, whose memory brought his on, made him sing in the Church choir? Ah history. Wonder if this uber historian of highly valued (very highly) wisdom and perspective realizes that, crying can carry you just so far. And that’s not to the finishing line. Think Muskie (historians surely remember Muskie). And by the way Hilary did have a shot at Virginia, the place where he currently hangs his had and his beloved’s crown jewels, and she still didn't prevail. By the way, I hear the bathroom lighting is awesome.
Everyone is really excited about Ron Paul, well maybe not everyone. At 76 (the Chinese have nothing on us) he shows himself to be a man of such underlying youth and vigor. Move aside Antonin; this guy claims to be the authentic originalist. No government and certainly no regulations especially against bigots and kooks is definately the way to go. Paul’s anti-war positions are said to appeal to young Occupiers, his anti-Washington positions to young Tea’s. My guess is that neither group is reading the small print of his record, which is pathetic since it's in 16 pt. Times Roman, easily read and transparent to any octogenarian. No reading glasses required.
Meanwhile, the capital rich "bane" (cheap shot) of Massachusetts (or is Michigan) moves along. Quite impressive really that someone can be so carefully be wrapped in, at once, a slick and awkward package. Neat hair. That said, it’s hard to see him being dislodged from unenthusiastic but still top billing. By the way, what happened to the other Mormon, the shining star Chinese speaker from Utah? We all thought he might have been a contender. Oh, well what do we know? Go figure.
Without putting myself out on a limb with a firm prediction, Republicans have historically (Newt, I’m learning) given their nod to the person whose turn it is perceived to be. Reagan, GHW Bush, Dole, and cranky old McCain to be specific. W was odd man out in that regard, but…well he was odd man out. All of these fresh new faces had struck out the first time they came up to bat and the party elders (don’t think they’ve disappeared) felt they were entitled to run the bases if they came up again. In the old fashioned way, they had earned it. Each had more or less practiced hard and it’s not polite to turn a guy down more than once. So an upset notwithstanding (or, borrowing from Gail Collins obsession, that he’s puts his dog on his in-motion campaign bus roof), Mitt will likely be it.
In 2008 the Democrats showed us that the show can go on for longer than we expect. It ain’t over till it’s over (not Shakespeare, but still a steal that should be acknowledged). But of course back then there were a lot of authentically substantive candidates, two especially so. Maybe their debates didn’t get big ratings as reality low rent TV entertainment, but they were for the most part believable as potential Oval Office occupants. So the show may go on a bit, but if it doesn’t I wonder how the sourpuss Mitch and the sonorous sun-tanned John will feel about that. Will they have to take a back seat? Not to worry, not much can be expected to happen under that big dome this coming year. Little leading required.
And that’s the way it is…Saturday, December 31, 2011. Oh how I miss Walter. See you next year.