Bread and Circuses Edition

Well, hello there!

It’s been a while since we all met, and yes, I admit I’ve been laying low, because, well…come on, people, it was just too early to start getting my dander up and keep it up. After all, I’m older now and it’s going to take a strategic meting out of dander to keep me going through this election.  I don’t want to waste my precious political ire on flashes in the pan like The Pizza King or The Donald. I mean, remember back in 2008 at this time, some people thought that Hillary Clinton had the Dem nomination sewn up and a junior senator named Barack Obama was considered a long shot? We were still talking about Mike Huckabee’s big lead in Iowa and what a nice wholesome guy John Edwards was.

But as we all hurtle into the election year, I can’t resist the call to battle, nor do I feel that any of us should. There’s just too much fun ahead.

Bread and circuses, folks.  Roman poet Juvenal said: “…duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.” “Long ago, from when we sold our vote to nobody, the people poured away our cares; for the public, who once commanded the military, government offices, legions, everything, now represses itself and anxiously chooses only two things, bread and circuses.”

Except that here in America we can’t even frickin’ vote ourselves a grain supplement– we just get circuses.  Yep, we can’t even do the Decline and Fall of Civilization correctly.

But I digress. It’s another year of wondering what this circus gets us in the end, why it matters and what we should be doing about it.  I invite you to subscribe to my new blog with the link at the top right of this page and enjoy a year of political ranting with me. And if you’re really having a good time,  please feel free to pass along the link to any of your friends.

Let’s get this party started!


If you’ve been assiduously avoiding the entire Republican campaign scrum, I applaud you. Really, you haven’t missed anything of consequence at all.

But on the eve of the Iowa caucuses you might be wondering what year we’re in– Romney? Ron Paul? NEWT GINGRICH?  No, seriously?  O, Republicans, this is what you call a field? Santorum or Perry?  I bite my fist…no, no, you go ahead, you choose Rick Santorum (*urk*) or Ron Paul (*uggglmph*) as your candidate to run against Barack Obama.  ‘Cause loose-cannon nutjobs like Sarah Palin helped SOOO much in the last election.


Heigh-Ho, Heigh Ho!

We’ve gotten a god-awfully close and horrendously loud look at each of these fine specimens and have thrilled  to the tales of their woeful upbringings, when the nanny wouldn’t bring them a second cup of hot chocolate or served the smoked salmon too chilled. I present to you, the seven dwarves: Gore-y, Sleazy, Looney, Slimy, Sanctimonious, Pesky and Irrelevant. Settle in. Get to know them.  My guess is that…God help us…no one is dropping out of this party until New Hampshire.

Mitt RomneyGORE-Y

Thus named because the former Massachusetts Gov soooo reminds me of a GOP version of Al Gore.  No matter what they do, dagnabit, his handlers just can’t seem to warm up poor Mitt Romney, Mormon underwear or no.  And despite that he is possibly the Republicans’ best hope for any kind of a challenge to Obama in 2012, the rest of the field continues to savage him like he’s a T-bone steak in a pit bull fight. Go ahead,  he’s still the front-runner going into Iowa at around 22% in the latest Iowa polls. But with a net worth of somewhere in the region of $200 million, it’s hard to picture Romney as “in touch” with the pulse of average Americans. I mean, really, when was the last time he had to buy himself a quart of milk? And he’s stood by as The Newt got nicely Swiftboated on his behalf by Restore Our Future.  Watch this space for future SuperPAC games.


How is it that we are still even speaking about disgraced former House Speaker Newt “Contract on America” Gingrich? Shall we revisit his Dickensian plan to ship children of welfare recipients to orphanages? His dystopic suggestion to make DNA testing part of universal healthcare reform? His brrrrrrilliant idea to fire school janitors and instead make the poor kids do the cleaning? What’s next? Send them to the shoe blacking factories, or coal mines?

It’s not too surprising when you consider that Newtie-boy’s net worth is placed around $6.7 million, which we presume includes his half million dollar interest free account at Tiffany’s. Bizarrely, the good folks in Iowa were warming up to the thrice-married (Remember when he served his first wife Jackie Battley divorce papers while she was being treated for cancer in the hospital?) Georgia native. Such was his success that the forces of evil had to unleash the hounds of hell a little earlier perhaps than originally scheduled, and the “Romney-boating” of Newt in Iowa has been bloody. Still, perhaps on name recognition alone –“Yeah, I’ve heard that name before…I’ll vote for that…”–he’s clinging to 15% and fourth place in Iowa. But he’ll be out within months is my prediction –Dude, you didn’t even bother to secure your name on the ballot in Virginia WHERE YOU LIVE. Sic transit gloria mundi, sweetcheeks.


Okay, so yeah, that isn’t seriously looney Ron Paul, it’s Heaven’s Gate looney Marshall Applewhite. But ya gotta admit, there are similarities.  Tea Party darling and Texas Congressman Paul is running a close second to Romney at 21% in Iowa. I try not to speak ill of the mentally unstable, although Paul is seriously testing my patience. Do I think he’s laughably ridiculous(“The regulations are much tougher in a free market, because you cannot commit fraud, you cannot steal, you cannot hurt people”), ridiculously laughable (“This superhighway would connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City”), or plain old scary (“opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,” or that “if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,”)? Let’s just say I’m not turning my back on him in a dark alley.

Of course, like all the rest, he’s just one of the “little guys” –I guess a net worth of between $2.29 million and $5.3 million makes you one of the lesser millionaires of our era.


Spit and determination (and possibly a bit of lube?) have propelled Santorum (<==CLICK HERE ONLY IF YOU’RE NOT AT WORK AND THE KIDS AREN’T AROUND.) to around 19% in Iowa. The former PA senator and Fox News talking head, has seen a God-mandated resurgence in his rising Iowa numbers — just, please, don’t Google him. He’s a man of the people too, and with assets valued at around $2 million, he might actually be one of the closest to you and me in net worth. Don’t get too close to me though, Rick… step back, there’s a good boy.

Now thankfully, universally considered “second tier,” the Texas Governor is on the slide and if we can thank God for anything, it’s the message he sent through His only Son —on Funny or Die— about Rick Perry. It wasn’t just his fumbling debate flubs,  or that his absurd “Strong” ad generated its own meme, or the fact that he couldn’t remember how many Supreme Court Justices there are, or what the voting age is. No, I like to think that it was the kind of facial wrinkle problem that even $1.1 million (according to Forbes) can’t fix.


Michele Bachmann–that’s two “Ns” for “NumbNuts.” Go ahead. Admit it. You thought that that crazy whatsername from Minnesota would be lost in the mists of time by now.  That after years of making incomprehensibly moronic pronouncements,  (“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” “If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”) she would be not just written off, but actually swathed and buckled tightly in a white longsleeved jacket and gently placed in a padded and soundproofed room. But the Congresswoman, who according to financial disclosures is worth between $1.3 million and $2.8 million, hangs on in Iowa at 8%.  Think about it people.  That means 8% of poll respondents will actually admit to supporting her. Be afraid.


Poor Jon Huntsman.  Yeah, I know, you’re saying, “Who? Oh that guy,  the good-looking one? Mormon Number 2?”  The former Utah governor, who also served as ambassador to China under Obama and (*gasp*) speaks fluent Mandarin is probably the Republican that you or I would actually vote for if forced to choose at gunpoint. Amazingly, he is who I was electronically matched with at Project Vote Smart’s VoteEasy’s Match Game. Try it yourself…. His campaign is running on reserves –Huntsman’s personal net worth is between $15 million and $90 million, so guess what? He’s for eliminating the capital gains tax–but he’ll doubtless hang on til New Hampshire where he’s actually polling pretty well. In Iowa, he’s running way under the radar. Probably because he’s not cray-cray enough for the party.

Now to be fair, President Obama ain’t in the poorhouse either, having brought up his net worth to about $5 million with his best selling books. But my point is, let’s not try to even imagine that any one of these people knows what it’s like to struggle today in America.  None of their kids are being reaped for The Hunger Games, let’s just say. But if I gotta choose who I think is actually going to, oh, y’know, DO SOMETHING in the next four years, yeah, I’m picking Obama.

This circus, while hilarious, is nevertheless distracting us when we could be focussing in on bigger pictures, real issues that need to be addressed in the country — ballooning costs of health care, poverty in America, alarming fossil fuel dependency and all of its ramifications. We have a Congress mired in its staunch adherence to doing absolutely nothing and a divisive atmosphere and kindergartener attitude in a country that needs to pull itself together and grow up.  After two years, the much vaunted Tea Party has done exactly what it said it would do– nothing.  Can we take back the House?  Sure hope so.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Grousy Cat sezGROUSY CAT SEZ:
A young student of Zen visited one master after another. He called upon the Grousy Cat of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his enlightenment, the student said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no relaization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Grousy Cat, who was grooming quietly, said nothing. Suddenly she swiped the student with her left paw.  Hard. This made the student quite angry.

“If nothing exists,” inquired Grousy Cat, “where did this anger come from?”

“I’ll tell you where,” the Grousy Master continued, “From those moronic, jingoistic flagwaving Ron Paul campaign ads–that’s where! I mean where does he get off? I’ll tell you where! In Iowa.  He can get off the bus in Iowa, get under it and stay there!”

About ME's Political Rant

Ranting politically since 2008. View all posts by ME's Political Rant

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