December 2011

Inside the big tent with the Republicans

By Galen Larson

Barnum and Bailey Circus has lost some clowns. These aren’t the clowns that climb out of a small car and honk horns and wear big shoes. No, these are trying to get into a space too big for them.

The front-runner (and No. 1 flip-flopper) in the Republican presidential race is Mitt Romney, who made his corporation money by firing thousands of workers and shipping jobs overseas. He owns a number of homes and one on the West Coast of 3,009 square feet which he says is too small. He wants to bulldoze it down and replace it with an 11,000-square-foot home. Yes, I would surely trust him to represent the common man.

Then there is the clown from Texas, Rick Perry, whose claim to fame is that he has gleefully overseen 234 executions, more than the next two highest states have executed together in 35 years. “Off with their heads!” is his answer to crime – but still the murders, mayhem, and rapes continue. You have to wonder: If the death penalty were really a deterrent, wouldn’t crime be virtually gone from Texas by now?

Now comes from the cool north Michele Bachman and her husband, who says he can undo people’s sexual preferences. Wow. If you’re going to do something, might as well start at the top! Move over, God! Bachman must have a lot of money. She doesn’t believe the government should take tax money, yet proposes to build not one but two massive, parallel fences along our southern border. How to do this without taxes is an interesting question. Maybe the private sector will raise the dough voluntarily.

Speaking of dough, there is (or was) the pie man, peddling pizzas, with his 999 tax on the poor. Far scarier than that, or the allegations about his affairs and sexual harassment, is Herman Cain’s total ignorance of anything to do with foreign policy. He doesn’t know Libya from Latvia – but he knows his pepperoni.

Rick Santorum doesn’t say much but seems to be against everything: labor, health care, education, welfare, equal pay and, of course, taxes. He reminds me of Harpo Marx, who never said a word, just went about tooting his horn.

Is there a doctor in the house? Yes, the perpetual presidential candidate Ron Paul, complete with fake eyebrows. He is totally against universal health care. I understand why, as he has a lucrative practice to protect.

Then there is Newt Gingrich, whose divorces and affairs were (boo hoo!) brought on by the stress of trying to save this country for the corporations. He desperately needed to get into this competition for Clown of the Year to pay off his credit-card debt to Tiffany’s. I just hope it’s the jewelry store and not some Tiffany on Washington’s K Street.

The one Republican that scares me is Jon Huntsman. He has never signed the no-tax pledge card. He was a two-term governor of Utah, appointed ambassador to China, speaks two Chinese dialects, has his own campaign money, is married with no apparent marital problems, is extremely personable and bright, and has stayed out of the clown act. If the Republicans really wanted to win the presidency, they’d make him their nominee. But I shouldn’t worry. They’re too busy watching the clowns to do something that makes sense.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.