Friday, February 8, 2008
Personal Asides: My Interview on Black Radio McCains Calm Down Not Exactly What the Doctor Ordered Lessons from the Book Grace and Power.
My longtime buddy and former sparring partner when we were on Chicagoland public radio, Cliff Kelley, has become, as many of you know, the authentic voice of the black community and has been celebrated as such because as a former alderman he knows the political situation intimately and is extraordinarily well-spoken, witty and perceptive. Yesterday he called me for comment on his WVON radio show on the decision by my candidate, Mitt Romney, to withdraw.
Whether he reached me at a down time or not I cannot say, but it happened just after I had my daily dose of Limbaugh. Hearing that whining and egregious self-justification and puffery ballooned by an ego that pretends it is kidding but which is truly not and is instead struttingly braggart it occurred to me that the blindsided right deserves to have a President Obama and a reinforced Democratic majority. The blindsided right of the conservative movement which brooks no compromise or accepts any deviation from the talk show-crafted dialectic the blindsided right which has been behaving like a spoiled child, dissatisfied with Romney (too opportunistic), with Thompson (too lethargic), with Huckabee (too liberal on spending), with Tancredo (too single issue oriented), with Hunter (not charismatic enough). And certainly with McCain (an untrustworthy scoundrel).
Yes the full-mooners of the blindsided right richly deserve to get Barack Obama. After bitching about all the deviations from orthodoxy, they ought to find out what it is to live under a 97% liberal president (basis National Journals analysis of his voting record) as I did for the first 20 years of my observant political life (FDRs 1933 to the end of Truman 1953) along with a increased Democratic House and Democratic Senate.
This came to me as I was listening to Limbaugh while behaving myself (on my stationery bicycle). Ensconced in New York behind his golden EIB microphone the man who never went in for politics as a youth but is nevertheless the oracular know-all, the expert on the intricacies of voting phenomena, with a well-paid staff (Mr. Snerdly) pulling up commentaries from which he can sample the man earning $30 million a year with 20 million adherent listeners hugely enjoying himself (more than a human being has a right to). Then a ditzy ditto-head woman called to bend his ear for many minutes telling him why although a lifelong Republican she would never, ever, vote for McCain. Which the great guffawer hugely enjoyed. Listen, said the ditto-head, let me tell you about McCain. You say hes a war hero? Right: listen, Rush, so was Benedict Arnold! .
Get that? Benedict Arnold. Did he challenge her? Of course not. The oleaginous blindsided Mouth kept her on, soothing her, saying uh-huh supportively, savoring every moment, not agreeing with her but guzzling it down with her adulation (Oh, Rush-Rush, what would we do without you?). Said he: Oh I dont know mdear, God would raise up another prophet to earn $20 million just like me. Benedict Arnold. Youd think someone who didnt serve in Vietnam would have the grace to defend one who did and who refused repatriation from his captives because he wanted no favoritism as the son of an admiral. But no, that never occurred to blindsided and blindsighted El Rushbo, swollen as he is with his own narcissism.
Arnold (1741-1801) was indeed a wounded veterana hero figuring in the capture of Ticonderoga, the battle of Valcour Island, Danbury and Ridgefield culminating in Saratoga. But character was his flaw; when he felt he was not honored enough, indeed unjustly criticized, he changed sides and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British, fleeing down the Hudson to avoid capture by Washington, escaping to England where he received a commission as a brigadier general and the equivalent of $500,000 in reward for his treachery. No difference between McCain and Arnold. Those who read my day-to-day recounting of Gene McCarthy who vowed to get even with an LBJ who didnt promote him to the extent that he torpedoed plans to win the war those who have read this may see a hazy contrast to a talk show host who, dissatisfied with the electorate, vows to spread dissention so the cause he insists he represents will be maimed. No difference. Ego uber alles.
For all the good he has done, blindsided Rush is rapidly destroying it now refusing to acknowledge that for all his puffed-upedness the Republican electorate repeatedly picked McCain. He cannot accept the will of the voters who disagreed with his estimate along with the blonde anorexic harpy with knee-length hair who tosses it so beguilingly as a TV talking head, Ann (I will campaign for Hillary Clinton) Coulter and the doe-eyed girlfriend of the right with the fingernails on blackboard voice, Laura (I dont care; I wont vote for him) Ingraham. Only slightly wrose and more improbable are the Ron Paul idolaters ready to canonize their cranky hero who wants the highways to be privatized, the FDA abandoned with people allowed to discover for themselves what poison they are eating, all troops to be brought home tomorrow and a shrug to his adolescent geek followers when they smoke pot and stoke up with pills the same Ron Paul whose old newsletters spewed out anti-Semitism and anti-black hatred which carries the imprimatur Ron Paul and which he declines to own up to. In true open minded libertarian style he doesnt disavow his newsletters, doesnt extol them. Theyre just expressions of points of view. We call it liberty. I call it invincible ignorance.
They are 19th century rear-view visionaries who tout the Death of the West, who wants legal immigration to be halted for ten years and after that a definite quota so we can have white, Christian admittees and a return to Hamiltonian out-of-date high tariffs, swift withdrawal from battle spots. All these deserve what all of us may well getthe accession of Barack Obama. It would almost be worth it to hear them whine when it comes. So intellectually dishonest are they that they will never acknowledge their baby highchair antics, furiously shaking their spoons of oatmeal at the adults, caused it to happen. All of these overpaid, spoiled rightist brats and braggarts can take a flying leap and plunge to the bottom of hell so far as I am concerned.
There are many things wrong with John McCain. For me nothing is more suspect than the hint just a hint that he may regard my key issue, pro-life, as less than significant, based on his reported statement courtesy Bob Novak that Sam Alito wears too much his colors on his sleeve. Still it is sure that the Pascal Wager must be applied in this case. I mean to pursue him on it. But given the certainty of pro-abortion judges being appointed by Obama and the possibility, maybe probability, of pro-life judges by McCain who but an un-rational person would harm the chance of winning. But significant vestiges of the extreme conservative wing is ditzyjust like the Benedict Arnold lady. For proof you dont have to go far. They are the ugly spawn of mal-education and a shock jock mentality where views are all black and white, blather-mongers to whom compromise is repugnant and evil.
They truly are bringing down upon themselvesand all of usthe Barack Obama presidency, a presidency where the only joy we will have is to listen to their future clangorous wailing while exempting themselves from blame for the predicament they have brought to us. What a scurvy crew.
And if you say that I am intemperate at their intemperateness this is right: a taste of their own medicine.
It can be said truly that John McCain does not know has not the faintest conception of what it takes to heal any rupture. His remark to conservatives the other day that they should calm down is case in point. When you seek to make up with your wife whom you have wronged or have been unjust to just as McCain has been on McCain-Feingold you dont say, calm down. You say: Jeez, Im sorry. What can I do to make it up? Does this man have no tact whatever? Did that curt bluntness and snappishness come from the Hanoi-Hilton or was it instilled at birth?
Lessons from the Book Grace and Power.
This is the book I told you about earlier immaculately researched written by Sally Bedell Smith and is entitled Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House. When you hear the strains of Camelot you should recall the lessons of this book. She interviewed 140 of the survivors of that era old JFK girl friends, drinking buddies now all of them quite old. Here are some of the lessons I learned.
The Martin Luther King Bugging. Did you wonder how in the world a pristine liberal like Bobby Kennedy would sanction J. Edgar Hoover bugging the bedsprings of Martin Luther King to ascertain whether or not he was a Communist but which also uncovered a list of adulterous goings-on?
Saturday, October 26, 1962: Investigative reporter Clark Mollenhoff of the Cowles newspapers (Minneapolis Tribune, Des Moines Register and Look magazine) has sniffed out the facts on the mysterious deportation of a call girl named Ellen Rometsch, 27. a fetching brunette who had emigrated from East Germany and was suspected of spying for the Soviets. She was married to a West German air force sergeant posted to the embassy in Washington, she worked nightly at the Quorum Club at the Carroll Arms hotel. It was a smoky and dimly lighted hideaway where congressmen and lobbyists gathered to enjoy the favors of beautiful young womenfor money. And Ellen Rometsch was a call girl. Wearing a tightly fitted dress and black fishnet stockings she worked as a hostess. According to Baker, she was escorted to the White House several times in 1962 for assignations with JFK.
The FBIs Hoover was worried because she was getting to be every bit as dangerous as Judith Cambell Exner on whom Hoover had the goodsa lover of both JFK and the mob boss Sam Giancana of Chicago. Now investigative journalist Mollenhoff was on to the storyand Bobby Kennedy, tireless defender of his brothers reputation was worried keenly because Britain was rocking over the disclosure that Harold McMillans secretary of state for war, John Profumo had confessed to an affair with one Christine Keeler who was also the mistress of high ranking Soviets and who was a courier, fitted to transfer state secrets to the USSR. Profumo resigned and later McMillan was forced to step down as prime minister.
Bobby figured rightly that Ellen Rometsch could blow the top off of the White House and he wanted her deported. So he went to FBI Director Hoover: the FBI and Justice were investigating Bobby Bakers far-flung enterprises. Hoover signed the papers and had her deported, noting that Rometsch was also carrying on with LaVern Duffy, an investigator for Bobby who had owned up. Hoover felt that she was involved with JFK and Sen. George Smathers (D-Fla.) as well. Mollenhoff the journalist wanted Sen. John Williams (R-Del.) to hold a public investigation of Rometschs sexual contacts. After a great deal of haggling, Hoover said he would kill the Williams investigation. He went to Williams and said he had no proof of Rometschs ties with JFK but he did have proof of her ties to certain senators. =Whether this was the plain proof or a bluff we dont know because Hoover took this with him to the grave.
But what we do know is that Hoover convinced Williams that it would be impolitic for him to conduct a probe that would uncover some of Williams senatorial colleagues to great fanfare. Williams agreed to scrub the probe. In quid pro quo Hoover demanded that Bobby give him authorization to wiretap the phones of Martin Luther King. It was a shameful price to be paid but Bobby paid it fearing that his brother John would be turned up as a patron of Ellen Rometsch.
And thats the name of that tune. How does the song go? Let it not be forgot/ That for one brief shining moment/ there was Camelot!