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Americans Start To Fight Back Against Right-Wing Smears; Obama Demonstrates Character While Republicans Cower

By: John Wright Monday March 5, 2012 10:40 am

At long last, some right wingers are starting to taste the public’s wrath for their shamefully shameless lack of decency as outraged Americans are starting to fight back against the smears.

Rush Limbaugh for years has made a cottage industry of attacking racial minorities, women and disabled people. Decent people have stood up to Limbaugh, but his fame and fortune have grown in tandem with his girth because he attracts millions of mindless listeners who are amused by such garish tastelessness. That’s good enough for sponsors, who don’t give a hoot about good taste. At least, that was the rule until recently. Loud public outcry finally drove at least seven advertisers to drop Limbaugh’s show after he called a woman a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her defense of contraception. Let’s hope other sponsors follow suit so Limbaugh feels the pinch; he will remain a bully only as long as it is profitable to do so.

Rush went on a rampage against Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke for testifying before Congress after Republicans prevented her from defending Obama administration requirements that health insurance companies provide coverage for contraception. Limbaugh could have made a reasoned argument against Fluke’s position, but instead chose to malign her character.

Obama adviser David Axelrod spoke on behalf of outraged millions when he labeled Limbaugh’s remarks “vile and degrading.” Leaders of the Republicans, who describe themselves as the “party of family values,” offered only flaccid, mushy words for the rotund ringmaster of rot.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum and House Speaker John Boehner timidly called Limbaugh’s words “inappropriate” while fellow candidate Newt Gingrich said it was “appropriate for Rush to apologize.” Frontrunner Mitt Romney cowered and trembled, lest he offend Rush’s fans by taking a stand against slandering a private citizen as a “slut” and “prostitute.”

El Rushbo was part of a trifecta of right-wing slurs in recent days. The other two were made by federal judge Richard Cebull and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Judge Cebull emailed a racist joke: “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the joke in the email said. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’”

Cebull apologized to Obama. Duh! Think about it: if you appeared in Cebull’s court, would you believe that he has the intelligence, maturity, and integrity to hear your case? While some Democrats demand Cebull’s impeachment, he gets a pass from the party (which runs the House of Representatives) whose “family values” he embodies.

Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, said his investigation showed reason to believe that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. This once again fuels irrational conspiracy theories that Obama is not a legally born American citizen, and therefore, ineligible to hold public office. Did it ever occur to Arpaio or the citizens of Phoenix that he should devote his energy to chasing murders, rapists, carjackers and gang bangers? Obsequious Republican presidential candidates, instead of demanding Arpaio’s removal over squandering public resources, shamefully jostled for his endorsement.

Limbaugh, Cebull and Arpaio know they can get away with it. First and foremost, they don’t even recognize that they are atrocious. Second, slandering anyone with whom they disagree and showing contempt for Obama is part of their DNA. Third, they express the disgraceful views of Republicans in power and the moneyed interests behind them. Such contemptible behavior becomes an issue only when right-wingers are caught being themselves.

The Republican presidential nominee is almost certainly going to be Romney, Santorum or Gingrich. Mitch McConnell and Boehner are the elected Republican leaders. Yet none of these so-called leaders has the character, decency or courage to condemn Limbaugh, Cebull or Arpaio. The worst Limbaugh heard from any of them was “inappropriate.” Sneezing on someone’s food is inappropriate. Limbaugh, Cebull and Arpaio are reprehensible, shameful, disgusting, and inexcusable. The fact that these three men are hold such positions of influence is evidence of the right wing’s moral vacuum.

Since Obama declared his candidacy for president in 2007, he has been pilloried by this same right wing as an alleged communist, socialist, fascist, terrorist, Muslim, and been taunted non-stop by Republican racists. He has held his head high and not responded in kind. He has instructed his surrogates to not hit political adversaries below the belt, but rather to focus on the issues without petty character assassination.

The latest spate of incidents showed Obama at his best. Instead of jumping into the fray to score political points, he called Fluke on the telephone to thank her for speaking up about the health concerns of women and said her parents should be proud of her. We should all be proud of Fluke and Obama for their courage and character. Obama has once again shown his substantial presidential timber, while his rivals demonstrate they are made of rotted wormwood.

John Wright is the author of “The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo & Racism” and co-author of “Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future.”

 

Listening To Rick Santorum Makes The Rest Of Us Feel Like Throwing Up

By: John Wright Monday February 27, 2012 8:22 am

Every time Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum opens his mouth about religion, he makes me want to throw up. I bet millions of other Americans have the same reaction

John F. Kennedy, when running for president in 1960, made an oft-quoted speech to Southern Baptist ministers to clarify (at the same time he was negating anti-Catholic hate speech) that he would not impose his religious views and that he would not take orders from the Vatican.

Santorum, like Kennedy a Catholic, is clearly offended that JFK did not gag us with communion wafers, install confessional booths in every public building, or nationalize rosary bead manufacturers.

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up.  What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said on a recent TV interview.

To say that people of faith are not allowed a role in public life is nothing less than a lie.

Forty-three different men have taken the presidential oath of office in the United States. Every one of them put his hand on the Bible. Many openly expressed religious faith. Numerous U.S. presidents have met with popes. Protestant evangelist Billy Graham prayed together with every president over a half century. The facts show Santorum’s words to be incorrect.

“…Now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith,” Santorum said. That’s another lie.

Santorum does not understand the meaning of the world “impose.” Does the government coerce Catholic clergy to break their vow of chastity? Are Jews forced to eat pork? Are Baptists required to drink alcoholic beverages? Does a bureaucrat force Seventh Day Adventists to consume meat? Are Mormons allowed to do offensive things like baptize Anne Frank? Do Jehovah’s Witnesses have to salute the flag? The list goes on and on. Judges occasionally rule in favor of lifesaving medical care against the wishes of a Christian Scientist, but even with life-and-death situations, government intrusion over religious objections is rare.

“Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith.  I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960,” Santorum emphasized.

That’s full of so much mendacity that it’s a wonder anyone believes Santorum. Neither Kennedy nor any other U.S. president has ever banned faith in any form. Kennedy never said he would “have nothing to do with faith” and did not refuse to “consult with people of faith.” And Kennedy was not the first president to respect the wall between church and state.

Kennedy’s doctrine was “absolutist” only insofar as respecting the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

At the same time, Santorum fails to quote other parts of Kennedy’s 1960 speech: “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source – where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

Who, other than Santorum and a handful of theocratic zealots, disagrees with that?

At least one other president endorsed Kennedy’s speech by quoting our Founding Fathers. “The unique thing about America is a wall in our Constitution separating church and state. It guarantees there will never be a state religion in this land, but at the same time it makes sure that every single American is free to choose and practice his or her religious beliefs or to choose no religion at all,” President Ronald Reagan, the patriarch of modern conservatives, said in 1984.

When President Obama voices the same views as Reagan, he is excoriated by the religious right as being a tout for Satan. So I’m curious: did Santorum throw up when his hero Reagan made this speech?

John Wright is the author of “The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo & Racism” and co-author of “Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future.”

GOP Channels P.T. Barnum in Opposing Obama’s State of the Union

By: John Wright Tuesday January 24, 2012 11:26 pm

Let’s be thankful that the Republicans decided to channel circus ringmaster P.T. Barnum – credited with coining the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute” – to craft their message against President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

On the same day Obama offered his well-designed blueprint for the nation, the GOP made two major blunders which prove every argument Obama made against Republicans.

The centerpiece of Obama’s remarks was a call to fairness, to strengthen the middle class by allowing everyone an equal chance to achieve the American dream. In particular, he highlighted income inequality, tax policy that rewards only the wealthiest at the exclusion of everyone else, and subsidies for highly profitable corporations.

As an example, Obama pointed out the blatant inequity that the secretary to Warren Buffet pays a higher tax rate than the billionaire investor. He swatted back conservative arguments that his position was “class warfare,” insisting instead that it’s simple common sense. While people disagree on how much constitutes the “fair share” contributed by each income level, most people agree with Obama that Buffet’s secretary should not pay a higher tax rate than her boss.

Mitt Romney addressed a love letter to Obama the same day by releasing his income taxes to show that he paid 15% federal tax on his $21 million income last year. Most middle-income Americans who look at their tax returns will see that they paid closer to 25%. Who but an ideologue can call that fair tax policy? The only class warfare is that waged by the wealthy and their toadies in Congress who allow them to get away with paying a trifling tax rate.

As if Romney were not enough, the Republicans gave us a twofer in the form of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels offering his party’s response to Obama. Daniels, as warm and fuzzy as a wolverine, insisted that Obama’s speech and policies “divide us” and that the president is driving our economy into “the dead end of debt.”

Did P.T. Barnum write Daniels’ speech? Because only a sucker would accept his words without realizing that Daniels, as budget director to President George W. Bush, pushed our economy into the dead end of debt. Thanks to the Dubya-Daniels twins, we went from a budget SURPLUS to a gaping DEFICIT compounding trillions of dollars and increasing the national debt 86% in eight years. Only low-information, right-wing voters will fall for the Daniels subterfuge.

Daniels is toting plenty of other baggage around that needs to be mentioned if he wants to bask in the spotlight. He is trying to destroy collective bargaining in Indiana, provoking massive protests from liberals and centrist Republicans alike who believe in labor rights. Daniels, like fellow governors in Ohio and Wisconsin, has ignited anger in middle-class voters who rightly perceive that destroying unions also hurts non-union workers. Daniels and other governors, who became union-crushing goons under the tutelage of Koch-affiliated organizations, are seeing their constituents instead standing up for union members.

The most amusing comment after Obama’s speech was made by Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to Bush the Lesser, who griped on CNN that Obama wants to spend “other people’s money on federal programs” while ignoring that Bush spent trillions of other people’s money on an unjust war in Iraq.

John Wright is the author of “The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo & Racism” and co-author of “Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future.”

Hey Mitt: What’s So Bad About The Post Office?

By: John Wright Friday January 20, 2012 12:38 am

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said during the “Southern Debate” that as president, he would make sure the U.S. health care system was run like a business and not like the postal service.

“So we’ll make it work in the way it’s designed to have health care act like a market. A consumer market,” Romney said. “As opposed to have it run like Amtrak and the post office.”

Romney and the other Republican candidates seemed oblivious to the simple, basic facts that the private sector has done a shamefully abysmal job at providing health care for Americans at the same time the government-run post office, by any metric, does an excellent job.

John King of CNN asked the Republican candidates whether they would scuttle provisions of the health care law that protect people from losing their policies for pre-existing conditions and allow people up to age 25 to stay on their parents’ policies. Newt Gingrich blamed President Barack Obama because people under 25 don’t have jobs that provide health insurance. He is either unaware, or simply doesn’t care, that many younger workers in starting positions don’t get employer-sponsored health care or that monthly health insurance premiums often exceed the wages of low-income workers. And the conservatives in the South Carolina audience applauded every mean-spirited attack on people who have low incomes or no health insurance.

During the turbulent 1960s, a law-and-order conservative was described as a liberal who got mugged. The modern corollary might describe a liberal as a conservative who has lost his job or been denied health care.

Let’s quickly examine Romney’s argument that free enterprise does a better job at providing health care than the post office does its job.

During the Republican debate, my hometown of Seattle was buried under the heaviest snowfall in years for the sixth-straight day. The (private-sector) supermarkets were running out of all sorts of food – milk, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables – while my (government) mail delivery has not missed a single day due to the icy roads.

That is certainly not a profound economic analysis, but rather a simple, irrefutable observation. Yet, isn’t economics all about the efficiency by which goods and services exchange hands? I don’t want the government to manufacture the skis I need to whisk around town or the snow tires on my car. At the same time, I don’t want an executive at some for-profit health insurance company deciding to cancel my policy after I got sick or injured because paying for my needs would hurt his profit margins.

Romney promises to “return to the principles that made America great.” Try this one on for size, Mitt: Benjamin Franklin founded the United States Post Office in 1775. Under government ownership, it provides a service that is useful and affordable to everyone. It delivers overnight mail on time 96 percent of the time. That sounds like a stellar efficiency level hard for anyone in the private sector to match (aren’t members of labor unions all supposed to be lazy?). Private-sector health care, by contrast, covers only 55 percent of people in the United States with employer-provided coverage. Medicare and government-run programs cover many others, but 16 percent, or 50 million people, have no health insurance from any source. That pales next to the universal coverage provided to residents of every other industrialized democracy in the world, at far lower costs.

While Romney attacks the post office and sings hallelujah to the private sector for just about everything, let’s see if he would be willing to tally the thousands of people fired and kicked off their health care benefits when Dain Capital took over their companies, allowing Romney and his friends to pocket billions of dollars. By comparison, the post office sounds better by any measure.

John Wright is the author of The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo and Racism (Potomac Books) and co-author of Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future (Prometheus Books). His web page is www.johnswright.com

SUPPORT THE TROOPS* (unless they are gay, protest inequality, unemployed or in foreclosure)

By: John Wright Sunday December 18, 2011 8:15 pm

I recently received an email telling about an anonymous passenger who bought sack lunches for soldiers aboard a commercial airline flight as a gesture of patriotism. It was a heartwarming story about how the person who paid $50 for 10 lunches was handed, by fellow passengers, another $75 which was passed along to the soldiers. The anonymous writer concluded: “A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to an including my life.’ That is an honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.”

Who can disagree with those sentiments? Nonetheless, recent events make me question the degree to which those who wave the flag and put “Support the Troops” bumper stickers on their vehicles really “understand it.” Although I only saw the email recently, Snopes traced it back to October 2008.

When the Bush-Cheney regime rushed to war for what turned out to be deadly false reasons, those who opposed the war were called unpatriotic because they did not “support the troops.” After nearly 4,500 American soldiers and an estimated hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, isn’t it fair to question the reasons we sent American solders to their doom (at the very least, to avoid doing it again)? By blindly supporting Bush’s folly, were we supporting the troops? Or were those who opposed the war in the first place the ones who really supported the troops?

Do we really “support the troops,” or only the ones who don’t run afoul of our personal standards? During the Sept. 22 Republican presidential debate, Army Capt. Stephen Hill, then stationed in Iraq, was booed loudly by the audience for asking if the candidates would ban gays serving openly in the military. Not one of the Republican candidates stood up for Hill. It’s troubling and ironic that Hill risked his life to protect the freedoms of those who booed him, those who chant “support the troops” but don’t really support the rights of soldiers to be themselves in our free society.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has been mocked and reviled by those who cheer the loudest that they “support the troops.” Fox News has vilified the protesters, most frequently with “get a job, take a bath” sort of comments and accusations of criminality. Many of the protesters are veterans, who have an unemployment rate of 12.1%. Fox viewers “support the troops” but not their right to protest and would rather yell “get a job, take a bath” than listen to protesting veterans. Scott Olsen, who served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq, suffered serious injuries Oct. 25 in the “Occupy Oakland” protest. We “support the troops” but oppose Olsen? Of course, not all the people involved in the “occupy” protests are unemployed, so the mere act of protesting automatically makes them undesirable.

The high unemployment rate among veterans is partly due to the fact that many, including reservists, were repeatedly redeployed and unable to hold a steady job. This sad fact of life has led to veterans suffering a high rate of foreclosure of their homes. Fox News viewers are told that the record foreclosures are the fault of liberal politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, and greedy borrowers trying to game the system; people losing their homes deserve it. So let’s “support the troops,” except when they are losing their homes to foreclosure.

In the end, after pondering all of these circumstances, I reached the sad conclusion that “support the troops” is nothing more than an empty jingoistic phrase that people chant to feel patriotic while in reality they are Judas toward the troops by turning against them when need it most. They will feel self-satisfied when they cough up 50 bucks to buy sack lunches for soldiers, but that’s as far as it goes. These same people don’t really support the troops, if they protest inequality, are gay or unemployed or are losing their homes. Worst of all, many who “support the troops” are willing to send them off to risk their lives on a fool’s errand, without thinking twice, then label the returning soldier unpatriotic when he protests the unjust war.

Maybe they should put an asterisk on the bumper stickers like this: SUPPORT THE TROOPS* along with this caveat: (unless they are gay, protest inequality, unemployed or in foreclosure). Before anyone plants a “Support the Troops” bumper stick on their vehicle, they should read the following words: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and truth” in 1 John 3:18.

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John Wright is the author of The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo and Racism (Potomac Books) and co-author of Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future (Prometheus Books). His web page is www.johnswright.com.

Big Winners In The Republican Foreign Policy Debate: The Koch Brothers

By: John Wright Wednesday November 23, 2011 2:15 am
Quarantine The Kochs! (Photo: Delana Martin, flickr)

Quarantine The Kochs! (Photo: Delana Martin, flickr)

President Barack Obama was deemed the winner of the GOP debates earlier this year because the Republican candidates said such wacky things that rational voters were forced to conclude that they’d better vote for Obama to avoid getting stuck with someone even nuttier or stupider than the disastrous Bush the Second.

At the foreign policy debate in Washington D.C., sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, however, the Koch Brothers were the runaway victors.

The event was also an occasion to rehabilitate two of the most discredited members from the Court of Bush the Lesser – and that’s a pretty tall order to stand head and shoulders above those other scoundrels and chickenhawk war criminals.

At a time thousands of Americans have taken to the streets all over the country to protest the crimes by Wall Street against the rest of us, the Republicans held a debate that epitomized, and even catered to, the 1% who targeted by the demonstrators.

Some might ask what David and Charles Koch have to do with the Republican debate. Simple. They paid for it, just like they have bought and paid for so many members of Congress. The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute are piggy banks for Koch largesse. Disguised as “think tanks,” their mission is to provide an intellectual and academic fig leaf for the Koch vision of deregulation and corporatist plutocratic plundering of America.

The Koch Brothers, who started life a few billion dollars ahead of 99.99% of Americans, are devoted to keeping it that way. While Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are leaving their fortunes to organizations devoted to improving health, education and other good works for people, the Koch mission is to make sure billionaires grab as much money as possible from the rest of us.

When Will Right Wing Give Obama Credit For Eliminating Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi?

By: John Wright Thursday October 20, 2011 11:46 am

President Barack Obama has succeeded in bringing down the world’s worst terrorists, Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi. Right-wingers, who inflate the achievement of Ronald Reagan, will never give Obama any credit.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Reagan’s prescient remarks at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 are perhaps his most famous and emblematic. Nobody who loves freedom could deny their importance. Two years later, the Berlin Wall crumbled. After that, it only took the Soviet empire two more years to dissolve.

To conservative ideologues, Reagan’s legacy hangs like an Olympics Gold Medal on those stirring phrases and subsequent events. Since then, we have heard countless times that “Reagan brought down the Soviet Union.”

Sober historians hold a different view. They credit Reagan’s rightful role in a consistent four-decade, anti-Soviet policy initiated by Harry Truman, continuing through John F. Kennedy’s rescue of Berlin and “Ich Bien Ein Berliner” speech in 1961, and the eventual, dramatic shattering of the wall in 1989, after Reagan retired.

Similarly, Obama went to the Mideast to call for democracy. Speaking June 4, 2009 at Cairo University, he said “I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed’ and “these are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.”

It took less than two years before the citizens of Middle Eastern nations began to heed Obama’s clarion call. Tunisia’s 74-year-old autocratic president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, stepped down in mid-January after peaceful protesters demanded his ouster. A month later, Hosni Mubarak, 82, yielded to the will of Egyptians to end 30 years of increasingly corrupt rule. Libyans arose against strongman Gadhafi, who was finally killed in October.

Obama backed his words with military precision that resulted in the deaths of bin Laden and Gadhafi. Obama directed the military special operation that on May 2 killed the mastermind of the 9/11 horror. NATO aided Libyan rebels in tactics that led to Gadhafi’s death at the hands of angry L:ibyans. Gadhafi was responsible for the murder of 270 people in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, along with numerous other terrorist acts.

Crackpot right-wingers, instead of crediting Obama for bin Laden’s death, expressed their delusions that the policies of George W. Bush that were responsible for catching bin Laden. Everyone else around the world endorsed Obama’s bold decision making toward the bin Laden mission and cautious approach toward the Mideast uprising.

Rush Limbaugh encouraged insurrection in the United States if the 2010 health care legislation is not overturned. “If that doesn’t happen, we go Egypt on Obama.”

Fox’s Glenn Beck described the Egyptian uprising as the “beginning of a new world order” in which Islamic fundamentalists are taking over the world with Obama’s collusion and that the president wants chaos. “The kind of change that’s he’s (Obama) demanding, and they are rioting and they hurting the economy, and they are killing people, and setting things on fire,” Beck told his radio listeners.

Not a single member of the Republican leadership rebuked these dangerous, crazy words.

The Obama administration encouraged democratic reforms without meddling in ways which risk turning Arabs against Washington as happened in Iran. “Regime change” began to sweep the Arab world during Obama’s presidency in ways Bush could never accomplish through his divisive gunboat diplomacy.

If the revolutions in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia or another Arab nation end up anti-Western, try to find one conservative who won’t blame Obama for the outcome. Yet, these same conservatives don’t blame Reagan that Putin’s Russia falls far short of earlier expectations, that Belarus has slid toward autocracy, or that Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan never became democracies after the Soviets pulled out.

You can’t have it both ways. If Reagan gets star billing for vanquishing the evil Soviet empire, he also deserves equal blame for the enduring repression in some former Soviet republics. And if Reagan is credited with eliminating the Soviet menace, Obama conquered repression and terrorism in the Mideast.

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John Wright is the author of The Obama Haters: Behind the Right-Wing Campaign of Lies, Innuendo and Racism (Potomac Books) and co-author of Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future (Prometheus Books). His web page is www.johnswright.com.

Karl Rove’s New Stand-Up Comedy Act After His Political Advice Failed President Bush and the American People

By: John Wright Thursday October 13, 2011 7:34 pm

Karl Rove, the man known as Bush’s brain for managing to get George W. Bush elected as governor and president despite the man’s utter incompetence, is auditioning for a new career as a stand-up comic.

Rove – known as being cunning, manipulative, cynical, deceptive, shameless, mendacious and duplicitous – has shown a talent for being funny on his first attempt. Good luck, Karl! Lest you think the comments about his character are partisan face-smacking, consider this: the first president Bush, who was elected thanks to racist ads and other dirty tricks against his opponent, then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, fired Rove for dishonesty.

In his first foray into a role as funnyman extraordinaire, Rove wrote in his Wall Street Journal column, “it’s always dangerous to associate with people who are just plain kooky.” He was warning the Democrats not to get involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement that is sweeping the country with street protests by victims of the economic downturn.

First of all, let’s define kook. The dictionary says: “one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane.” Then let’s explore whether or not Rove himself has ever associated with kooks.

“I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace … I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job … They misunderestimated me,” are all words spoken by the man who occupied the Oval Office down the hall from Rove. You be the judge about whether he was kooky.

“My belief is we will, in fact be greeted as liberators … I think they’re (Iraqis) in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency … Deficits don’t matter,” were all said by the guy who might be described as the other half of Bush’s brain, Vice President Dick Cheney. If that guy wasn’t kooky, we should burn all the dictionaries and redefine the word.

“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started … Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war … You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,” said Bush’s Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld. If you were in the military, would you want your life to depend on whether or not Rumsfeld was kooky?

Douglas Feith, Richard Pearle, Richard Allen, Lewis “Scooter” Libby and other members of the Bush administration advocated going to war against Iraq and inventing reasons when none existed, torturing prisoners, wiretapping U.S. citizens without court orders, and disclosing the identity of an undercover intelligence officer. Since when is that not kooky?

Attorney General John Ashcroft, the person most responsible for domestic security during the Bush administration, had been warned by his predecessor, Janet Reno, that Osama bin Laden and other terrorists were targeting the United States. Instead of beefing up security, Ashcroft discarded the report given to him by Reno and gave a higher priority to covering up the breasts on a partially nude statue, Spirit of Justice, at the Department of Justice. Nothing kooky about that.

Yes, Rove was successful at getting Bush into offices for which he was ill-equipped to serve. Once in office, Rove helped Bush sell the public on a war that only a handful of fanatics wanted by tying Saddam Hussein to Osama bin-Laden’s terrorism and alleging Iraq threatened the United States with non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” Rove fooled low- and middle-income people that their lives would somehow be improved if wealthy individuals and corporations (such as Enron, headed by Bush’s best friend, Ken Lay) didn’t pay taxes. When Bush frittered away the budget surplus, Rove helped make Americans believe it didn’t matter. Worst of all, Bush had the chance to be the great unifier after the 911 attacks amid the greatest national unity since Pearl Harbor, but instead squandered it on war and pushing a narrow right-wing agenda that eventually alienated everyone outside his base, leaving the United States weak and the most divided it has been since the Civil War. Rove thought he was helping the Republicans achieve a permanent majority. Instead, the Bush administration is rightfully held in contempt by a majority of Americans. Rove kooky? Nah!

Since Rove has already proved his talent at ironic comedy, let’s all watch for him to show up on the Comedy Channel soon.