Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Galvanizing Republicans

Fred Barnes takes a long cold look at the 110th Congress -- which is pretty much deadlocked along party lines, and is encumbered with the uniquely awful figure of Joe Lieberman -- and notices its eerie similarity to the 1948 "Do Nothing" Congress, which had a solid Republican majority in both houses.

He points out that Bush could try to shame Congress publicly, as Truman did, but then thinks better of it; after all, "political stunts seldom work the second time," unless they involve flag burning, gay marriage, or a War on Christmas.

Still, the GOP could force votes on Five Important Issues, in hopes that the unprecedented spectacle of despised lawmakers swanning about and making cynical demands would "galvanize Republicans and lift the party's spirits."

It sounds implausible until you find out what Barnes has in mind, at which point it sounds batshit crazy. Here's the gist of it:

  • Double or triple the number of foreigners given H-1B visas to work in America
  • Allow nationwide purchase of health insurance
  • Reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 25 percent
  • Lift the moratorium on offshore oil drilling
  • Let the private sector build more highways
In other words, Barnes' wants the GOP to infuriate its natural allies in the "language, borders, culture" camp and the insurance industry; and give expensive presents to multinational corporations, in the forlorn hope that this will inspire them to bring their overseas profits home; and drill for oil off the coast, over the objections of coastal residents, so that ten or twenty years from now, gasoline might cost slightly less than it would otherwise; and offset whatever economic benefit might be gained from slightly lowering gas prices in the future by building lots and lots of toll roads now.

According to Barnes, doing all this would prove to America that "Republicans aren't dead yet."

That's one way of proving it, granted, but I've got a better one. I think GOP lawmakers should dress in SS regalia and wander through American shopping malls on all fours, singing "99 Bottles of Beer" and biting children. It'd be about as popular, and it'd be a lot less trouble.

(Illustration: "A Galvanized Corpse" from Harper's Weekly, 1836. Via BibliOdyssey.)


Anonymous said...

God knows I'm all for sending Republicans on a child-biting odyssey in Nazi regalia, but aren't you overlooking something? Shouldn't they also be literally galvanized, that is, "covered with metal by the use of a galvanic current"? (At least to the extent they haven't already. I'm not too sure how much more galvanization Lindsey Graham can take, for instance.)

Also, not to pick a nit, but can you really "wander" on all fours?

Phila said...

Shouldn't they also be literally galvanized, that is, "covered with metal by the use of a galvanic current"?

That's a good point. I assumed Barnes' metaphor hearkened back to early experiments in the electric stimulation of dead tissue, but maybe he actually wants to electroplate the GOP. If only there were some way of figuring out which of these meanings is more appropriate....

Also, not to pick a nit, but can you really "wander" on all fours?

Possibly not, given its roots in an Old High German word whose meaning seems to be synonymous with "walk." Of course, we can and do say that dogs and cats walk, and that sheep wander. But let's be honest, and concede that unlike their human imitators, their feet are touching the ground all the while, which is an entirely different ball of wax (using "ball" in the sense of an object that happens to be more or less round, as opposed to a spherical or ovoid item intentionally manufactured for recreational use, with the caveat that such a ball could in fact be intentionally manufactured, or indeed, used recreationally; and using "wax" to mean any common or household variety -- whether animal, vegetable, or mineral in origin -- particularly as used in candles or, somewhat more archaically, as a sealant to ensure the preservation of food, as opposed to something along the lines of a Fischer-Tropsch wax, such as might be used in the production of hot melt adhesives. Let there be no confusion on this point.

Anonymous said...

when you are at your best your writing is almost thompsonesque.

jest get a little lower brow, start drink'n and drug'n, take a road trip, write the book, and i'll buy it.

Phila said...


It's funny...never had anyone say that, but I was actually a pretty big fan of Thompson during my first year of high school (and it did coincide with a certain amount of drug use, including ether).

I don't think those days are coming back, though...I'm old and in the way.

Anonymous said...

well, it never really struck me before..

must have been the SS regalia and biting children description.

also i liked the commenter above idea about literally galvanizing the bastards.

SBVOR said...

News Flash!

We interrupt this dripping with sarcasm, pseudo-intellectual Buophonia rhetoric to bring you some quantitative facts:

Domestic Energy Potential

We now return you to silly, mindless rhetoric.