After watching both the Republican and Democratic debates sponsored by the Des Moines Register this week - yes, I know, I need to get a life - two things are clear.
In the Republican world, God is important, and at least two of the front runners in the race believe that prayer, humility and an occasional request for divine guidance are integral components of their lives and beliefs. Even with all the political issues that are raised, foreign and domestic, God gets a lot of notice in Republican discussions.
In the Democratic world, George Bush is important, not just to the front runners, but to all the candidates, who show repeatedly that they believe George Bush is the be all, end all, cause that caused all causes, and is an integral part of their lives and beliefs. Even with all the political issues that are raised, foreign and domestic, George Bush gets most of the notice in Democratic discussions.
I bet if you were to do an analysis of the last Iowa Democratic debate, and probably all the previous debates too, George Bush would be far and away the most often mentioned individual or issue.
We heard George Bush from Hillary Clinton, we heard George Bush from Barack Obama, we heard George Bush from John Edwards, and we heard George Bush from all the other Democratic candidates too. Sorry, I can't remember who they are, cause the media doesn't cover them, just the three I mentioned in the last sentence. (Oh, sorry, except for Dennis Kucinich, who wasn't at the Democratic debate because he was off watching alien invasions and UFO landings, at least according to the media.)
So, I have to ask the question, in the context of what Republican presidential candidates demonstrably believe is important versus what Democratic presidential candidates demonstrably believe is important, Do Democrats Believe George Bush is God?
How else could he possibly bear sole responsibility for all the things the Democrats credited him with, or fault him for, without being a deity?
I wrote the other day, and I still believe today, that as the primaries and caucuses progress beyond Iowa, God as a political issue will not be quite as high on the media scale as it is now. Of course, the only reason God has become a political issue at the moment is because Mitt Romney is a Mormon and Mike Huckabee is a Baptist.
The media can't use the war in Iraq as a focal point any more since we are winning - actually we always have been, but the media is slow on the uptake on these matters - so the differences between Mormons and Baptists will have to suffice for exciting issues.
In Iowa religious beliefs hold more sway than they do in other states, regardless of party affiliation. But God and George Bush were mentioned so often this week that I can't help but wonder if left-leaning Democrats believe George Bush is an all encompassing, omnipotent being.
He is responsible for global warming and increases in the earth's temperature, if they exist; he is responsible for decades of attacks on our country by Islamo-fascists even though Bush has been in office for only seven years; he is responsible for the oil-based economy of the entire world even though oil has been a mainstay of the world economy for a century; etc. etc. etc.
I guess it didn't occur to the Democratic candidates that if I want to know that much about George Bush, I can go to the White House web site rather than sitting through one of the most boring, scripted, unprofessional debates I have even seen.
The Des Moines register, in hosting and running the debates this week, gave a perfect example of why Americans have been deserting the mainstream media, including daily newspapers, in droves for decades. Its OK to have your biases and prejudices, even in the news business, but you are supposed to announce them up front, rather than trying to cloak them in so-called "neutral" debates. Yeah, right. That's a good one.
Does anyone know how Alan Keyes got into the Republican debate as a candidate? He hasn't been running, he doesn't have a campaign office, he doesn't have a staff, and yet all of a sudden he pops up on the stage as though he has been there all along. Keyes occasionally has some good points, but if he had any this week they were lost in his theatrics, which Rush Limbaugh maintains was why the Register put him on that stage in the first place.
Brit Hume (whom I do NOT mean when I complain about "inside the Beltway elitists) says Fox News did a bunch of background work to find out about Keyes' campaign and they came up empty handed too. Oh, well, at least he was good for comic relief.
Aside from revealing that the Democrats believe George Bush is God, the best part of the Register debates was the clear-cut differences between the parties, along with the revelation that the "official" candidates in both parties are slipping drastically, and outsiders in both parties could well be the eventual nominees.
Huckabee has been on an upswing for a couple of months now, but also is becoming the primary target of his opponents and the media. Even if Huckabee doesn't survive the primaries and become the GOP nominee, he has given GOP voters reason to believe our candidate is not pre-ordained to be Rudy Giuliani.
Conservative commentator Bill Kristol made that point twice in the last two weeks on Fox News Sunday. There is no establishment GOP candidate this year, he noted, and while that doesn't fly well either on Manhattan Island or Inside the Beltway, the rest of America is pretty comfortable with the concept, happy even.
Kristol is right, and even though he is very well educated, and works in DC, I don't consider him an elitist either. Elite maybe, but not an elitist. I reserve that label primarily for liberal Democrats who believe welfare is a noble program because the people on it are genetically inferior and could never survive on their own. (That is mostly white, teenaged, single mothers in case you are keeping score.)
Fortunately the debates are over for the moment, the caucuses and primary votes will be on us in no time, and the voters pretty much have their minds made up already. The Democratic front runners are self-destructing so there still could be some interest in that race, and the GOP actually has a good, deep bench from which to choose.
I have some chores to do, and a bit of Christmas shopping, then I'm going to try to focus on the real meaning of this season.
I even have a new prayer for bedtime. It goes: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I Pray George Bush my soul to keep ..."
I hear Democratic presidential candidates are saying it all over the country.
Friday, December 14, 2007