Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

After this commercial hit the Alabama airwaves, Republican gubernatorial candidate Byrne, not about to be Swift Darwined, screamed bloody murder and declared, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that every single word of it is true." He went on to attack "powerful government insiders," "corrupt Democrat and AEA (Alabama Education Association practices," and "power mongers" as being behind "these despicable attacks." He proudly concluded by saying, "Like so many other Alabamians, I was raised in a conservative-minded Democratic household," but changed parties fifteen years ago because of the Democratic party's "liberal social policies, wasteful spending habits and big-government expansion." Well.

Byrne, an insider himself who has held elective office off and on since 1994, is apparently the first candidate ever to run for high office because he is uninterested in power. And in Alabama, no less. As for the "conservative-minded Democratic household," that's Newspeak for saying that he was raised to believe in segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.  Does anyone doubt that his parents voted enthusiastically for this man?

But what about the ad? Does Byrne have a point? Yes, sort of. Apparently, the ad was placed by a right-wing PAC called True Republican that outs Byrne as a closet liberal (!) not in touch with Alabama values. The AEA, which has tangled with Byrne for years, helped finance True Republican, evidently on the theory that attacking Byrne from the right will bear greater fruit in Alabama than an assault from the left.

Which has left Byrne crying foul and claiming that he has been smeared, but for what? Telling the truth about natural selection? Not as he sees it: Byrne claims that he has never told the truth about Darwin, and he may be on to something: As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, he supported a science curriculum that includes this:
Explanations of the origin of life and major groups of plants and animals, including humans, shall be treated as theory and not as fact. When attempting to apply scientific knowledge to world problems, no social agenda shall be promoted. 
I'm not even going to comment on that last sentence.

Byrne's opponent has avoided the controversy, focusing instead on another critical issue faced by a state with 10.9% unemployment and that ranks 46th in per capita income:

According to Sarah Palin, "we're all Arizonans now." Sure, but which Arizonans? I wonder how many times Sarah Palin had been to Arizona before John McCain decided that she would help him get elected president. It wouldn't surprise me if she hadn't even heard of it...

McCain not only created the Palin Frankenstein, he bears responsibility for the demise of ACORN, which began when he made accusations of voter registration fraud that he must have known were groundless (which has been shown again and again and again). Nonetheless, his words stuck in the most impressionable ears outside of a four-year old who believes in Santa Claus, and the relentless hectoring of a respected community organization got underway. Now that he's pandering to the worst elements of the Arizona electorate by tangling himself in stained political bedsheets with the deranged Russell Pearce, McCain is certain to end his career as a bitter crank who willingly sacrificed his integrity because he couldn't bear to leave the U. S. Senate...


Roy said...

Yeah, people seem to forget that the Democratic Party wasn't always the party of FDR, the Kennedys, and LBJ. Back when I was a kid in Maryland, the Dems were the party against open housing and equal education laws. When Spiro T. Agnew ran for governor of MD in 1966 (we called him "Ted", by the way), he ran as the liberal in that race against a rabid racist named George P. Mahoney, whose campaign slogan was "Your home is your castle", referring to his opposition to the Fair Housing Act of 1965. And for a Republican, Agnew was a fairly "liberal" governor; he signed MD's first open housing legislation and succeeded in getting the state's anti-miscegenation law repealed. He also guided through the legislature and signed some of the East Coast's toughest anti-pollution laws.

People seem to forget that a century and a half ago the GOP was the party of Abolition and the Democrats were the Southern landowners who seceded from the Union in order to preserve the institution of slavery and a feudal society. We're so used to the GOP being the party of Goldwater and Reagan and the Democrats the party of JFK and Jimmy Carter that we've forgotten their political roots, missing the nuances in statements like Bradley Byrne's when he talks about growing up with traditional Democratic Party values; when he was growing up that meant pro-segregation.

If John McCain is lucky, he'll lose his Senate seat; it's the best thing that could happen to him and his constituents (although Cindy may disagree; can you imagine having him home all day?). Unfortunately the man who would probably replace him is even further to the right and makes Attila the Hun look like Jimmy Carter. Can we build a big fence around Arizona and pretend they're not there?

Foxessa said...

With all due respect McCain never had any integrity to sacrifice. He's been privileged slacker - liar all his life. That he was a POW doesn't change any of that -- and he's also lied about his POW experience, how he did 'talk and cooperate' in order to receive better treatment. I don't mind that -- torture will make us all that way, I believe. But then pretending he was the guy who grimly and proudly refused to cooperate with his captors no matter what they did to him, that I mind, very much!

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

What's gong to happen in AZ, I am guessing, is a terrible thing -- it's going to be taken over entirely by the drug cartels.

This is because the dorkdongs of AZ, for the sake of political grandstanding and power, can't tell the difference between undocumented migration and the criminals with the guns, who are the drogistas. This is because so much of the population of AZ don't WANT to see a difference. They want all of 'em gone, even the descendants of the original populations of Mexicans and Native peoples, who were there before the Mexican American War militarily extorted the territory from Mexico.

Love, C.

K. said...

One would think -- although that's my mistake, as thinking doesn't come into play -- that even the most racist Arizonan would understand about the border region.

For about a 150 miles on either side of the border, it's a third country that's neither Mexico nor the United States. The boundary is political, not sociocultural -- it's never been the case that you walk through a door and you're in a different world. Before the drug cartels took over the Mexican border towns, El Paso/Juarez, Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, McAllen/Reynosa, Brownsville/Matamoros et. al. were each one city that happened to have a river running through it.

Take my word for it: No matter what they might feel they have to say in public, every Anglo merchant in southern Arizona is alarmed by this development. The law inhibits a chief source of revenue for them.

Anonymous said...

K - I have re-read this with hilariously malicious glee about 5 times, it's a prose grand slam !

Now that he's pandering to the worst elements of the Arizona electorate by tangling himself in stained political bedsheets with the deranged Russell Pierce, McCain is certain to end his career as a bitter crank who willingly sacrificed his integrity because he couldn't bear to leave the U. S. Senate...

Good Christ I am still chuckling

K. said...

Coming from a true master of invective, that's high praise indeed! Here at Citizen K, we aim to please.

nursemyra said...

I didn't read all the text because American politics are so convoluted but I did watch the Tim James video - what a tosser!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.