Among my daily rituals is a whirlwind tour of the John Locke Fondation Puppetshow. My mission is always the same: (1) scout for incoming artillery and (2) try to understand the dysfunctional conservative mind. This morning's visit was successful on both fronts.
First off, John Hood today declares his early take on Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2008.
Bill Graham is a potential Republican candidate for governor in 2008. One rival, U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick of Mecklenburg County, is spending a lot of her time talking about immigration, security, and similar issues that play to her strengths and position. Another rival, Sen. Fred Smith of Johnston County, is emphasizing his legislative and business credentials, while articulating an aggressive agenda on cultural and economic issues. Graham is talking taxes. These are all key voting issues for the Republican primary electorate. The candidates know it.
First off, I hope he's right about the candidates. Because any of the top Democratic contenders will kick any of these Republican asses seven ways to Sunday. I'm especially pulling for Sue Myrick to step into the ring. She deserves to be punished for being a full-bore Bush enabler, and it would be great to get the whiny shrew out of Congress.
But more important than the candidates themselves are the insights we get about why these people would be desirable in the first place. In the case of Graham, for example, it's all about taxes. Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. Like John Hood, Bill Graham hates government, which makes it all the more ironic that he wants to be part of it.
Underneath the tax rhetoric is an important distinction that we should exploit. Republicans are fundamentally short sighted. In their zeal to cut budgets on all fronts, they betray an instinct for immediate gratification that's consistent with their five-year-old mentality. Like their iconic role model, George Bush, Republicans have simply never grown up. Nevermind that many strategic issues warrant serious, long-term investment. Just give 'em their pocket change now, close your eyes, and hope the future works out for the best.
Nowhere is this short-sightedness in North Carolina more destructive than in the area of transit planning. Show me a Republican and I'll show you a gas-hogging fool who loves to complain about traffic, who wants to build more roads, and who hates the idea of spending public money on long-term investments in a 22nd Century transit infrastructure. I can't tell whether they're just flat-out stupid, or whether they're genuinely delusional.
In Hood's case, it's most likely delusion. He thinks the free market will solve all problems and cure all ills. So f*ck a bunch of transit planning. Don't worry about gaining the necessary rights of way and starting to lay the tracks to a future that will enable our grand children and their grand children to travel efficiently without destroying the planet. No sirreee. Just give 'em back some cash, don't worry and be happy.
This same short-sightedness is also apparent in their approaches to almost every other important issue. They want to legislate their own narrow sense of white Christian morality and use that model to divide us against one another. Their positions on immigration are hypocritical beyond belief. They want the world to look like Leave it to Beaver, where women do what men want, where gays hide in closets or kill themselves, and where poor black people shuck and jive and suck up to fat-assed white bosses like the Puppetmaster. They start wars they can't finish, not just dividing our own citizenry, but ripping the world asunder along the way. They build so-called energy policy with the sole purpose of lining their pockets. They run companies into the ground, destroying shareholder value and destroying lives.
Republicans these days seem to have no sense of planning ahead for an uncertain future. They hate government and they truly suck at running government. And yet they desperately want to be in charge, to the point of spending hundreds of thousands of their corporate dollars to buy elections and install their Puppets. It is hypocrisy of the highest order. And it is dangerous. Do we really want people who think like five-year-olds running our state?