By Stephanie Kutner
In 1972, a hero of mine, writer/journalist Hunter S. Thompson, wrote a satirical piece accusing Democratic candidate Edmund Muskie of being addicted to ibogaine, a naturally occurring hallucinogen, stating: “In retrospect however, it is easy to see why Muskie fell apart on that caboose platform in the Miami train station. It is entirely conceivable, given the known effects of ibogaine, that Muskie’s brain was almost paralyzed by hallucinations at the time…” it went on and on, growing ever more ridiculous and credible, by sheer virtue of being utterly specific. The claim was completely unfounded, but that didn’t stop those who covered the Wisconsin primaries of 1972 and those who read Thompson’s articles in Rolling Stone magazine from believing Muskie’s bizarre and fabricated addiction to be true. It ultimately ruined the candidate.
Now why am I bringing this up? While looking back on Thompson’s heyday as a political writer, something occurred to me. Though I would never fabricate anything while writing for a newspaper, the current political atmosphere and the candidates it has sputtered out, make the circumstances such that I would never need to. Please allow me to elaborate.
I will spare you Mitt Romney’s countless statements to the extent of “corporations are people,” and instead give you examples from his personal life that speak to character. Almost three decades ago, perhaps due to a cramped cabin give the number of children Ann and Mitt Romney have, Mitt put the dog cage holding the family dog, Seamus, on the top of their chevy station wagon, strapped it down and proceeded to set off on the twelve hour ride from Boston to Ontario. The dog did what most terrified animals would do, all over the roof. I urge you to consider what kind of man would do this to his dog? (Granted, he made this mistake thirty years ago.)
Rick Santorum wants to outlaw porn, he is the only candidate to have an official policy on anal sex, he is against pre-natal screenings including sonograms because they could possibly lead to a detection of defects which could then lead to abortions, in 1994 he stated that he wished to raise the social security retirement age to seventy and he came out against Obama’s plan to have everyone have at least one year of trade school or college under their belts, stating that the president was “A snob.” merely for wanting better opportunities for those entering the work force for the first time.
I don’t have much to say about Ron Paul. I hate to admit it, but I am kind of enamored with him. Though he may take things much much too far, one must admire the charisma he brings to the race, despite his age. He has supplied the Republicans with their much needed dose of honesty, on the rare times he’s been allowed to speak at length during debates. One must admire the conviction he has and the unwavering stances on issues that do not morph to fit whatever state he’s in.
Newt Gingrich. It is far too easy to delve into the horrors of his personal life, which in my mind would be somewhat of a cheap shot. Let’s then look at what he hopes to accomplish. “By the end of my second term,” Gingrich said, “we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.” Really, Newt? We’re fighting how many wars right now? The job creation rate is still dire and yet, this has been proposed, under the guise of bringing a boost to job creation? We can’t create jobs on THIS planet?
Now, I’m not going to whitewash Obama, there have been things in his presidency I have been diametrically opposed to- the bailouts, to name one. The Obama campaign has released a sixteen minute video entitled “The Road We’ve Traveled,” which the Washington Post has since referred to as “A masterful stroke…” The film highlights the main points that his campaign is poised to run on: Obama’s reaction to the economic crisis, health care reform, the auto industry bailout, and the death of Osama Bin Laden. I sincerely hope that Obama gets back on track to fulfilling his 2008 campaign promises.
The Republican National Convention will take place on Monday, August 27th, 2012. Is it so much to ask that some things at least start to make sense by August 30th?