I would be amiss in my duties if I didn’t report on the death of Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s portly communist leader, who never failed to get a kick out making the rest of the world nervous. Sources close to the dead despot have confirmed that he “died with his sunglasses on.” He will be missed.
Which reminds me of another grandiose little man with his eye on the prize, as it were. Newt Gingrich, whose volatile temper and erratic behavior make him resemble a human hand grenade, has now stooped to employing his daughter in a campaign to explain that he isn’t such a shit after all.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman, who was thirteen when her parents’ marriage disintegrated in a blizzard of infidelity, has been bouncing around like a pinball, saying things like, “Because he hasn’t been in the public eye for over a decade, when you first mention his name, many people think about the news reports that were reported when he was speaker. And he had thousands and thousands of negative articles at that time.”
Well … sadly, the press hasn’t gotten any better. It’s true that Newt’s poll numbers have surged recently, making him resemble something like a frontrunner, but that’s only because the field of Republican candidates is nothing more than a bleak wasteland of hacks and has-beens. With that being said, old Newt still makes a pretty easy target for most, which is obvious from the smear campaigns that have been hounding him at every turn.
“I think these guys hire consultants who just sit around, get drunk and write really stupid ads. I am so fed up with this stuff,” Gingrich said in Iowa.
Cushman also said, “But in addition to being disciplined, he’s now very cheerful and very optimistic and I think it’s a very good example of a happy warrior out on the campaign trail.”
Huh. Newt didn’t seem very cheerful when he was turning colors during the early debates and snarling like a grizzly bear at his opponents, the moderators, the cameras, and even the audience.
Newt has also been busily blustering about his work with Freddie Mac; according to him, he only made about $35,000 per year from his consulting contract with the mortgage giant. To put it into perspective and properly illustrate just what a paltry sum it was, he pointed out that he made more in fees for delivering a single speech.
The candidate is reportedly “dumbfounded” that anyone might take offense at such a thing.
“What do you mean, ‘there’s people who make less than that at their full-time jobs’?” he said, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “That’s nonsense. How could they live?”
There I go: blurring the lines between responsible, objective journalism and pure fantasy … but in the case of a crooked old buzzard like Newt Gingrich, what the hell does it matter?
Right. With the primaries only two weeks away, it’s time to start narrowing the field. I’m not sure what keeps people like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman going—unless it’s a grim willingness to spend whatever it takes to at least reach the beginning of the presidential race. Mitt Romney is a dope, Rick Perry is an accident waiting to happen, and Ron Paul has some good ideas if he could just stop turning people off every time he opens his mouth.
Yes, I love an election year—it gives people like me something to do after the holiday dust settles and January descends. Of course, there’s always distractions such as basketball, football, and hockey—not to mention Minnesota’s Winter Carnival—but politics is the thinking man’s sport, best enjoyed with an expensive cigar and very old scotch, rather than potato chips and beer.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have moved to derail the bipartisan compromise that was reached on Saturday—the compromise that would extend tax cuts for the middle class for another two months, if nothing else. 229 of the stubborn bastards voted to send the payroll tax cut to conference, allowing them to avoid having to specifically vote against the Senate’s two-month tax cut, while still voicing their opposition to the deal.
President Obama had this to say: “Let’s be clear: Right now, the bipartisan compromise that was reached on Saturday is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on January 1.”
Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) said, “It angers me that House Republicans would rather continue playing politics than find solutions. Their actions will hurt American families and be detrimental to our fragile economy.”
In other news, police have raided OWS’s Denver camp for the third time since October—only this time, one of the protesters burned the fucking thing down before the cops had a chance to steal their tents.
I think that as time goes on, and the efforts of the 99% are largely ignored, we’re going to see an increasing number of guerrilla tactics such as this. Folks who only get their news from the major networks have been lulled to sleep, told that Occupy Wall Street is over; in reality, the movement is growing and has gained support from even such unlikely sources as stodgy old religious officials. A bishop in New York City led a flock of the faithful right over a fence and into an abandoned lot owned by Trinity Church, who has been reluctant to lend the space to OWS despite the urgings of its own congregation and religious leaders all over the world.
So, it’s not just hippies, anarchists, and Hollywood flakes who are a part of this global revolution; it is teachers, labor unions, veterans, and even clergy members who are calling for just a shred of justice in this miserable world.
Well … shit. There is no justice—just ask HBO. The cable network had four shows on the chopping block; in their infinite wisdom, they decided to keep the least popular of them on the air and cancel the other three. Frankly, I wouldn’t give a damn except they axed Hung, an entertaining series about a male prostitute.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of four books.
E-mail Mr. Schmitz at email@example.com.