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Show biz for ugly people

Politics, as we often have pointed out in this space, is show business for ugly people. With that in mind, let's consider some of the delicious carnival sideshows that our local pols are putting on for our entertainment. Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, buy your tickets, take your seats.

In carnie booth No. 1, have a gander at Douglas "Taxcutter" Bruce as he takes on Sallie "I'm Just an Innocent Bystander" Clark and Margaret "The Best-Qualified Applicant" Radford. Did Sallie get her buddy Margaret a $55,000 job at the county health department by shameless political maneuvering? Did Sallie and the health department's Rosemary Bakes-Martin secretly conspire to boot the Dougster as department liaison and get Margaret a job?

Isn't it great to see Chicago-style patronage politics right here in ColoSpgs? And just how tough is that sweet, smiley-faced Sallie Clark in her prim Republican outfits? Tough enough to body slam the Dougster and leave him bleeding on the mat. But don't count out Commissioner Bruce. He'll be back.

And in booth No. 2, take a look at the Colorado Democratic Party, flushed with victory last November and ready to throw it all away in 2006. The GOP's debacle was complete, both houses of the legislature under Democratic control for the first time in 40 years and both Salazars elected, taking formerly Republican seats in the House and the Senate.

Shortly after the election, my pal, Sarah the Ruthless Republican Operative, listened patiently to my gloatathon. Then she had this to say: "OK, you won, go ahead and celebrate. But remember, these are Democrats! Give 'em a gun and they'll shoot themselves in the foot. You wait; we won't have to do a thing."

Alas, what was the first thing the newly victorious Dems did? They tossed out party chair Chris Gates, ostensibly because he had played favorites in the Senate primary, scorning ber-liberal Mike Miles for eventual winner Ken Salazar. That sent a message, all right -- a message so clear that the state party, under the new chairmanship of Pat Waak, practically is out of money. It seems moderate Dems, unhappy with the lefty takeover, aren't sending checks.

You'd think the Dems would realize that November's triumphs came because of the Gates-orchestrated move to the center, not in spite of it. But old habits die hard.

For example, right here in El Paso County, what national politician is scheduled to address activists and state officials who will be in town for an upcoming Democratic summit? None other than Rev. Al Sharpton, who is, according to the party's press release, "internationally respected for his lifelong activism for political, human, and civil rights. " Oh, really? My guess is that most Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats remember Sharpton principally for his disgraceful role in the 1987 Tawana Brawley affair in New York City.

Brawley, as you may remember, was a teenage African-American girl who, having stayed out all night with her boyfriend, concocted a story about having been assaulted and terrorized by a gang of white racists. Sharpton took the story and ran with it. In a time of extraordinary racial tension in New York, Sharpton's actions exacerbated this tension. Even after it was crystal clear that Brawley was lying, Sharpton kept the story alive.

True, Sharpton's a smart, witty guy who gives a great speech, but he's also a ruthless, self-serving pol who's always ready to play the race card -- just the kind of guy to persuade Colorado Springs conservatives that the Democrats now are moderate, sensible centrists. OK, Sarah, you were right.

And in booth No. 3, cult leader extraordinaire James Dobson plays the Nazi card! Yup, according to Doctor Jimmy, those hundreds of thousands of frozen, discarded blastocysts in cold storage at fertility clinics are just like the actual human beings who were brutally murdered by the Nazis. Never mind that they're simply pinhead-sized bundles of a few dozen cells -- why, according to Focus "bioethicist" Carrie Gordon Earll, they're "tiny humans"! I'd find Focus' concern for all these pitiful blastocysts a little more convincing if it was less supportive of the Iraq war and more concerned with, say, famine and genocide in Africa.

Maybe rebranding would help get Dr. Dobson involved. Forget about war and genocide. Let's just call it Nazi-inspired "post-birth abortion."

-- johnhazlehurst@earthlink.net

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