Thursday night, Republicans in Iowa will gather in various caucus locations to choose the candidate who will do the best job of scaring the fucking shit out of America.
Months ago, the most overzealous fearmonger of the group, Rudy Giuliani, pulled out of Iowa and the resulting vacuum sucked Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney into the shared role of scaring the fucking shit out of Iowa. Since then, both have proved to be equally qualified in this regard.
Additionally, with the exception of 1980 and 1988, the Iowa Caucus has correctly chosen the eventual Republican nominee. It's also worth noting that the Iowa Republicans have elevated some serious wackaloons and hoopleheads into the top three.
Pat Robertson leg-pressed his way to second in the 1988 Iowa Caucus. In 1996, Pat Buchanan narrowly missed victory by three percentage points. Three points. This demands restating: Pat Buchanan achieved second place in Iowa and, in the view of Republican caucus-goers, was only three points less qualified to be president than Senator Bob Dole. In the 2000 caucus, Iowa Republicans thought John McCain was less qualified to be president than Alan Keyes who placed third. Senator McCain placed a distant fifth.
So not only do Iowa Republicans have a flair for choosing the presumptive nominee, they also possess an uninterrupted predilection for championing crazy people who use fear to better their political chances.
It's a lot of pressure. It's a matter of life or death -- and it all comes down to Thursday night. Huckabee or Romney. Who's crazier, Iowa?
You can choose Mike Huckabee, who said to Tim Russert on Sunday:
"But remember that [the president's] most single -- critical job is that of preserving and protecting the American people."
Huckabee is clearly referring to the Presidential Oath of Office here. Of course he totally misquoted the thing with phrasing that awkwardly reminded me of "putting food on your family." The oath says nothing about protecting and preserving the people, but rather:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The Constitution, it says. The president swears (or affirms) to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Not the people. Huckabee's stated goal, rather, is to preserve the people first and worry about the Constitution later because the evildoers will kill us otherwise. On the upside, no matter the outcome of Thursday night, this is probably the closest Huckabee will ever come to publicly reciting the actual presidential oath.
Running second to Huckabee is Mitt Romney whose ability to scare the fucking shit out of America has surged recently, especially when he told the Boston Globe:
"Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive."
The right to be kept alive, eh? Surely it's more concise than Huckabee's awkward mangling of the Founder's intentions -- and he's not misquoting the presidential oath in the process.
But Romney's talking about wiretapping here and he believes that "the right to be kept alive" is more important than the Fourth Amendment -- hell, more important than all other civil liberties combined. He's also missing the entire point of the Declaration of Independence which enumerates certain unalienable rights. "Life" is listed in there, but liberty and the pursuit of happiness are given equal weight. Sorry, Mitt.
Patrick Henry in particular had something to say about "the right to be kept alive." Ironically, a derivation of Henry's famous quote happens to be the slogan of New Hampshire: "Live Free or Die." But New Hampshire is next week.
"Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive." Do we need any further proof of how severely the Bush Republicans have bastardized the founding intentions of our nation: the intention of bravery in the face of fear -- the intention of liberty in the face of oppression?
Now, hundreds of years later, the Bush Republicans have outspokenly rewritten Patrick Henry's maxim and they're proud to live under the motto: "Give me liberty... unless it interferes with keeping me alive. Wahhh! Help!" Acquiescence and submissiveness is now somehow patriotic. As long as we keep shopping, we won't notice what's being done to the Constitution.
Deliberately scaring the American people -- political terrorism -- remains the single most effective Bush Republican strategy. It's shocking how quickly and willingly certain Republicans cave under the threat of attack, no matter how implausible the source. Torture, wiretap, and roll back their civil liberties, just so long as they aren't killed!
And the Bush Republicans fancy themselves the manly ones. That's rich.
Maybe Bush Republicans have taken their freedom for granted; consequently, they're all too willing to hand it over when their fight-or-flight instincts are triggered by the color-coded horror stories -- the toe-monster-under-the-bed tall tales spun by their heroes President Bush and Vice President Cheney. And Thursday night, a Republican successor will be chosen to carry on the work of scaring the fucking shit out of America -- a "manly man" Bush Republican who would rather we live in perpetual fear than to defy the terrorists by vigorously preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States.