BOW Award Entry From LibertyCon

July 12, 2008

Greetings from LibertyCon 21 in Chattanooga!  I’m a Special Guest at this year’s con, which basically means that I get free food and free beer and people speak to me politely and pretend to be interested in what I have to say.  I could get used to this.


The LibertyCon folks — those who run the con and those who attend — are terrific people.  They’ve always been great to me.  But they are pretty typical of Southern Fandom in that they are politically VERY conservative.  So I’m writing today’s BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award entry from the heart of enemy territory, as it were. 


I had a whole list of this week’s nominations that I began gathering on Monday.  It’s right there on my desk at home, next to my computer.  Of course, I’m not there, but that list sure is…..


So this is going to be kind of a shorter entry than usual.  Basically we had many of the usual nominees for the week, with John McCain topping the list.  No matter what your criteria, McCain had a terrible campaign week.  He called the Social Security system a disgrace because it requires younger taxpayers to pay into a system that then pays out benefits to retirees.  He didn’t seem to understand that this is the basic premise of the Social Security system and has been since it’s inception in the 1930s.  He was utterly unprepared for a question on health insurance that addressed the inequity of insurers covering Viagra but not women’s birth control pills.  This problem was compounded when reporters confronted McCain with his past votes in the Senate against requiring insurers to cover birth control and McCain countered that he didn’t remember the votes.  “It’s something that I had not thought much about,” he said.  This from a candidate who is trying to a) attract women voters to his campaign, and b) convince voters that he is not too old and out of touch to be President.  Not good.


We also had a nomination for Jesse Jackson, who was being interviewed on Fox News, and after the interview, when he thought the microphone was off, said that Barack Obama had been “talking down to black people.”  He added, “I’m going to cut his nuts off.”  First of all I’m not sure that telling absent fathers in the African American community that they need to step up and take responsibility for themselves and their families is “talking down to black people.”  Most African American political leaders seemed to feel that Jackson’s remarks were out of line and revealed more about his feelings of being increasingly irrelevant as a political figure, than about any coherent critique of Obama’s policies. But more to the point, Jackson is a professional.  He’s a political veteran who has been interviewed on television hundreds if not thousands of times.  He should know that studio microphones will pick up anything.  Makes you wonder if he did know….


But this week’s BOW Award is going not to a Democratic Party operative, but to a Republican.  Yeah, I know:  Big surprise.  But you’ve got to admit that Phil Gramm earned this one.  In case you missed it, Gramm said that the country was not suffering from an economic recession, but rather a mental recession.  He said that America had become a country of whiners and that basically all the economic woes written about in the papers and talked about on television were a figment of people’s imaginations.


Where do we start with this one?  Record home foreclosures, rising unemployment, inflation, energy costs for both gasoline and heating fuels that have become a true economic hardship for ordinary Americans, an economy that has ground nearly to a halt.  This is not in anyone’s imagination; this is real.  Are we in a recession?  Not according to the classic definition, no.  But anyone who doesn’t believe that middle class families in America are hurting is either in denial or totally out of touch.  More to the point, though, Phil Gramm is one of John McCain’s chief economic advisers.  His candidate has been facing charges that he doesn’t know much about the economy (something McCain himself has said and then denied saying) and that he doesn’t understand the day to day lives of ordinary people.  Can Gramm think his remarks are going to help?


Barack Obama was all over this, saying that America didn’t need another “Dr. Phil” (great line) and making it clear that he understands the painful circumstances so many people are in.  Gramm gave him an opening you could drive a truck through, and Obama took it.  Lower income voters had been ready to look at McCain.  They voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and weren’t sure they could trust Obama.  They trust him now, at least more than they do McCain.


Look, I’m delighted by Gramm’s comments.  I hope McCain takes the guy to all his campaign appearances (though I’m not holding my breath).  But that doesn’t mean that the remarks were smart.  This week’s BOW Award goes to former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, for being just about as stupid as he could be.  Take a BOW there, Phil.  You’ve earned it.  And feel free to keep on talking.


5 Responses to “BOW Award Entry From LibertyCon”

  1. Frank said

    Be careful out there in “Enemy Territory”…

    When you get back to your list, will we get a BOWL (Buffoons Of a Week Later) Award?

  2. tiarella said

    Enjoyed seeing and hearing you at LibertyCon and your blog today. LibertyCon is a right wing Con with right wing scientists and often right wing guests, but many attendees are liberals; we just politely enjoy the Con and ignore political statements because the Con IS interesting and fun with an emphasis on science, authors, and artists. Best wishes. As Clarence Darrow said, “To think is to differ”.

  3. davidbcoe said

    No, Frank, I think I’ll just be starting this week’s award list from scratch. Probably….

    Thanks, Tiarella! Had a great time at LibertyCon. The political stuff is easy to deal with when everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Thanks for the support and the kind comment.

  4. Kerry said

    Of course everybody who has different political views are welecome to come to LibertyCon and we can all discuss them. Discuss, Not argue. Most of us might be a tab conserative but we are also interested in hearing other peoples opinions, at least most of us are. Talk to me ahead of time and I will arrange some programming for you to discuss your views on different issues.
    Kerry Gilley
    Director of Programming
    p.s. David, are you done with the swim suit models yet?

  5. Derek said

    Bah… a ray of sunshine, the transplanted yankee was!

    And I STILL chuckle everytime I think of the “and we’ll keep coming down till we turn Tennessee blue again” comment at the Guest Speeches!

    And that was a great recording for the podcast… you guys did a great job!

    Now for next year… 😉

    Derek Spraker
    LibertyCon Secretary
    (And more ‘uber’ than Kerry)

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