BOW Award Time, And Then a Break

July 19, 2008

This will be my last BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award for a few weeks.  I’m going on vacation and the BOW is going on hiatus.  I’ll get back to it eventually, but I have to admit to being a little burned out on the award right now.  Why?  A couple of reasons.  I put a lot of work into the weekly posts and after a week of writing whatever book I happen to be working on the Saturday post can be a tough mountain to climb.  Some weeks (like last week) are easier to write than others (like this week).  I mean, between Jesse Jackson and Phil Gramm, last week was just flat out fun.

But it gets tiring and discouraging to hit the same points every week and see that nothing changes.  John McCain flip-flopped this week on gay adoption and Afghanistan, he made disingenuous claims about the safety of offshore drilling, and he unleashed a barrage of unfounded attacks on Barack Obama, even going so far as to imply that Obama is a socialist (which, of course, is utterly ridiculous).  And yet the so-called “liberal” press covered none of it.  Just as they have covered none of McCain’s previous flip-flops, of which there have been many.  But Obama says that he’ll be pulling out troops from Iraq over a 16 month period (which he has said since January 2007) and mentions that he will continue to refine his stance on Iraq withdrawals as he gets information from commanders on the ground (which he has said since January 2007), and the press runs story after story about how he has changed his position.  It’s enough to make a person crazy.

Anyway, I need a break.

But first, this week.  Did any of you see the Daily Show clip this week in which Jon Stewart juxtaposed George Bush’s rosy assessment of the economy and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s not so rosy assessment.  The two men were speaking simultaneously, Bernanke before Congress and Bush at a White House press conference scheduled at precisely the same time (Hmmm….I wonder why…).  The contrast is stark, even frightening.  Either Bush really is that out of touch, or the White House is trying to downplay the trouble we’re in for political gain.  Whatever the reason, that earned Bush a nomination.

Then there was John McCain’s about-face on Afghanistan.  He suddenly is calling for more troops for Afghanistan, now that the war there is going so badly.  He continues to mock Barack Obama’s foreign policy credentials, but he has now embraced the approach to the Afghanistan war that Obama has been advocating for months.

Not only that, but there was an item in today’s paper about the agreement reached by the Bush Administration and Iraqi government on — get this — “timeline horizons” for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  The White House is very quick to point out that this is not a “timetable” for withdrawal and that they are not moving toward the position that Obama and Democrats in Congress have been advocating for some time now:  namely that the sooner the Iraqi government is put in a position where it has to take responsibility for its own security, the better off Iraq will be and the better off American troops will be.  

So McCain is taking Obama’s position on Afghanistan and the Bush Administration is taking his position on Iraq.  I guess he’s smarter than they thought…. At this point, the only person in America not ready to talk about a timetable for getting out of Iraq is John McCain.

But in keeping with tradition, this award needs to go to someone who does something so egregious and stupid that it’s more than contemptible, it’s also laughable.  Fortunately, we have just the person in South Carolina’s Republican Senator Elizabeth (Liddy) Dole.  There is a bill before Congress right now that will reauthorize funding for the worldwide fight against malaria and, more to the point, AIDS, which continues to kill people across the world at an alarming rate.  The bill is currently named for the late Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos of California and the late Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois, who, despite differences on other issues, both worked tirelessly to help fight the spread of AIDS.  Dole proposed an amendment to add a third name to the bill, again as a memorial.  Whose name?  Funny you should ask.  Jesse Helms, the former Republican Senator from North Carolina who died last week, and whose bigotry against African Americans and gays was the stuff of legend.  This is a man who spent the last twenty years of his career attacking any attempt at expanding gay rights.  He justified his opposition to the Ryan White act by saying that people who got AIDS did so because of “deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct.”   He said that AIDS prevention literature was “so obscene, so revolting, I may throw up.”   And Liddy wants to memorialize him on this legislation?  Unbelievable.

So, this week’s BOW Award goes to Senator Elizabeth Dole, for her staggering insensitivity and foolishness.  Take a BOW there, Liddy.  You’ve earned it.  And good luck with the reelection campaign….

To the rest of you, the BOW Award will return before long.  In the meanwhile keep your eyes open for acts of buffoonery that might warrant mention when the posts resume.

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One Response to “BOW Award Time, And Then a Break”

  1. I appreciate the BOW awards, though they are distressing, if only because the stupidity is so horrifying. This one I had not heard about. It’s almost the sort of thing that seems like it should have been on Saturday Night Live. Because it is that ridiculous and completely bizarre that it the only sane people who could think it up would be comedians trying to find the least possible thing and make a skit out of it. But for it to be real . . . Wow. Just . . . wow.

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