Canada Bill Jones was one of the old west’s great con men. He traveled the young country separating suckers from their money. He was even a little bit of an entrepreneur; when the Union Pacific railway started shutting down three card monty dealers, he offered them $10,000 a year for an exclusive franchise. Once, his friend and sometime partner George Devol came across Canada Bill playing Faro in Cairo, Illinois, and getting brutally ripped off by some fellow hustlers. George pulled him aside and said “Bill, can’t you see this game is fixed?” Canada Bill shrugged helplessly and said “I know it’s crooked, but it’s the only game in town.” Then he sat back down to another hand.
That story gives me a feeling of deep helpless pathology and diffuse sympathy. I get the same impulse when I hear Republicans talk about their 2012 candidates. It’s a repetitive crop of warmed-over losers. Huckabee? Theocratic whackjob. Cheney? Wiped his ass with the Constitution; no thanks. Romney? Still thinks his centralized health care reform was a good plan. John Thune? Wants to keep our government in our bedrooms. Lindsey Graham? Wants to keep our government in other people’s countries. And Sarah Palin?
The only worse choice would be John McCain, and I could easily see the party throwing up that big-spending, authoritarian crank one more time. So we have a group of pandering, lecturing, nudgers and moralizers. It’s too bad that less establishment candidates like Gary Johnson aren’t getting more play. I’d like to see someone in the GOP be forced to seriously discuss our bloated military, defend the drug war, and the TARP and GM bailouts.
If I have to see Huckabee and Palin drool about ‘Merica and commies and homos and drugs any more, I’ll move to Portland, break out the flannel, and forget this town even exists. So thanks for wallowing in your own crapulence*, Republicans. It’s a shame, but to those that care for policy, liberty, or politics, watching this trainwreck will be the only game in town.
* Technically, crapulence doesn’t have anything to do with crap. Instead, it has to do with intoxication. Given that big government republicans went drunk with authority shortly after 2001, I think either meaning is applicable.