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September 6, 2011

“Best ‘Man’”

Roy Meachum

With a major GOP presidential debate on-tap Wednesday evening, defying Mother Nature, Labor Day kicked off the 2012 election year. Rep. Michelle Bachman disturbs the gender of the inevitable Best Man scenario. Meanwhile former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hovers, not far from the action.


While Oval Office incumbent Barack Obama has the Democratic nomination seemingly in-pocket, the Republicans are tearing themselves apart; mostly their platforms are based on the most-increasingly conservative stances. Pushing his newly published memoir, former Bush Vice President Dick Cheney plays the role of political jester, not donning cap and bells but a Darth Vader costume for a late-night television program.


While the “real” candidates continue to stab each other in the back, Mr. Cheney reminds the electorate why they mobbed to Mr. Obama’s colors – pun fully intended. The nation’s ex-Number Two resumes feuds with high-ups in George W.’s White House, all Republicans. To ensure the African American constituency safely nestles in the opposition’s arms, Mr. Cheney bad-mouths former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, the GOP’s stalwart pretensions for the black vote.


Readers may recall the Oval Office has been mostly Republican turf since the party’s initial surge brought Abraham Lincoln to Pennsylvania Avenue, in 1860; in separate terms, Grover Cleveland disturbed the GOP domination during the Bloody Shirt age. Woodrow Wilson snagged the nation’s highest office during 1912’s international turbulence and held on because of the threat posed by World War I. Not until the Great Depression’s clouds lowered over Wall Street did voters flock to Franklin Delano Roosevelt; his record-breaking third and fourth terms must be attributed to World War II. Harry S Truman’s 1948 re-election should be counted in the Cold War’s column.


But then Republican nominee Thomas Dewey was no General of the Armies Dwight D. Eisenhower; when Ike retired from the armed forces, public acclamation swept him into the president’s mansion. The Hungarian uprising and Suez crisis ensured the general’s second term, overcoming Adlai Stevenson’s wide attraction. Richard M. Nixon did not slide behind the normally GOP desk because of electoral chicanery, many claim; he was upset by John F. Kennedy. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson won in his own right because of Mr. Kennedy’s assassination and Sen. Barry Goldwater’s “extremism.”


President Nixon’s “turn” was interrupted when the Watergate scandal resulted in his resignation; Jimmy Carter succeeded after Gerald Ford pardoned his former “boss.” Ronald Reagan returned the White House to GOP “normalcy.” When Constitutional term limits requiredthe popular Californian to retire, George H.W. Bush gained four more years for the Republicans, waging the triumphant Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein. The senior President Bush could not match Democrat Bill Clinton’s charisma; the younger Bush grabbed the Oval Office back, with suspected Florida chicanery to match why Richard Nixon was forced to accede to Jack Kennedy. George W. held on because of the terror induced 10 years ago by the hijackings on September 11, further hyped by the inflamed fear of Muslims fanned chiefly by Dick Cheney, as he admits in his memoir. He does not apologize for the national economic disaster in which his Halliburton Corporation turned out to be a big gainer.


As everybody acknowledges Barack Obama and his color guaranteed change in the country’s eyes in 2008, but the normally GOP electorate soured early. Even before his inauguration, he came under withering criticism that continues; the last election was, above all, a tribute to the American citizens’ impatience expressed by fickleness. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s comment: There they go again!


If the Republicans fail to achieve triumph a year from this November, they can blame themselves; in no way, can Barack Obama be held accountable. Shakespeare wrote of a monarch “bound-up with holy writ and parchment.” In the present president’s situation, substitute rabid partisanship and fear.


More likely, reviewing history, I’m forced to conclude – 14 months before the balloting – the more likely outcome will result in Republicans’ self-destructing as they have in the past each time a Democrat assumed the White House.


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