Up Front

Martin Luther Who?

In late March, the National Black Republican Association unveiled its latest attempt to reach double-digit membership: the "Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" campaign. The first billboard proclaiming the message now stands alongside I-26 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where the campaign hopes it will catch the eyes of the estimated 60,000 daily passersby. Of course, the sign doesn't mention that its assertion depends on the definitions of the words "Republican" and "was." And that one would have to forget most of the past 40 years to accept its premise.

You'd also have to forget King's staunch opposition to war, to neglecting the poor, and to pretty much everything else the GOP's come to be known for in recent years. Then you'd have to place Northern Democrats and Southern Dixiecrats into one undifferentiated lump and ignore the conversion of the Dixiecrats to Republicans beginning with the passage of the civil-rights bill and Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign (he opposed the bill) in 1964. That is, the Dixiecrats most opposed to King and all of his works left the Democrats to found the modern Republican Party.

It's not clear which is more ludicrous: convincing black voters that Republican opposition to civil-rights legislation and pretty much anything racially progressive in the past four decades is irrelevant, or trying to convince them that the party affiliation of MLK -- and most black Americans -- prior to the 1960s should be the basis for choosing a party today.

Dee Day

In 1993, Dee Dee Myers made history at the age of 31 when President Bill Clinton appointed her as the country's first female presidential press secretary. Now, in her first book, Myers has accused the Clinton White House of gender-based pay discrimination. Myers says she was given a smaller office, worse title, and lower salary than past press secretaries. When she complained to then?Chief of Staff Leon Panetta about a male colleague with less responsibility earning $10,000 more than she was, Panetta told her to suck it up because the guy had a family and she didn't.

In an interview with Time magazine, Myers remembered, "Bill Clinton was under pressure to appoint women to visible positions. I was 31, I'd never worked in Washington. Was I ready for this large and visible job? Still he wanted the credit. So he gave me the job but diminished the job."

Has Myers' experience led her to disown the Clinton machine? She refuses to officially endorse a Democratic presidential nominee, but her book is titled Why Women Should Rule the World. Make of that what you will.

Dana's Denials

Meanwhile, Myers notes that she's talked to current White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, who says she receives handsome compensation for her work. That is, good money to say ridiculous things. Here are some of her greatest hits thus far.

On military jargon: "I think that men just by osmosis understand all of these things, and they're things that I really have to work at."

On global warming: "There are public-health benefits to climate change," and "many people die from cold-related deaths every winter."

On military installations abroad: "Bases are not technically ?permanent.'"

Fuel Efficiency Kills

Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have found a new reason to attack fuel-efficiency standards with a new claim: They're deadly!

"I mean, 2,000 people a year die because the environmentalists think that you should be in a smaller car because it offends their sensitivities that you're using gasoline," Norquist claimed in an interview on right-wing radio, figures he says come from "government itself."

Norquist is probably referring to a study put out in 2002 by the National Academies, which noted that their projections were based largely on self-reported information from the auto industry, which "could be biased."

Left out of Norquist's analysis are the 2,400 children who are run over every year in the United States in their own front yards, a good portion of them by SUVs backing up with decreased rearview visibility. Also omitted is the fact that while highway deaths have declined in the United States in recent years, SUV?related deaths are the only category on the rise. Oh, and there's that whole problem of the cost of our oil dependency on the economy, soldiers lives, national security, and our planet's climate.

We're All Sick.Sick!

That's the diagnosis of Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Lyle Rossiter Jr. in his new book, The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness. Read this book, the press release promises, and you'll discover that "the modern liberal agenda is... a collectivist/socialist philosophy that contradicts the most basic human dispositions to autonomy and mutuality, to individual liberty and voluntary cooperation." Contemporary liberalism "is a transference neurosis of the liberal mind, which acts out its developmental deficits and conflicts in political arenas." Presumably, this must mean that a clear majority of Dr. Rossiter's colleagues, whom surveys show to be disproportionately liberal despite their having gone through analysis, are nonetheless mentally ill. That doesn't speak well either for Rossiter's chosen profession or for his own powers of political diagnosis.

Parody by T. A. Frank

"We have a dollar that's adjusting and I am for a strong dollar... And there are certain things that we can do." -- George W. Bush, March 2008


TO: George W. Bush

FROM: Department of the Treasury, Office of Advanced Ideas

RE: The Dollar -- things we can do

While our strong-dollar policy has been highly successful, some critics have questioned whether a roughly 50 percent loss in value relative to the euro over the past eight years might indicate some shortcomings in our economic policies. We think not, but we suggest some steps for making the dollar even stronger.

  • We've cut taxes. But we ought to get serious about it. Let's really cut taxes. No one likes them. And too many other nations pay a lot of taxes. We should tell them to lower their taxes, too, or they should be ready to eat a Baghdad sandwich.
  • Invite China over for dinner at the ranch. Be smooth and talk about mutual interests, like fishing and baseball, but then build up to the point. Talk about how a loan is sometimes more like a gift, you know? Especially among really good friends.
  • There's nothing wrong with one weaker dollar that two weaker dollars can't fix. Time to bring out the best green ink and get busy. Time to make some money.
  • Sponsor a poetry competition about money. The topic should be the greatness of the U.S. dollar. Award the winner $10,000 (approximately 6,400 euros).
  • Haven't wanted to bring this up, but remember when you asked God about Iraq in late 2002? He kind of owes us for his answer on that one. Tell Him we're going to go to sleep tonight, but when we wake up we would really like to read something very nice about the dollar.
  • Take a road trip with Laura, maybe with Barbara and Jenna, too. Just get away for a month. Then come back and see if this whole dollar thing is such a big deal. Sometimes things fix themselves, basically.
  • Tell people that Bill Clinton is president, just until the dollar gets a little better. Then say you were just joshing but look at that sweet strong dollar. Then maybe say Bill Clinton is your co-president, or maybe not, but make people sort of wonder. Whatever. It's your last year in office. Enjoy yourself.

The Question:

If their convention is deadlocked, whom should Democrats turn to for the nomination?

"John McCain circa 2001" --Matt Corley, research associate, Think Progress.

"Eliot Spitzer. He's been fully vetted allready." --Matt Bai, reporter, New York Times Magazine

"Dave Chappelle. His 'Black Bush' sketch proves psychotics make the best presidents." --Spencer Ackerman, reporter, Washington Independent

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