Monday, March 7, 2011


Remember Iraq's Saddam Hussein? In the lead up to the war in Iraq one of the best things he left us with is the catch phrase "The Mother of all Wars" - as if the war in Iraq was the Alpha and the Omega of all wars. Since then the term "The Mother of ..."  has become synonymous with events that can (and should) be mocked because of the exaggerated claims and circumstances surrounding the event.

Today, the recent antics of Charlie Sheen suggest that we just might see the same mocking characterization applied to the term "winning" as we with the "Mother of all ..." Think about it. The exaggerated and misplaced sense of accomplishment assigned by Charlie Sheen to his recent successes doesn't strike most of us as the recipe for, well, winning.

To be sure, Charlie Sheen has a #1 program, has lots of money, and sleeps with two "goddesses." This is winning in the minds of many, right? Still, very few of us would consider his recent drug and alcohol fueled meltdowns, and having his hit program put on hiatus, as indicators of success, or winning (even if he does get the program back).

Simply put, if you're burning down the house and having meltdowns, winning the Charlie Sheen way doesn't necessarily imply that you're doing the right thing - even if you claim or think you're on the right path.
Well, so it is with the Republican Party and their morally tinged "winning" strategy. They might think they're winning but the facts suggest otherwise. Let's go back a few weeks to see what I mean.

As some of you might recall, House Republicans started off their tenure with some stellar political "strategery" during their first week in power. From, "did you read the fine print?" qualifiers on their budget cuts, to repealing health care when they knew the Senate would not support their efforts, to reading the Constitution on the House floor and failing to reveal which House members get government run health care, the GOP has been pursuing gimmicks that only Charlie Sheen's brain might consider part of a larger winning strategy.


Then they followed this up with efforts to redefine rape (because only GOP members of Congress know when it happens), cutting taxes on the rich, and then ignoring the plight of cash strapped cities and states. Sounds like the makings of a Charlie Sheen-like political hook up to me ...

But wait. We have more Charlie Sheen-like burning down the house political "strategery."

A few weeks back, led by Speaker Boehner, Republicans fought to keep building jet engines that Defense Secretary Gates says the Defense Department doesn't want, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff say we don't need. Boehner's reason for wanting to keep the jet fighter? Because the federally funded jobs that build those engines are located close to his district.

So ... what do you think? Is this a winning strategy for trimming budget deficits? Or is it akin to claiming Tiger blood and Adonis DNA when you're really just a schmuck?

Then, to make matters worse, when it comes to other federally funded jobs disappearing outside of his district we learned that John Boenher apparently doesn't give a damn. Specifically, when asked about job cuts if the GOP plan to trim $100 billion from the budget were put into effect, Boehner flippantly replied "so be it."

Somehow killing close to 1 million jobs and then pretending that you can ignore it's effects doesn't strike me as a winning strategy.

There's more. But you get the point. Over thirty years of ideologically rigid but failed policy prescriptions, combined with years of morally hypocritical approaches to politics and life, have turned the GOP into a party that might be able to "win" elections. They just can't govern, and it shows.

Sounds like winning to me ... the Charlie Sheen way.

- Mark

Addendum: If you like the cartoons, check out The New Yorker piece here.

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