Friday, September 28, 2012

My dad loved "47"...

I don't know about you, but our family always seemed to have inside jokes, gags, expressions, sayings that ran continuously and seemed to work in every case. We often listened to comedy records, Smothers Brothers and Bill Cosby, among others, and would recite memorized lines to one another. Mostly, these were used spontaneously and uniquely. Over time they would be subtly modified or altered to suit someone or some situation, but a few never changed. 

One of those that has never changed for my family is the number 47. My dad coined it and would use it as follows, among other ways:  
  • I have 47 chores to do today.
  • There are always 47 things they want from you on these forms. 
  • You kids seem to have 47 excuses for everything. 
  • etc. 
We all picked this up from him: me, my sisters and my mom. Forty-seven became part of the fabric of our collective sense of humor. It would come out at the oddest times and regardless of how pissed off someone was or how intense the occasion happened to be; it still does even with him and my mom both gone. A 47-reference never failed to garner at least a smile and usually resulted in a full-on laugh. We probably now have amassed many times more than 47 different ways of using 47. 

Well, this latest case of Mitt Romney's Olympic-class dick-stepping just had to involve 47% of Americans who Mitt managed to make angry. It had to. It couldn't have been an even 48%. It had to be 47%. 

Perfect. The mystical recurring number again appears. 

This would have my dad smiling and chuckling. Even though this gaffe might have put him off doing so, he probably would have voted for Mitt, but either way, he would have liked to know that his favorite number, our family's favorite number, was at the heart of this foolishness. 

I will have to hear this news story another 47 times before my own smile diminishes even 1/47th. Thank you for this, Harry, 47 x 47 times.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

If Romney doesn't Reed history, he might repeat it...

Ralph Reed came as close as one can to being indicted for his part in a Jack Abramoff scheme, in which Reed accepted money for lobbying against casino gambling even as Abramoff was trying to get a gig as a casino gambling lobbyist. In so doing, Ralph managed to drag Focus on the Family, the US Family Network, and his own Christian Coalition into his questionable dealings, and even benefited from Grover Norquist's own organization, Americans for Tax Reform, as a money-laundering "pass-through." 

Yup. Ralph is a real sweet guy. 

But now, almost inexplicably, the Republican nominee for POTUS, Mitt Romney, might use this sweet guy's call-list databases in his own venal and cynical push for the Oval Office. (See the NYT news story here.) 

Is there anything that could better demonstrate Mitt's raw and desperate desire to gain office than accepting assistance from Ralph Reed, a guy who cavorted with a convicted con man and who gives smarm a bad name? 

Does this lapse of reason suggest Romney might not be doing his homework by reading up on a little recent history? Because surely if he had read, even a little, he'd realize the credibility trap he's falling into by aligning himself with the incredible Mr. Reed, wouldn't he?

I know the ability to forgive is big in the Christian faith, but how many times can someone be forgiven their bad behavior before those doing the forgiving realize there's a pattern in  behavior that is, in truth, unforgivable?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mitt has hit the fan... again

Dear Mitt…

Really? Forty-seven percent of the country is irresponsible? You do realize this is about 150,000,000 people, right? You also realize that tax cuts promoted by your own party are why so many people pay so little income tax, right? But most importantly, you have to realize this number includes some of your own voters, right?


Oops. Mitt happens.

Of this “dependent” 47% who “don’t pay income
taxes,” 61% do pay payroll taxes (the middle-class and blue-collar workers about which you claim to care so deeply), and 22% who are elderly (who you also claim as part of your base), receive Social Security payments that are possibly also taxed.

My late parents were Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries and extremely responsible, Mitt. They worked their asses off for decades (as so many do), paid FICA and payroll and income taxes (as so many do), and were lucky enough to have meager pensions to boot. But they were nothing like “victims.” In fact, my dad voted for George Bush --- twice --- and probably would have wanted to vote for you too had he lived. (My mom? Not so much.)

But the point is, Mitt, my dad was not unique. The US has plenty of Harry O’Briens in its 47%; however, by speaking “inelegantly” to your base at a fundraiser, you have managed to alienate guys just like my dad, one of the most elegant, most responsible, hardest working men you would ever want to know.

So if this latest nonsense of yours is part of your campaign’s “reset,” then you might want to rethink it, because shooting yourself in the foot and then stepping on your own d!@k with that same foot will not inspire confidence in folks like my dad, and you definitely need all the Harry O’Briens you can muster.

Harry’s son