Republican spectacle is heating up the summer
What a month! Heat, heat and more heat. At this point I'm content to spend my time in a state of vegetation in the AC, under a ceiling fan and in front of the television. I'm too old and fat to risk a heart attack or heat stroke running around out in the heat.
It makes me wonder how I ever stood summers 55 years ago, when I was a teenager. For the most part, I spent my days doing farm labor. Imagine picking up bales of hay weighing 40 to 80 pounds and stacking them six high on a wagon, then hauling them off to put in a sweltering hay loft. Once the older guy working beside me had a stroke or heart attack (memory is hazy) beside me. We drove him to the hospital and returned to the hay loft.
When I got home I would take a cold shower and try to relax in a house that was not air conditioned but had a "swamp box" — an evaporative cooler that featured water dripping through excelsior (artificial straw) and then a big fan pulling the air through it and into the room. That was in the living room. The bedrooms were just ovens.
But today, I have air conditioning. In fact, I have two of them. One serves the main part of the house and one serves the big family room addition tacked on by the previous owner. I try to close off half the house and only use one at a time. Why volunteer money to Westar when they are going to get it out of me when the new rate hike is diminished but passed by a state board.
I hate to admit it, but my summer guilty pleasure is Big Brother. No defense, I just like it. So sue me.
But best of all, far more entertaining than all these is the parade of candidates for the nominations of the parties (which are still a year away) for president. It has been scary, discouraging, informative, disgusting and a hoot watching the candidates try to appeal to the majority (which seems to be right-center) while still being outrageous enough to stand out from the pack and grab share of the network media coverage. Not an easy thing to do.
Sen. Ted Cruz came out of the gate first. He made a few radical statements about things like immigration and then found himself afoul of his party's leadership and, while not being named directly, chastised by the Senate for personal attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And now he is becoming even more outspoken.
The entry of Donald Trump into the race pretty much vacuumed up all the attention. Trump's major advantage, that he has more than enough money to be independent from the lobbyists, PACs and power brokers, seemed to strike a chord with many Americans.
He seems to feel like he can now say anything he damn well pleases. So he does. His outspoken and outrageous utterances have shown little thought but also little fear. Many folks, like those who still show the Confederate battle flag, are tired of political correctness.
Senators Cruz and Rubio try to appeal to Latino voters (though Cuban Americans are very different from Mexican and Central American immigrants), but they seem unable to move their Republican colleagues toward any solution of the immigration problem other than "Build a Humongous Fence." Rubio seems to be in the top tier of Republican candidates along with his one time friend and mentor Jeb Bush who is Latino by marriage.
Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and a few others are still trying to appeal to the "values voters" though the same-sex marriage ship has apparently sailed and Obamacare seems to be impervious to their assaults.
Lots of former governors present themselves as nuts and bolts administrators who can cut taxes, shrink government and bust public employees unions but are burdened by spotty records, tax hikes and dumb mistakes.
Bobby Jindal is running as a technocrat while his state is in far worse shape than Kansas. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich seem to be the most believable.
And Carly Fiorina has a vagina.
How can one not be amused? And I haven't even mentioned Hillary, who seems more like a version of Tricky Dick meets Slick Willie the more we read about her indebtedness to Wall Street, some foreign governments and big U.S. corporations.
But we'll get more into that next month.
Just be aware of her attempts to distance herself from big money and try to appeal to the populist wing led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
It is going to be a long campaign, folks. Settle back and enjoy the spectacle and pageantry.
Have a good laugh and try to forget that, in about 18 months, one of these clowns will be our president.