"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Garrison Keillor (Not a Fruit Fly)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Garrison Keillor (Not a Fruit Fly)

By Garrison Keillor
Sept. 10, 2008

So the Republicans have decided to run against themselves. The bums have tiptoed out the back door and circled around to the front and started yelling, "Throw the bums out!" They've been running Washington like a well-oiled machine to the point of inviting lobbyists into the back rooms to write the legislation, and now they are anti-establishment reformers dedicated to delivering us from themselves. And former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is an advocate for small-town America. Bravo.

They are coming out for Small Efficient Government the very week that the feds are taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those old cash cows, and in the course of a weekend $20 billion or $50 billion (pick a number) go floating out the Treasury door. Hello? Do you see us out here? We are not fruit flies, we are voters, we can read and write, we didn't just fall off the coal truck.

It is a bold move on the Republicans' part—forget about the past, it's only history, so write a new narrative and be who you want to be.

Sen. John McCain has decided to run as a former prisoner of war and a maverick, a maverick's maverick, rather than President Bush's best friend, and that's understandable, but how can he not address the $3 trillion that got burned up in Iraq so far? It's real money, it could've paid for a lot of windmills, a high-speed rail line in Ohio, some serious R&D. The Chinese, who have avoided foreign wars for 50 years, are taking enormous leaps forward, investing in their economy, and we are falling behind. We're wasting our chances. The Republican culture of corruption in Washington hasn't helped.

And a former mayor of Wasilla, a town of about 8,500, who hired a lobbyist to get $26 million in federal earmarks is now running against the old-boy network in Washington who gave her that money to build the teen rec center and other good things so she could keep taxes low in Wasilla.


And if you question her qualifications to be the leader of the free world, you are an elitist. This is a beautiful maneuver. I wish I had thought of it back in school when I was forced to subject myself to a final exam in higher algebra. I could have told Miss Mortenson, "I am a Christian and when you gave me a D, you only showed your contempt for the Lord and for the godly hard-working people from whom I have sprung, you elitist battle-ax you."

In school, you couldn't get away with that garbage because the taxpayers know that if we don't uphold scholastic standards, we will wind up driving on badly designed bridges and go in for a tonsillectomy and come out missing our left lung, so we flunk the losers lest they gain power and hurt us, but in politics we bring forth phonies and love them to death.

I must say, it was fun having the Republicans in St. Paul and to see it all up close and firsthand. Security was, as one might expect, thin-lipped and gimlet-eyed, but once you got through it, you found the folks you went to high school with—farm kids, jocks, the townies who ran the student council, the cheerleaders, some of the bullies—and they are as cohesive now as they were back then, dedicated to school spirit, intolerant of outsiders, able to jump up and down and holler for something they don't actually believe.

But oh, Lord, what they brought forth this year.

When you check the actuarial tables on a 72-year-old guy who's had three bouts with cancer, you guess you may be looking at the first woman president, a hustling evangelical with ethics issues and a chip on her shoulder who, not counting Canada, has set foot outside the country once—a trip to Germany, Iraq and Kuwait in 2007 to visit Alaskans in the armed services. And who listed a refueling stop in Ireland as a fourth country visited. She's like the Current Occupant but with big hair. If you want inexperience, there were better choices.


  1. Ah yes, Garrison Keillor -- an entertainer to whom I really like to listen -- because he is amusing and seems to understand the foibles of growing up and living in a small community, even though Anoka is as small as it's gotten for him, if I'm not mistaken.

    As far as his opinions and histrionics about politics, I place him squarely with the rest of the entertainers -- Al Franken, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et al -- all of whom are in the business of entertaining, have no qualifications to do otherwise, but who enjoy having sort of a fanatic bunch of sheep following them. It's those ratings, you know.

    I also recognize that Garrison's vast experience as a world traveller -- he did live in Denmark after all -- and his experience on the world stage (or was that some other stage?) have provided him with remarkable insight for accurately judging the qualifications of leaders, never mind the facts.

    In reading the article, it seemed Garrison was naming a group of people as undesirables -- cheerleaders, bullies, jocks, townies who ran the student council, and farm kids. Of course I take considerable umbrage at being lumped in with those darned farm kids, a group of disrespectful hoodlums if I ever saw any. However, if they can just take time away from going to church and making babies, they'll get their guns and take care of this problem... Maybe we'll tell 'em that Garrison tastes just like chicken, there's no limit, and he is personally responsible for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

    And that's all I have to say about that....

  2. I like Camille Paglia's take on the Republican VP candidate, posted yesterday at Salon.com, and which sounds remarkably like the strong women I knew as I was growing up. An excerpt:

    "Perhaps Palin seemed perfectly normal to me because she resembles so many women I grew up around in the snow belt of upstate New York. For example, there were the robust and hearty farm women of Oxford, a charming village where my father taught high school when I was a child. We first lived in an apartment on the top floor of a farmhouse on a working dairy farm. Our landlady, who was as physically imposing as her husband, was an all-American version of the Italian immigrant women of my grandmother's generation -- agrarian powerhouses who could do anything and whose trumpetlike voices could pierce stone walls.

    Here's one episode. My father and his visiting brother, a dapper barber by trade, were standing outside having a smoke when a great noise came from the nearby barn. A calf had escaped. Our landlady yelled, "Stop her!" as the calf came careening at full speed toward my father and uncle, who both instinctively stepped back as the calf galloped through the mud between them. Irate, our landlady trudged past them to the upper pasture, cornered the calf, and carried that massive animal back to the barn in her arms. As she walked by my father and uncle, she exclaimed in amused disgust, "Men!"

    Now that's the Sarah Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism -- a world away from the whining, sniping, wearily ironic mode of the establishment feminism represented by Gloria Steinem, a Hillary Clinton supporter whose shameless Democratic partisanship over the past four decades has severely limited American feminism and not allowed it to become the big tent it can and should be. Sarah Palin, if her reputation survives the punishing next two months, may be breaking down those barriers. Feminism, which should be about equal rights and equal opportunity, should not be a closed club requiring an ideological litmus test for membership."

  3. Good grief folks! What's it take to get a good controversy going here? I insulted Garrison Keillor, for Pete's sake! I figured I'd get flamed from one side to the other and I could sit back and chuckle. (It takes very little to amuse me some days, now that I am part of the card carrying elderly generation.)

    BTW, thank you to everyone for their kind congratulations. I can assure you that she is the most beautiful granddaughter ever, and I actually kind of feel bad for other grandparents whose grandkids have been relegated to nothing better than second place. But there we are, I have seen the data, and it is solid. ...and I bought some property in Wyoming...

  4. Cvow, don't you agree that there's very little difference between news and entertainment in general? News is entertainment and entertainment is news. Oh, for the days of Walter Cronkite - just the facts without all the happy talk and glitzy graphics. Most of today's 'news' is actually commentary and opinion, but they do have an impact because ideas have consequences. Public opinion is shaped and informed by these people.

    Garrison Keillor on the other hand.. I've always wondered if he had a measure of disdain and/or contempt toward the people of Lake Wobegon, and now I know he does! Say it ain't so, GK!