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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Basic Biittner: Who's Minding the Store?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm getting a little concerned about the Grand Old Party in recent months. It seems to me as if the party of Lincoln doesn't have a rudder to steer the ship these days.

With President Obama's term only 60 days old, the political pundits have been speculating about who the leader of the Republican Party is now. I certainly don't know, but if they are looking for someone who is not afraid to speak their mind and say what feel, they have no shortage of candidates.

Take Iowa's own Senator Charles Grassley. When he recently vented against AIG and its fat cat executives, the public cheered. He did raise a few eyebrows, of course, when he suggested that those executive take page from the Japanese culture and bow respectfully to the American public, offer a sincere apology, and then either resign their jobs or perform the ancient Japanese ritual of hari-kari - suicide, in other words. As soon as I heard that, I knew there would be some kind of public backlash. As Grassley explained later , when the backlash did indeed occur, he didn't really want the AIG guys to off themselves, he was just furious, and making a point. Point well taken.

I think Senator Grassley may have been borrowing a page from his Congressional colleague, Northwest Iowa's own Representative Steve King, who has also pulled the "Open Mouth, Insert Foot" trick too many times to mention in this limited space.

Then, there is the recently defeated Presidential candidate, John McCain. Everyone seems to have written him off as the party leader, I guess due to his age and the fact that he didn't win in 2008. He can continue speaking his mind about causes in the Senate, party leaders seem to be saying, but it's "don't call us -- and we won't call you, either" as far as a GOP leadership role is concerned.

McCain's daughter Meghan, interestingly enough - or not - has adopted a much more active profile lately, though, engaging in a kind of name-calling "cat fight" with conservative political commentators Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter. Apparently one (or both?) of them, in commenting about some political view Ms. McCain expressed, made a disparaging remark about her weight, and Ms. McCain, in the words of Garfield the cartoon cat, "resembled that remark." You know what? I don't care, and I doubt many other Americans do, either. If I wanted this kind of stuff, I'd tune in to "Entertainment Tonight," "Show-biz Today," or any one of the other countless shows of that ilk. I didn't even bother checking out a photo of her to see if she is indeed carrying some extra pounds. I don't care!

Lastly, as if they needed it, there has been some speculation about Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh taking the lead in GOP policy-making. Please. Though I admit I used to listen to Rush occasionally because he kind of amused me, I think he should just stay where he is at. Having a TV version of his show didn't work out, working on Monday Night Football was a disaster, etc. Just stay in the "Excellence In Broadcasting" studio, Rush. Spout off as much as you want - it is your show, after all - and, if enough people keep listening and enjoying your act, whether they agree with your views or not, you'll have a nice paying job. Which in these economic times is certainly something to be cherished.

In the meantime, GOP, let the dust settle a bit before you rush to pick a good party leader and/or viable 2012 Presidential candidate. Contrary to recent election cycles, candidates do NOT have to start campaigning two or three years before the election. In fact, a candidate who spends a minimum amount of money and time, while making his points clearly and concisely, would be a welcome change.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner