Thingish Things

Amateur Hour

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 01•11

Some mornings I wake up feeling like Bubba in “Forest Gump.” “And that’s all I have to say about shrimp” is about the best I can utter.

Then I crack the papers, and there’s not enough time in the day to let rip: Lemon shrimp, mango shrimp, gumbo shrimp, orange shrimp…

It’s the GOP side of the presidential race today. It’s killing me. The serious candidates aren’t yet engaged, so we are being forced to watch amateur hour. I won’t name names, because I have friends working on some of these races, but the level of discourse so far has been preposterous: Who’s really black?; birth certificates, an Islamic coup in America?  Are you kidding?

It’s the kind of discourse that reminds a majority of Americans why they ditched the Republican Party in the first place.

Every long distance running race has a pacer group — a cluster of runners with no chance and no intention of victory. They run to set the pace for the contenders — they set the race’s tone.  The Republican pacers in the 2012 presidential primary could not be setting a more destructive and unattractive one.

There are serious issues to discuss.  If you can’t come up with an engaging way to address them, stop running. You don’t belong in the race. Resorting to cheap headline tactics as a pacer candidate is a disservice to the Republican Party and to the country. Get out.

Another unattractive quality I’m seeing is a tendency among some candidates to change their opinions on Libya virtually on a daily basis, simply to attack President Obama. There is plenty to criticize. Libya is looking like a classic cluster you know what, in Army parlance. But you can’t criticize President Obama for trying-to-pin-Jello-to-the-wall in his foreign policy when you’re working with  pudding.

Hint: John McCain is someone to emulate on matters of foreign policy. He lays out his vision and the sticks with it. Situations change, but the over arching goals do not. He’d be president if held the same strong feelings about domestic policies.

The early days of primaries can be entertaining. But so, I’m sure, is “Dancing with the Stars.” Candidates looking to get famous quickly, while the real runners are lacing up their shoes, would be better off sticking with reality TV.

President Obama and his agenda are beatable. And the stakes could not be higher.  Please don’t blow potholes in the track for those who have to follow you.

Pepper shrimp, fried shrimp, coconut shrimp…



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  1. Your Friend says:

    SLAM!! It’s out of the park, ladies and gentleman (in honor of various opening days). You are so spot on here it makes me cry (except that it’s too easy for John McCain to stick to his policies — he’s a war monger, it isn’t hard to stay on point when all you have to say is “Attack!” and “Attack again!”) Otherwise I truly feel that reality television has been having this insidious effect on our politics, as if running this country is just like winning Biggest Loser or something. Thankless job, like you have said.

  2. Me says:

    Spot on, as my Brit friends would say.

    P.S. It’s odd that I just called you “Bubba” in a response to another post before I read this one.

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