by Christopher Westley
by Christopher Westley
Is 2007 shaping into a bizarro year?
These are years when contradictions abound — when down is up, when black is white, and when results seem to be the exact opposite of what conventional wisdom expects.
I first thought 2007 might be shaping into a bizarro year following the college football championship game between Ohio State University and the University of Florida. For a month, the smart money wasn't just on Ohio State. Rather, it was aghast that such a great team had to be bothered with playing such a pathetic opponent in Florida. Why not just cancel the game and hand the trophy to that team from Columbus, and to a school named for a poisonous nut?
The problem was, they had to play the game — money, contracts, and all that — and the result wasn't just a surprise upset, with the underrated team eking out a last minute victory. Florida destroyed Ohio State like a dervish in a tearoom.
No one subscribing to conventional opinion anticipated such an outcome. Reading about the game in the paper the next day, I thought that the result wasn't just bizarre. It was bizarro.
There are other contradictions promising to define this year. Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House (yawn — this was expected) and at her swearing in ceremony she surrounds herself with grandchildren (burp — this wasn't). Her confederates in the House follow suit, and the Capitol is overrun with children and grandchildren of Democratic representatives being sworn in. These were the children who, unbeknownst to them, survived the abortion culture sanctified by the Pelosi's Democratic Party for over three decades. One wonders if Pelosi, holding a grandchild in the Speaker's rostrum, whispers in his ear, "I sure love you, Timmy. Good thing you were conceived after Mommy finished law school."
But wait. There is more bizarro-ness. Barbara Boxer, a Democratic senator from California — probably the best senator ever named for a mastiff dog — suggests that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's support of an escalation of forces in Iraq can be explained because Rice is single and childless. In a Senate hearing last week, Boxer told Rice, "Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact."
Rice — certainly the best Secretary of State ever named for a heavily-subsidized agricultural staple — fights back by expressing shock that her exercising of her right as a modern Republican woman to embrace a lifestyle celebrated by Mary Tyler Moore in the 1970s should affect her support of war escalation. "I thought it was OK to be single," Rice told the New York Times. "I thought it was OK not to have children," she said, signaling a rift between herself and Mary Cheney, the vice president's daughter and soon-to-be mom.
Is it a bizarro world when the Democrats try to out-family the Republicans, and do so credibly? Someone check the dictionary.
Finally, the aforementioned escalation in Iraq is itself out of Alice in Wonderland. After the GOP suffered losses in the recent midyear elections, causing it to lose control of both houses of Congress, a contrite Bush took to the hinterlands admitting that he got the message regarding the unpopularity of the Iraq War. Would the U.S. government's involvement in Iraq be greatly reduced next year as a result?
Apparently not. The message the president received seems to be to increase troop strength in Iraq, a policy that not only reflects an escalation called for by his rejected 2004 primary opponent, but is reminiscent of another Texas president's response to alter the direction of another pointless war that also wasn't going as planned. We know how that one turned out.
2007 also has brought news that Cong. Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, is considering a run for the White House in 2008. Dr. Paul's popularity is largely based on his efforts, as a libertarian representative, to eschew political solutions while demanding that government operate within its constitutional constraints.
This is surely an antidote for much of the bizarro that has shaped our still-new year. His candidacy will doubtlessly be ignored by a political class that is confident that someone else from a select group of Republicans and Democrats is guaranteed to win, because they always do.
Just like Ohio State?
Chris Westley [send him mail] teaches economics at Jacksonville State University, Alabama.
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