Who’s On First?

When I was a kid, I thought politics would be my career. Then I found out how dirty it is, and I quickly changed over to science.

Watching the current election, I can’t help feeling that something has broken in the election process. Perhaps I’ve been watching the Worst President in History for too long; I am distressed to admit that, in his case, I’ve lost my sense of humor. I can’t make jokes any more about someone who ought to be in jail for half of what he does, knowing that is the half of which he is most proud. How very, ah, weird.

Is the system broken? I know that the news system is broken, because the best reporting on the U.S. today either occurs in foreign papers (the Financial Times is the best, in my opinion, followed closely by the BBC, the Guardian, and a few others) or in a brand-new (not-yet-controlled?) class of magazines, led by Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

The best U.S. reporting by Vanity Fair? Absolutely. I have a lot of friends in the U.S. media: guys, you are not getting it done. I have a friend who is about to become a cancer survivor, and who was my editor years ago when I wrote the first stories that led to the first federal convictions in the U.S. savings and loan scandal. We were threatened constantly, my life, her paper, and one suit would have put us under. She printed every story I wrote, and those crooks went straight to jail.

Last night, over dinner, I challenged her to name one great U.S. journalist. Couldn’t do it.

Woodward and Bernstein got old and fat.

Before Reagan, there was serious investigative journalism. But Reagan began his time in office by throwing any journalist who wrote something he didn’t like out of the White House Press Corps, a practice that continues today. How destructive of a free press, how Putin-like.

Does a broken press lead to a broken political process?

Here are the choices I see before the country today:

Hillary, a candidate no one likes, but supported by women over 50 because of her genitalia, I mean, gender. Is that really how one picks?

Barack, the most eloquent of candidates, who has zero experience in anything.

John Edwards, even more sincere, with almost less than zero experience.

None of the above know anything about economics or foreign policy, or have ever managed anything larger than a household. We are, after all, talking about running the largest country in the free world, with an economy that drives the global economy, and untold military power.

John McCain, whose attempts at campaign reform are great, but who has no backbone, if his behavior vis a vis the Christian TVanglistas is any measure. Hate em, love em.

Mitt Romney, who has lots of management experience, but I think when the public gets a close look at the Mormon church in the big election, they’ll be surprised by what they find under the hood. Modern polygamy out in the open along I-80, the Avenging Angels killing church enemies, the Mountain Meadow Massacre, the Golden Plates, the undergarments. I personally don’t care, knowing that the Mormons are fantastic people, but I don’t think the average American has a clue.

Mike Huckabee, who really believes the Earth was made in six days. Please, lord, don’t give us another one of those, we just can’t take it. We don’t want to live in the stone age. Think “fossils,” Mike.

There you have it. Why?

No wonder Mike Bloomberg is still thinking of running.

Is America ready for a Jewish president, at a time when Middle East wars are our greatest problems? When siding obviously with Israel has led Bush to unending bloodshed?

How about one of the Neocons, who invented the Iraq debacle? Paul Wolfowitz, having quickly blown out of the World Bank job through sexual scandal and complete lack of management skills, has just been rehired by Condy Rice to manage disarmament. Is it really true that Condy has never achieved a single diplomatic goal?

What the heck, maybe she should be it, as her personal shill once asked her during a press conference.

I know of a few repeat offender felons who might be available, maybe we could try one of them. You say there’s a law? As George would say, Who cares? Laws don’t apply any more.

See, I’ve lost my sense of humor on this.

Harry Potter’s my man, or Bilbo, or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Or someone who is even remotely qualified. Call me old fashioned, but I want Eisenhower back.

I like Ike.