AUGUST 15, 2012 | BY MENCKEN'S GHOST
As Arizona politics go, so goes national politics
Ring, ring, ring!
Expecting a call from my son, I stopped what I was doing in the garage, ran for the phone, and answered it without first checking caller ID to see who it was.
“Hello,” I said.
I got a long pause in response.
The pause told me what was coming next, but instead of cursing and hanging up as I usual do, I stayed on the line to see what inconsiderate jackass of a politician was robo-calling this time.
“Hi, this is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and I need your help . . . “
I was wrong about it being a jackass. It was a buffoon who also happens to be one of the savviest politicians in America. Sheriff Arpaio has a 77% approval rating from voters in Maricopa County, Ariz., a county that has more square miles than some states. No Republican dares to run against him in the upcoming Republican primary.
It’s also dangerous for reporters to be against him. Mr. Law-and-Order actually arrested a reporter from a leftist newspaper for criticizing him.
Arpaio bought a used Army tank for his department and shows it off in local parades. I’m surprised that he doesn’t run over the First Amendment with it.
No-neck conservatives who rail about big government love a megalomaniac with a big tank and don’t see the inconsistencies rattling around in their thick craniums. Pencil-headed liberals are just as bad. They cheer for big government and then are surprised when big government becomes corrupt and devours their freedom and prosperity.
But this isn’t about Arpaio, who would need an entire book to do justice to his ego and buffoonery. It’s about several of the other inconsiderate, egotistical, power-hungry politicians running for office in my home state of Arizona, which, no doubt, is no different from your state in silliness, stupidity and rudeness in this never-ending campaign season.
If voters get what they deserve, then voters deserve being ruled by scoundrels who have exempted their pompous selves from having to adhere to the federal Don’t Call list. Can there be anything that is more predictive about the disdain for citizens that politicians will have once in office than the disdain they demonstrate before they even get to office by making harassing phone calls and invading the privacy of citizens?
These are not nice people.
But it’s not as if today’s voters can do anything about it. Because of the stupidity of past voters, government has become so rapacious that politicians resemble Mafia Dons. As a result, voters are now like store owners who pay protection money to one Don so that they aren’t extorted by another Don. They want their Don to be to be the meanest, nastiest thug on the block.
The thugs are being more thuggish than usual in Arizona, because Republican U.S. Senator Jon Kyl is retiring and thus opening up a plum Senate seat. Also, due to their districts being redrawn, two incumbent Republican U.S. Representatives are fighting each other in the primary to stay in the House of Representatives. These changes transform politicians into hyenas, lions and vultures fighting over rotten carrion.
The two congressional incumbents are David Schweikert and Ben Quayle.
You might recognize the Quayle name. Ben is the son of the former vice president of the United States, Dan Quayle. Friends of mine who know him say that he makes his father look like a genius, an achievement that is so miraculous that the Vatican should declare it an official miracle. Ben was a lazy non-achiever all of his life until his mom kicked him in the ass and told him to make something of himself.
Campaign placards around town show Ben with his wife and kid. You know, the Republican family man charade. This is a guy who posted comments on an Internet pornography site.
The Quayle family got its fame and fortune in Indiana. So how did the family end up making Arizona its home and lowering the quality of the state’s gene pool? Well, the family owned Arizona’s biggest daily newspaper, the Arizona Republic, before they sold it to Gannett, which immediately turned it into a comic book in the model of USA Today. (Confession: I used to have a column in the paper.)
The newspaper was instrumental in Sen. John McCain winning his first congressional race and going on to the Senate. A bigwig there wrote puff pieces on McCain, ignoring the sordid background of McCain’s father-in-law, a rich beer distributor who employed McCain in no-show job and funded his campaign. Even worse, the bigwig gave McCain his own column, which McCain used--surprise, surprise-- to write puff pieces about McCain.
The bigwig, who was the godfather of one of McCain’s children, claimed to be a former Air Force fighter pilot and had photos taken of himself in uniform. It was later discovered that the guy had concocted his military service.
Is it possible that McCain, a real fighter pilot, didn’t realize that the guy was a phony? Of course not.
Is it possible that the war hero has the scruples of a snake? Of course. After all, he’s a politician.
Speaking of snakes, let’s return to Ben Quayle.
Senator Jon Kyl, who has an image of a statesman, has endorsed Quayle. Why would he do that? Let me spell the answer: M-O-N-E-Y. The Quayle family has given substantial campaign contributions to Kyl over his career, but Ben Quayle’s opponent, a man of modest means, has not.
Quayle and his opponent are running campaign commercials in which each of them claims to be the real conservative. “I’m the real conservative,” says one of them. “I’m the real conservative,” says the other. Basically, that’s the extent of their platforms.
It’s just as bad in the Republican primary race to replace Kyl in the U.S. Senate. One candidate is Jeff Flake, an incumbent congressman who is probably the most libertarian member of Congress next to Ron Paul. The other candidate is Wil Cardon, the owner of several Subway sandwich shops.
Cardon rails against “career politicians” as he spends millions of his own money trying to become a career politician. In other words, he spouts more baloney than he sells in his sandwich joints. Amazingly, many voters seem to like baloney.
Both Cardon and Flake claim to be the real conservative. They’re like Miracle Whip claiming to be the real mayonnaise. (Confession: I used to like Flake until he started calling my home.)
I don’t have the time or stomach to get into it, but the Democrat primary is just as nauseating. A socialist is running in that primary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an ad in which she claims to be the real conservative.
Oh-oh, I have to sign off now. A tank has pulled up in front of my home and someone is banging on the door.
Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at email@example.com.