Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fun with Republicans

It's always amusing to get my election pamphlet in the mail. I often wind up reading the pamphlet several times before the election. It's not so much that I find city politics so fascinating; rather, it's the entertainment factor in seeing decades-old political grudges being re-displayed in public. The last two elections have seen ballot measures explicitly targeting the mayor (last election) and a city supervisor (this election), who, not coincidentally, was the author of the previous ballot measure. Funny how that happens.

Invariably, the same groups and people wind up squaring off in the pamphlet's hallowed pages. Anything the San Francisco Democrats support, the Republicans oppose. If the Sierra Club likes it, the Citizens against Waste hate it. If the Mayor likes it, there are sure to be at least a few Supervisors that want it dead. And so on. (To be fair, at least some of these groups are shell games, which you can recognize when you see the same names repeating over and over.)

Anyway, my favorite part is reading the arguments from the city's Republican party. Not that I always disagree with them. In fact, these days, and this is a scary admission, I actually find myself agreeing with them on a few points, at least at the local level- a lot of the things on the ballot these days are stupid, self-serving and pointless, city management sucks, and I'm becoming increasingly suspicious and annoyed with all the politicians who talk a lot and don't seem to get anywhere (this, incidentally, also applies to the federal level). But the funny part is that, for whatever reason, the Republicans seem to have the most emotional, out of left right-field, just-plain-hysterical, arguments in the election pamphlet.

You want examples, of course. Here is one from a Republican opposing a 2005 proposition to ban military recruiters in public schools:

Unfortunately, our city and neighborhoods are saturated with American citizens and ungrateful non-citizens intent on sabotaging Democracy [sic] as defined in the U.S. Constitution.

It is apparent they are determined to re-write democracy ala anarchy style. It is interesting, however, that these traitors disguised as Americans are the first to invoke the rights protected by U.S. Constitution to dismantle our nation's security. Ironic!

Anarchy style? Is that like kosher style?

My favorites all come from the same guy, a fellow named Terrence Faulkner. Dr. Faulkner, who insists on being called a Dr. though he should technically just be called Esq., has a great love of hyperbole and a mild obsession with Abraham Lincoln. Join me, won't you, in a little retrospective?

Faulkner in 2007, writing against re-opening horse stables in Golden Gate Park:

Golden Gate Park was designed by a great American, supporter of Abraham Lincoln, writer and abolitionist Republican... Frederick Law Olmstead... Well-designed landscape, he argued, had a civilizing effect on human beings...Olmstead disliked European metropolitan parklands, often aristocratic racetracks. He would have hated Golden Gate Park's Horse Stables.

...John McLaren, who dominated Golden Gate Park until 1942, fought to keep the Park rural. He disliked the Horse Stables and the SF Board of Supervisors' frequent "gifting" of monuments, which he quickly surrounded with hedges. Many SF Park and Rec executives loathed the politically-imposed Park Stables, including the late General Manager Jack Spring (our family's nextdoor neighbor), and my father, Charles Faulkner.

So... Olmstead didn't like horse tracks, and previous park managers didn't like statues. And who would know better than Dr. F, since he lived next door to one. Brilliant.

Even better was Faulkner's response to a 2006 proposal for the city to pass a nonbinding resolution (sound familiar) to impeach Bush and Cheney. See if you can spot the point where Dr. F's brain takes a holiday:

Islamic Terrorists know weakness and appeasement when they see them. Bush is not the first wartime President to be insulted and mocked. Lincoln got worse, admits [historian] Shelby Foote: "The inadequate, inept... bumpkin Abraham Lincoln was called not only a fool but a coward."

Cartoonists had fun with Honest Abe during the Civil War. They drew "fugitive sketches of Lincoln with his hair on end, the elongated figure surrounded by squiggles to show how he quaked" as he ran from the threats of the (eventually successful) pro-Confederate assassins.

Take-away message: Dr. F likes Civil War histories, and will skew any discussion so it involves Abraham Lincoln. He must be a lot of fun at parties.

But wait, there's more! Dr. F actually wrote ANOTHER rebuttal to the same proposition. Just in case you weren't convinced by his first one.

On its merits, this impeachment resolution is unjustified. An impeachment resolution against Democrat James Buchanin [sic]- generally rated as our worst U.S. President (1857-1861) would have been more justified... far more.

Buchanin's mistakes helped bring about the American Civil War. His ardently pro-slavery Vice-President- John C. Breckenridge- later became a Confederate General. Next to Buchanin and Breckenridge, Bush and Cheney are innocent lambs.

The best part of Dr. F's totally off-topic rant about yet another President that lived and died over a century ago? The guy he's talking about- and presumably looked up to get the details of his years in office- spelled his name BUCHANAN. Though I do like the idea of retroactively impeaching dead Presidents many decades after the fact. (Sort of like a mock trial?)

So this brings us to this season's election pamphlet. I eagerly opened it and flipped until I spied Dr. F's latest and greatest. How could he top random references to the Civil War and recommendations to impeach dead politicians? As expected, the good Doctor Lawyer did not disappoint. For your consideration, enjoy these two bits of nuttiness against the city changing its charter to specify it really, really wants to get women and minorities on city boards and commissions, and collecting semi-annual reports to see how they're doing:

The Attic Highwayman Procrustes would have loved Prop D.

In Ancient Greek mythology there was a legendary highwayman of Attica named Procrustes. He tied his victims to an iron bed. Procrustes stretched or cut off the legs of his victims to make them conform to the length of the Procrustean Bed. The hero Theseus... slew Procrustes by attaching him to his own Procrustean Bed.

...Prop D would have the Commission on the Status of Women prepare regular reports on "bean counting" the ethnic, religious and sexual orientation of City board and commission appointees. At best, these reports would just be a waste of time and money. At worst, because of the influence of "bean counting", many inferior appointees might well be chosen to create artificial statsistical models that almost never occur in nature.

Vote against bean counting.

Wow. First, apparently the Doc has been reading Greek mythology lately. Second, what's with the "never occur in nature" line? What definition of nature is he using? It sounds like he's saying that blacks, asians, white people and gays almost never cluster together in "the wild." And I like that the newest version of poisoning the well involves classic villains of antiquity. It sure is a nice change from, "You know who you're like? Hitler."

Anyway, it gets better. Faulkner's second argument repeats most of the same stuff (snipped for, well, repetitiveness), but has a few more choice bits.

Endless reports and investigations don't promote "diversity"- that only costs money and promotes "tokenism"- the only answer is to make top quality appointments from all communities... Prop D is bad government and "tokenism" walking around the City of SF- insulting just about every community.

...Prop D just calls for endless "bean counting" and for individuals to be appointed without regard to their personal qualifications.

The ill-fated General Custer, if he were to come back from the dead, might meet a number of demographic categories: Would we want to put him in charge of a high-risk Police or Fire Dept unit? Think carefully about all those textbook military mistakes made at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Got that? A commitment to diversity (which I do think is silly) automatically leads to tokenism (wrong) which is disproved by the fact that it would require us to resurrect the ghosts of dead Indian Fighters to run the Fire Department. (Hilarious.) Incidentally, Shiksa Girlfriend wants to know exactly which under-represented demographics General Custer fulfills. Is it dead white men? The military? Long-haired hippies? We're just curious.

They really need to have more elections around here. Can't the SF Republicans just start a blog so I can be entertained by their rants all the time?

1 comment:

hesh said...

Good post and sometimes I am scared to admit that I agree with some things Republicans say- though its becoming rarer these days.

I never knew the word tokenism was real. Maybe they can make the word "gadolism" a real word as well.