From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 9/22/2012 5:06:35 AM
Subject: VEEP - Sept 22
Alben Barkley, Harry Truman’s vice president, was the first person to be called “Veep”; the word was coined by Barkley’s nine - year - old grandson and later picked up by NBC News, where it became part of the title for a short - lived (thank God) TV show.
Al Capp of “Li’l Abner” fame almost named one of his satirical characters “Veep”. But upon meeting the real flesh and blood Vice President in Truman’s Oval Office, the cartoonist said, “There’s no way I could mock that illustrious fellow.” Instead, he named his character “The Shmoo”.
Now that Mitt Romney has finally picked someone (albeit a most unlikely candidate) with whom to share his presidential ticket, I may have to revise my no - vote stance of a few weeks ago. Perhaps. I am not yet sure.
I find it difficult to speculate at this point how effective Rep. Paul Ryan can be. He is very young, and his political experience and leadership barely tested (and then under contrived circumstances); it has been minimal at best. His congressional acumen leaves much to be desired.
I am not at all certain his selection was based on anything more substantial than expediency. “Gimme a warm body — somebody good looking enough to be my son.” Ryan apparently filled the bill.
On the surface it appears to have been a case of anybody would do, provided he has the ability to fill a bucket with warm piss.
Of course, what else is the value of a vice - president?
True, we lucked out with Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, but where would we be if Spiro Agnew, Dan Quail or Dick Cheney had, through some sad circumstance, inherited the White House? I cannot stop shuddering long enough to think about it!
Perhaps that is what gives me the greatest pause. A loose cannon like Romney is bad enough (he is already at odds with his own party’s platform), but supposing — just supposing — he is elected and then through some quirk of fate Paul Ryan gets the Big Time nod?
It is bad enough we had another young body - builder bending the potential chief executive ear over senior entitlements he has neither the maturity nor the need to understand, but what dire predicaments would we face were he ever confronted by domestic or foreign debacles such as beset his predecessors?
‘Tis a consummation devoutly not to dwell on!
I recall well the day in the winter of 1965 (the winter of my discontent) when two acquaintances called on me in my suburban home to inquire if I would like to invest in and be rewarded with the presidency of a new travel agency. My first question was, who would be my vice - president? When I was told it might well be either or both of my acquaintances, I should have run for the hills. So much for hindsight.
As it turned out ten years later, I was compelled to sell my interest in the agency when it should have been a monument to success and achievement. Of course, my constituency may claim otherwise.
The same may be the future of this land if a Romney/Ryan ticket succeeds, and I cannot allow myself to be part of it. Barack Obama has a great deal to account for, and he has not been the sort of FDR or John Kennedy we deserved and had hoped for, but when you measure all elements of his office by the standards of performance we expected against what was accomplished, he has done greater than an admirable job.
I suppose it really will not make much difference anyway if Mitt Romney et al inhabit the White House, but a woman who votes for Romney aint much of a woman after all; a man a fool. We will still have a huge national debt, congress will get little if anything done, unemployment will remain between 7 and 11%, and our economy will drag on in a monstrous place.
Is it time to seek a change? Should we venture forth into an abyss from which no nation or people have ever emerged? Is this the moment we have waited for? And, truly, is our general position as a world power undergoing a destructive metamorphosis from which we will never otherwise recover? Are we, after all, just a modern day Roman Empire and about to collapse?
I do not know for sure if my Primary Lateral Sclerosis has affected my speech or my thinking processes, but the other day our friend in Canada called to inquire what I thought of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP nominating convention.
“Not much,” I told her. “It was full of hyperbole and unsubstantiated innuendo, non - facts really, general non - specific bull shit that any high school kid could see was nothing more than expedient propaganda. His speech writers did not do their homework very well.”
Debi, the Canuck, said, “Well, of course, I cannot vote in your silly election, but I do think Clint Eastwood made a fool of himself.”
I laughed at that, and it may be the exact moment I got in trouble. I tried to say Eastwood made a “big horse’s ass of himself,” but I got only as far as “big.” The word became unpronounceable. I stumbled over the “b” to the point where I stuttered it twenty times before it was audible (Colin Firth has nothing on me!)
“He made a b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - b - big horse’s ass out of himself!” I said.
Debi laughed with me. “Yes, he did,” she agreed. “And he is supposed to be an actor!”
“Sorry, I seem to have trouble getting words out. . . He should never have been there and gone on in the first place. Totally inexcusable and out of his element.”
It is, like Mr. Eastwood’s futile attempt, extremely embarrassing when I could not say precisely what I want, and I did not know whether to blame the PLS or not. The neurologist said that the symptoms, though never fatal, were progressive and permanent. There is at the present time no cure or treatment.
“But there is hope,” he reminded me. “Research is being done as we speak that may someday lead to a remedy. Who knows? You are only 81. You may get lucky. After all, it is PLS — not ALS. Count your blessings, you old reprobate!”
I guess he is right. All things considered, I can overlook (as Debi did) my inability to say something as simple as “big” when the alternative is so dismal. All things considered, PLS is not so bad, especially when you think what it could be.
All things considered, though, I would rather not have to consider anything at all. I do not plan to vote for Romney/Rand (God forbid!) nor for Barack Obama (already discussed in previous columns), and I have explained my reasons in candid terms — mainly that Obama does not need me to garner a well deserved second term, and I would not want even a negative vote to be interpreted as a vote against a pair as unsavory as Romney/Rand.
It was Rudy Giuliani who said, “A political speech does not have to be truthful or adequate.” The chairman of the RNC said, “You only have to tell people at a convention what they want to hear.” And Paul Rand himself has stated, “All anyone has to do to get elected is make a speech that plays fast and loose with the truth.” Say what?!?
Mr. Obama does, however, need you and all the party faithful. Come November 6 every red - blooded American needs only to reflect on the miserable deportment of those attending the GOP nominating convention — what they said and why they said it — to do the proper thing.
And if you stop to think about it, there was just enough kool - aid to go around last August in Tampa. Maybe you better do the math — for real.
Should I go ahead and vote on November 6? . . . Maybe. Talk me into it.
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