Thursday, June 11, 2015

Roast Hogs, Ride Harleys, and Kill Islamo-Fascists

Presidential candidate Scott Walker alongside Iowa Senator Joni Earnst at the Roast and Ride. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Presidential candidate Scott Walker alongside Iowa Senator Joni Earnst at the Roast and Ride. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
10 June 15
will admit it, I went to the First Annual Roast and Ride, sponsored by our pig-castrating senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, looking for that Michael Dukakis moment. You remember seeing him looking like a fool with his head sticking out of a tank. Well, Scott Walker and Rick Perry didn’t look like fools on their Harleys, and those who would have were smart enough to avoid them. As far as looking like fools, they saved that for the stage. Maybe to the rest of America, they all did a great job appealing to the “bubba” crowd at the Roast and Ride. But do most Americans want “Bubba” in the White House?

What a contrast between the Ernst-sponsored event and the Harkin Steak Fry. To be fair, this was the first Roast and Ride, but if only 1,500 had showed up for a Harkin Steak Fry during a competitive caucus season it would have been a disappointment. In 2007, the last time the Democratic Party presidential nomination was in play, 15,000 people attended the Steak Fry in Indianola. In the final Harkin Steak Fry last year 5,000 people got a full plate of politics that included Hillary Clinton. For 40 years, steaks have filled the grills, but this year it was whole pigs that were roasting. Joni Ernst arrived on her Harley with Scott Walker, leading a roaring group of motorcycles.

A second group of mostly Harleys came from Perry, Iowa, and it was of course led by former Texas governor Rick Perry.A pig being roasted at Joni Ernst’s 1st annual Roast and Ride. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
A pig being roasted at Joni Ernst’s 1st annual Roast and Ride. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN) 
Other than the campaign volunteers and staff, there were not many young people in the crowd. I heard one of Governor Perry’s young volunteers attempt to get a couple of undecided Iowa voters to sign up for updates from the campaign. After they refused to sign, the volunteer asked the man, who was in his sixties, if he carried a gun. The volunteer then announced that he carries a Glock. His tone was pleasant and he said it with a smile. I guess it’s a cultural thing. The couple was not alarmed. If, after I refused to sign something, the volunteer had told me he was carrying a Glock, I might have taken it as a threat, and in some neighborhoods I have lived in, the volunteer might have ended up with a gun pointed at him. 
The crowd was mostly bikers and farmers, and mostly over 50 years old. The candidates seemed to want to focus on what they are against and blame Obama and Hillary Clinton for it. I wonder what would happen if Hillary Clinton were not the Democratic nominee. Republican strategists would have to revise their whole campaign strategy. 
How many of you think the solution to our problems is to increase military spending so we can kill the Muslims? If you had been in Boone, Iowa, on Saturday that is what you would have heard from the seven presidential hopefuls who stood in front of a barn and tractor and made their case to a couple of thousand Iowans enjoying a pig roast. Speaker after speaker blasted Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, immigrants, Islamo-fascists, and taxes.
While some acknowledged that the middle class has been squeezed, none addressed student debt, climate change, or poverty for that matter. They blamed everything on Obama, taxes, immigrants, and Muslims. Their solutions were lower taxes, more war, and kissing Netanyahu’s ass. Oh yeah, they would also like to make you work longer so you can pay more into Social Security. They would stop helping you get health care, because that’s between you and your doctor. Oh and Marco Rubio would “turn the page.” So far, his vision for the next page looks a lot like the pages we’ve seen in the past, but hey, he is the young one – that must count for something.
Let’s start with the biggest losers.

Lindsey Graham
First of all, if I were Senator Charles Grassley I would tell him to stop implying that I’m a cheapskate at every event. I keep hearing Graham tell crowds that the only reason Charles Grassley is in attendance is that there is free food. I know public speaking classes recommend telling a joke or two to break the ice, but Graham takes the stage and tries to be a standup comic, telling bad joke after bad joke. Then he tries to scare you and convince you that only he can protect you.

If you want an all-expenses-paid trip to Iraq or Syria, Lindsey is for you. He wants to send a minimum of ten thousand troops to Iraq. He is going to finish off the Muslims, a project started George W. Bush and abandoned by Obama. You see, America should not be weary of war. If you are tired of war, he is not the candidate for you.

After all, he has been to Iraq and Afghanistan 30 times, according to him. At least this time around he really traveled there. He claimed to be a veteran of the first Gulf War, even though he never left South Carolina. Then he said he never said he was a combatant, and if he had lied about his service he wouldn’t be fit to serve as a member of Congress. Well now, in every stump speech, he makes a big deal about having been to Iraq and Afghanistan 30 times, leaving interpretation of what he did there up the voter. So why doesn’t he tell you that he was a JAG? Maybe because he advised on detainee policy. I guess he isn’t saying he was a combatant, but then again he isn’t saying he wasn’t. That wouldn’t be consistent with his warmongering rhetoric.

I really don’t think Graham wants to talk about what he did in Iraq, especially since he has made public statements that indicate he might have supported torture by US forces and the CIA in Iraq. He told Politico, “The techniques employed after Sept. 11 were in response to fear of another attack. When you roll up some of these guys, you’re very anxious to get out of them whatever you can to prevent the next attack. I understand why people did this.” While Graham said waterboarding violates “what we are about,” he added that it would be “pretty absurd” to limit interrogation techniques to the Army Field Manual and urged that “some latitude” be allowed in questioning detainees. I think it’s safe to say that is not the kind of advice a JAG colonel should be giving.

Graham also uses the Social Security scare card, telling everyone that we are going to have to work longer to save Social Security. He doesn’t tell you that all we have to do is raise the cap on the payroll tax and we can expand Social Security, not cut back on it. And we don’t have to work ourselves to death. Social Security is in great shape everyone, don’t believe the Republican scare machine. 

Rick Perry
He looks at home on a Harley, but if any one of the Republican candidates comes across like a cheerleader expressing phony enthusiasm, it is Perry. A good speaker raises his voice at the key moments and brings the crowd to its feet. Perry just shouts and shouts, with no thought to picking the right moments. Perry is another one who is going to flex America’s muscles. Corporations will get their nonexistent taxes lowered. His phony enthusiasm caused him to deliver his speech so fast that he left a minute or two before he had to. I guarantee the other seven speakers used all of their nine minutes.

So Perry will protect our values and the border. The problems we face are all caused by Mexicans and Muslims, and he is going to protect us. It’s not like the wealth rising to the top and not trickling down is the problem. Mexicans are taking our jobs, and corporations are being taxed too much to hire people. Yup, that’s it Rick – keep following W’s blueprint, the country was in such good shape when he left office.
Okay, so maybe Rick Perry <i>did</i> look foolish. (photo: Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register)
Okay, so maybe Rick Perry did look foolish. (photo: Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register) 
Dr. Ben Carson
Carson is a smart guy, but please tell me how sitting on corporate boards is equivalent to running a country. I agree with him that politics in this country is too adversarial. A candidate for president needs a plan, not just “common sense.” He talks about his philosophy, but he just wants us to trust that he has the common sense to make the right decisions. He always reminds me of someone in an infomercial, everything carefully scripted to sell, sell, sell. He will defend Christian values and fight the Muslims too.

We really only needed to hear one speech and then just imagine all of them saying it in their own style. There really was not much difference in any of these candidates. 

Mike Huckabee
Mr. Fair Tax. Hold onto your wallet – we are all going to pay the same tax rate under Huckabee. Huckabee is the nationalist in this race. His opposition to the trade deals is a plus, but it comes from his isolationist beliefs. A religious Pat Buchanan, Huckabee will have a tough time gaining traction with Rand Paul in the race. He had his chance eight years ago and couldn’t beat McCain nationally. I don’t see Iowans giving him a boost again. And there was nothing memorable is his speech on Saturday. 

Carly Fiorina
She might have had a good day. I never get the appeal, but the pundits always say she hit it out of the park. All I hear from her is that she is not Hillary Clinton. You see, she rode a tractor in a parade in Story City, and wonders if Hillary ever rode a tractor that wasn’t a photo op. Hello? It’s not like you plowed a field, Carly. The parade was a photo op. Fiorina also has met world leaders and done business with them. She didn’t just pose for pictures with the world leaders. Hello? The secretary of state just poses for pictures with world leaders? Fiorina is a businesswoman who, like George W., knows how to run a company into the ground. Hewlett Packard paid her off to get as far away from her as they could. She is a walking contradiction. Some think she is running a great campaign. I just don’t get it. 

The Winners

Marco Rubio
At first glance he is different from the rest, but as you listen closely, he is just packaging the same old failed Republican policies in a shiny new way. He stands out as someone who will appeal to Republican voters looking for something new. He talks about turning the page, but to me he is turning the pages backward. Many Republicans in Iowa don’t know him yet, and I heard many say that he impressed them and they are giving him a chance to introduce himself. He gets points for not accepting Joni Ernst’s offer to ride in on the back of her bike – that would have been the Dukakis moment I was looking for.
Senator Marco Rubio hasn’t been in Iowa often, so he had a lot to gain on Saturday. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Senator Marco Rubio hasn’t been in Iowa often, so he had a lot to gain on Saturday.
(photo: Scott Galindez/RSN) 
Donald Trump
Wait, he wasn’t there. His volunteers were though, and they were inviting everyone to a launch party in Des Moines on the 16th. Maybe it was a good thing he wasn’t there: it was very windy, and I don’t think The Donald’s hair would have held up. 

Scott Walker
Iowa is Walker’s to lose. Wisconsin is where Harley engines are made, so riding a hog to a pig roast was an event made for Walker. He did face a tough question before the ride, and he told MSNBC that he would not rule out a large invasion of Iraq. The question was the result of Lindsey Graham being so focused on the issue, which is forcing the other candidates to take positions they would rather avoid. Jeb was at Barbara Bush’s birthday party, so Walker had the day to solidify his lead over Bush in Iowa. The Republican field is crowded, but let’s be real – some of them will compete in Iowa, like Huckabee and Santorum, but nationally there is a top tier: Walker, Bush, Cruz, and Rubio will at some point emerge as the four with a shot at the nomination.

So Walker riding alongside Ernst had the best photo op. He played it safe from the stage and sounded like the front runner. He even staked a favorite-son claim, pointing out that he had lived in Iowa while his father was a Baptist preacher in Plainfield. His father being a preacher in Iowa is icing on the cake. I think Walker will win Iowa and is the front runner nationally. Labor had better get ready, their worst nightmare is poised to be the Republican nominee.
Scott Walker, leader of the pack? (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Scott Walker, leader of the pack? (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN) 
Well, that about sums it up. Walker and Rubio had the best days. I didn’t hear any pigs squeal, but they were being roasted whole on the grill. At least they weren’t roasting donkeys. Should I have said that? I don’t want to give Steve King any ideas.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

+29 # CAMUS1111 2015-06-10 12:25
Sorry, the biggest losers were the poor hogs themselves that had to be butchered for these gop'er candidate right wing extremist pigs

+23 # Jayceecool 2015-06-10 17:24
I wouldn't count out any of these bozos, because the American electorate is retarded...

+20 # ericlipps 2015-06-10 17:30
What it comes down to is that they went whole hog and showed the world what swine they are.

+29 # jon 2015-06-10 17:33
Of course they all made the same speech.

When you owe fealty to the Koch brothers, you will have your "funds" cut-off if you stray from your orders.

It is very simple.

+13 # dhusic 2015-06-10 17:35
Thanks for the sad news update.
+19 # pietheyn07 2015-06-10 18:07
Does the GOP candidates barrel have no bottom?

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