I remember watching a program on C-SPAN a few years ago on which appeared the late syndicated columnist Molly Ivins. She was relating her experience covering Texas politics during the shootout at Waco, a miserable affair between the Feds and the Branch Davidians. She said that she got calls from all over the world, from New Delhi, from Indonesia and elsewhere asking what it all meant. “Well, what can I say?” she said, “They’re all as crazy as a bunch of shit-house rats”. Somehow Molly could always get to the core of it; and somehow she managed to cover Texas politics and still keep her sense of humor. Here’s looking at you, Molly Ivins. We miss you.
In order to win Texas and grab the brass ring, the Marshall felt compelled to meet the patriarch of the Bush Dynasty. But it appears that in order to gain the blessing of the old man acts of groveling and depravity were in order. Those close to the family tell tales of drunkenness and whoring ending in a nasty altercation in which ‘Ol Pappy, took the Marshall out to the outhouse behind the mansion and bitch-slapped him into endorsing the miserable legacy of his son. As he was about to leave he grabbed the brass ring that had been left by “Ol Two-Cows’ hanging over the Sears catalogue and threw it down one of the holes. “There”, said the old man, “If you want the prize bad enough, you know were to get it”. “And, oh by the way", "the old man sneered, "you’re gonna put Jeb on the ticket with you." With that he closed the door leaving the Marshall with the miserable task of squeezing through the hole and descending into the stinking mess that Pappy’s son had left behind.
It is difficult to describe how incredibly debasing this has all been for John McCain. First he traveled to meet with Jerry Falwell and later Pat Robertson to repair fences. In one of his frequent moments of lucid honesty, he called them the ‘voices of intolerance’. Now it was held that in order to be cleansed of this iniquity he needed to kneel before the regents of the almighty and confess his sins. Falwell acquiesced, and then died. Robertson, claiming that he could still hear the voice of god ringing in his ears, endorsed Giuliani. Now the poor Marshall, visibly shaking with Potomac Fever, finds himself in Texas. The fever will do strange things to a man. Some men are paralyzed by it, they assume the inevitability of their elevation to the Presidency and, fearing any action will cost them the election, resist all attempts at change or reform. Other men, seeing mortal danger at every turn, are apt to overreact to every challenge. With the Huckster still lurking in the weeds and fearing the power of the evangelical wrong, the Marshall descended into the cesspool of Texas’ theology to seek remission of his sins.
What he found in the bowels of the Texas outhouse was not the smiling face of Joel Olsteen, the preacher from the Houston-based Lakewood Church and apostle of joy; nor did he come face-to-face with the Georgian Creflo Dollar another televangelist preaching the dubious doctrine that the lord wants you to be rich. Instead he came face-to-face with the king-hell rat himself, John Hagee. Hagee is a second-generation thumper, founder and senior pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. He has been accused of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and is on record saying that hurricane Katrina was “the judgment of God against New Orleans”. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hagee )
Cable television is an open pipeline through which the sewage of western civilization is pumped daily into one’s living room. When it is not showing soft-core porn on the movie channels it is giving us Jerry Springer or it is inundating us with right-wing swill as in the likes of Glenn Beck, Sean (pronounced SEEN, otherwise he is unacceptably French) Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and a host of other fellow travelers. One must also work ones way through a veritable phalanx of would-be theologians. One evening, a few months ago, I was ‘surfing’ the channels, trying to catch a wave in the cesspool so to speak when I happened upon the Reverend Hagee. I stopped for a few moments as the good reverend was about the business of explaining the Apocalypse and the role of the Anti-Christ in it. He could hold my attention for only a brief very few minutes for when he said that the Anti-Christ would come in the form of an environmentalist….well that’s where he lost me.
The Marshall went down into the pit and embraced Hagee and his ministry, welcoming their support. How this will play later in the campaign as he seeks support from independents, Catholics and environmentalists is unclear. What is clear is that Potomac Fever has unhinged the good Marshall leading him by degrees into a Texas shit house where he now finds himself chest deep in the contents. The Huckster, having no stomach for such abject humiliation, has withdrawn from the race. The Marshall finds himself at last burning with fever and alone with his long sought-after prize. He found the brass ring, but he don’t smell too good.