Scallywag Circus

     It’s primary season across the country, which means everyone who has about ten extra seconds to look at a television between now and sometime later this summer or early fall will see raging egomaniacs use twenty second sound bites to attack an opponent’s credibility / patriotism / morals / truthfulness. Here in Florida, political newcomer Rick Scott and grizzled partisan vet Bill McCollum are locked in a heated battle for the chance to run for governor. The results have been predictably horrible.
     Scott made a fortune as a founder of Columbia/HCA, the nation’s largest health care company. He was ousted from the company back in the mid-1990s while the company was in the midst of a massive investigation regarding Medicaid and Medicare fraud. The investigation culminated in Columbia/HCA paying a total of $1.7 billion in fines and civil claims.
     Since then he’s been running a private investment firm out of Naples. His ads began appearing several months ago. He has a distinctive bald head, pretty skinny, looks like a greyhound. His campaign motto is “let’s get to work,” premised on the idea he’s going to run government like a business (that’s an original thought, by the way).
     As an aside, can we please pass a constitutional amendment banning all candidates for public office from claiming they’re going to change the way government works, and banning them from claiming they’re going to go to Washington / Tallahassee / Austin / Sacramento / Lincoln / insert your state capital here to clean the place up? Memo: it’s not going to happen no matter what you do. Please don’t insult our collective intelligence any further, it’s already under assault from network and cable television, radio, and the current events section at Borders.
     As a further aside, can we please pass a constitutional amendment requiring candidates for public office to air commercials where they’re shown talking earnestly to a group of citizens during a voice over. Nothing could be more patently false, unless the footage comes unedited, which would most likely reveal the candidate asking those people for money.
     McCollum is the current attorney general, one of the yahoos suing the federal government over the health care act passed earlier this year. He served in Congress for 20 years before taking some time off from politics, courtesy of a losing bid for an open Senate seat. In 2007 he won election as the state’s AG, where he subsequently used over $120,000 in state money to hire an anti-gay psychologist to defend the state’s absurd gay-adoption ban, testimony which was discredited by the circuit court because of the expert’s “strong ideological and theological convictions.”
     So these two jokers are into each other pretty good just about every time I turn on the television. It’s assassination politics of the highest order. The current batch of ads claim either that Rick Scott made a fortune off of providing abortions, or that Bill McCollum is too soft on illegal immigration because he didn’t get the text of the controversial Arizona statute tattooed on his back in four point font.
     Florida is a closed primary state, so I can’t vote in the Republican primary. Normally, if one choice was clearly superior, I’d switch parties, vote in the primary, and then switch back. But watching these two jackasses try to out-conservative each other (when did conservatism exist almost exclusively of abortion, health care, and illegal immigration?) while eating dinner has convinced me neither one of them would be good in the governor’s office.
     I couldn’t tell you what the races in South Carolina, Texas, California, Nevada, etc. are like, but I know they’re all the same. Two or three people who’ve probably never physically met paying exorbitant amounts of money to twist a voting record or misconstrue a stray statement made twelve years ago or take something so far out of context as to border on libel.
     And politicians wonder why everyone hates them.

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