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(Dec. 19, 2007)

          Here in teeny-tiny America, teeny-tiny things happen. Teeny-tiny candidates run for office, and teeny-tiny talk show hosts endorse them. People think teeny-tiny thoughts, exclaim teeny-tiny exclamations, and engage in teeny-tiny chicaneries.
          Teeny-tiny yawn.
          In teeny-tiny Iowa, there is something called a caucus. A caucus is a sort of teeny-tiny election, or well, it’s supposed to teeny-tiny be. It’s meant to be a kind of semi-organized thingy where people get into small groups and pick a pack of pickled peppers, or a pose, or a person. There’s not much difference.
          In teeny-tiny Iowa, though, the caucus is a strange and expensive war in which fatuously monied humans spend bankfulls of bills on media, hawking themselves like Depends and Lite Days. This is known as a “campaign for the presidency,” the presidency being a fairly grand office before the last five or six presidents made it teeny-tiny.
          But back to media.  Media are thunderstrikingly miraculous means of transferring information---television, the Internet, Oprah’s mouth---that are almost always used in teeny-tiny fashion. Humans love to do this. They love to invent something really clever, genius-clever, and then they like to use it for Britney Spears and Doo-Wop Reunion Concerts.
          So in the teeny-tiny Iowa caucus, candidates are trying to manipulate seratonin levels in the heads of voters, using these media miracles. Once upon a time this was done by giving housewives free laundry soap and nylon stockings. Now it is done by making little Orwellian propaganda movies. That’s because, as all the demographers and pundits and “political advisors” love to say, today’s audiences are sophisticated. They need million-dollar commercials about how Hillary is a good little daughter and Mommy, and Barack is a (milk) chocolate version of Kennedy---in order to become informed.
          Which brings me to Lewis Carroll.  
          Carroll never lived to witness a modern Iowa caucus, but he didn’t have to. He knew it was barmy, blunderbuss, bamalamadingdong. In chapter three of “Alice in Wonderland,” which is a much more sensible and important document than The Bible, the Dodo decides that all the various denizens of Wonderland should have a “Caucus-Race,” the rules of which are to run around in a circle. (Har.) In the end, Alice gives them all little prizes, and the Dodo presents her with a token of appreciation: a thimble. Then Alice somehow upsets everyone, and is left on her own again. You know, like Hillary.
          Carroll loved and venerated absurdity, correctly realizing that it is the starting point in human affairs, yet it is a vexing question as to whether he could have anticipated teeny-tiny America. For here, absurdity is much too mild and quaint a descriptor. Absurdity in teeny-tiny America would be an improvement, as it would at least offer a bit of irony, amusement. But no. Things here have evolved well beyond absurdity and into a great big hanging, slavering tongue of stupid impossibility. A slack-jawed fat-lipped giant-earlobed droopy eyelidded puddle of dumb.
          To witless: the major issues in the Repugnican “Caucus Race” seem to be: 1) Is the earth 6,000 years old? 2) Is Darwin’s theory of evolution blasphemy? 3) Should the Bible be part of biology class? 4) Does Constitutionally guaranteed freedom extend to those who do not join organized religions? 5) Is Jesus Christ the son of God?
           To quote Frank Zappa, as you all know I love to do, “You need an ark to survive the drool.” I mean, big psychedelic day-glow Hendrix-guitar-backed “HUH?” This makes the Democraps---the cokehead, the Clinton, and the cracker---look elevated. So I turn to another American philosopher, Chubby Checker, who asks this salient question, in his deceptively profound 1962 hit song, “The Limbo Rock:"
          “How lowwww can you gooooo?”
           This low:
          Crazed Jesus Jokers are running for president---and getting huge crazed Jesus Joker support---at a moment when the country is bankrupt, hated the world over, engaged in permanent occupation of the Middle East, outsourced nearly to the point of Depression, full of sick people who can’t afford medicine (and others whose HMO’s deny them medicine because it is not FDA-approved), in the grips of fear and paranoia over: terrorism, corporate tyranny, Paris Hilton, and the Hollywood writers’ strike.

"What is a caucus-race?" said Alice.

          Teeny-tiny Mitt “The Mormon” Romney, evidently named for a baseball glove, has the jaw of a bear trap and the black eyes of a rat. His speech cadence gives him an inside shot at a career as a Disney audio-animatronic. His religion actually succeeds in being crazier, if (so far) less lethal, than radical Islam, and religion, folky-wolkies, is the centerpiece of his campaign for prezboy. The assertion that Jesus and Satan were brothers is actually one of the more thought-provoking and poetic notions of Mitt’s “faith,” if hardly deliberately so. Mitty, see, believes that there were millions o’ gods at one time, playing croquet with the planets, or something, and somehow or another they wound up with just one, a white-bearded god named Eloise or something like that, and he has more wives than Rudy Giuliani and Larry King combined, see, and they screw like bunny rabbits on Viagra and have billions of “spirit children,” and. . .
          Guess where these spirit children end up? That’s right---in human bodies, in their very own home built specially for them by Eloise: Earth!
          And people laugh at Scientology. The big difference between the two is that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote better science-fiction. I mean, hell’s bells, people, Mormonism could have been written by Lewis Carroll.
          It gets teenier.
          Mitt The Mormon made a little speech last week that all the teeny-tiny American press dutifully covered as if it were Kennedy’s “Ask Not. . .” invocation, and as near as I can tell, nobody but Frank Rich in the NYT pointed out that Mitt has declared war on The Rip Post. See, the RP is “secular.” This means that the RP editorial bored, er, board, does not allow its religious ideologies, or lack of same, to color the tone and content of The Rip Post. (Except, that is, to absolutely denounce and excoriate most organized religions for the grief and death they have wrought for centuries, beginning with Christianity, whenever possible.) Get this: Mitty not only exempted from “freedom” Americans who do not practice a religion, but he said there is a conspiracy out there that is. . .
           “. . .intent on establishing a new religion in America---the religion of secularism.”
          Hello, is Alice there? I have a message for the Dodo. The Unitashtase (Bush pronunciation) was founded on secularism. Thass raht, boss, separation o’ church ‘n’ state. Freedom o’ religion. No imposition by the guvment of any particular religious science-fiction on any citizen. This is secularism, or less ominously, secularity. Mitt prefers the “ism” version, of course, ‘cause it sounds like good ol’ communism. My, how the right wing misses the commies. Run fer yer wives! Them commies---I mean, secularies---is a-comin’, with fluoride fer the water and godless hedonism fer yer kids!
          Give that man a thimble.
          Funny that the commie-fearin’ Amerryguns have never figured out that the “godless hedonism” they feared was spread by capitalism---or, as I’m fond of putting it, capitalism amok, capitalism without conscience. When godless Reaganomics found a strange bedfellow in the form of lowest-common denominator dumbed-down TeeVee, that was all she wrote. Which takes us down a little tangential path, kiddies, to the home, or homes, of one Henry Kravis. Ever hear of Henry? Probably not. Well, he owns four or five spreads that Louis the Fourteenth would have found tres bien, some in locations that would have stopped Ansel Adams in his tracks. Vasco de Gama could have circum-navigated the grounds of these estates in no less than a year. 
         Kravis is one of the teeniest-tiniest of Americans. He is so teeny-tiny that his humanity is no longer detectable by modern science. He is a founder of KKR, one of these “private equity” companies, “private equity” being a confusing way of saying “steal your underwear right off your ass.” The U.S. Steal Corporation. He's Robin Hood, backwards. He’s a hypertrophic version of one of these bubbas who “makes a killing in real estate” by buying up foreclosures. You know how it works: KKR takes over public companies using fairy-tale amounts of borrowed cash, pays it off by: selling the company assets, firing most of the employees, and cutting the benefits for those left. Today, in teeny-tiny America, this is called “capitalism” and “free market economy” and “just doing business.”
          Kravis is one of the many reasons, along with Diebold’s touch-screen voting, that “representative democracy” in this country---never exactly a textbook reality---is now all but a ghost. He is an earl in the Corporatocracy, which is now almost the sole influence and determiner of government and media policies.
            Of course, Kravis and his ilk are part of the reason for the Night of the Jesus Dead that is sweeping our grate nashum. Mitty et. al, see, are out to “restore morality” to the country (as if, yawn, there is any consensus on morality) by getting everyone to wear Ten Commandments T-shirts (or, if Mitty gets in, Magic Mormon Underpants) and maybe putting statues of Jesus in every McDonald’s, school, and courthouse. But uh. . .didn’t Bush say he was going to do that---restore morality, I mean? After Wild Bill offended Jesus by spilling his seed on Monica’s dress? Hmmm. . .guess wiping out a million Iraqis didn’t cut it on the morality scale. Never mind that Moral Mitty is nearly as rich as Kravis (he just bought Clear Channel Radio!) while schoolteachers can’t get paid in L.A.. . .
         But enough about these guys. They're no fun. Let's instead examine the teeniest-tiniest of the candidates for presidunce, and that would be the man who was recently the biggest-hugest, before he dropped a hundred pounds.
          Mike Huckabee looks like something drawn by the late great Mad Magazine artist Don Martin. The inside of his head is low-rent Dali, American-style. Imagine the things floating around there, pinballing from convolution to convolution, drifting, zinging, melting: giant turkey dinners, pies, Jesus, Keith Richards, Grand Funk Railroad, Jesus, illegal latino aliens, Satan, rape victims seeking abortions, Jesus, Carl’s portabello mushroom burgers, marathons, bass-guitars, stray dogs hanged by the neck till dead, Jesus, monkeys, Gordita Supremes, Metamucil, the White House, Jesus. . .
          Huck is a Rolling Stone-lovin’, bass-playin’, marathon-runnin’ man o’ Christ who gets his back up at the suggestion that humans are related to damned dirty apes, and believes that the earth was whipped up 6,000 years ago by “God” because this couldn’t have happened by accident. Huck claims that his religion will have nothing to do with the way he governs, yet once blocked an abortion for a retarded rape victim (nice, secular thing to do, there, Mikey.) He also happens to think that declaring war on “Islamic extremism” is the top priority of the next prez, which leaves me thinking that Armageddon outta here if he’s elected. Oh, but Huck speaks ever-so-gently, just the way you want your undertaker to sound when you are handling the difficult task of arranging for the final resting place of a loved one. On top of all that, the man used to be a thieving con playing upon human weakness and fear for big money, which is to say, a televangelist. Let us prey.
          That’s right, the Unitashtase just might elect a former televangelist as prez. (Zappa warned you!) The Huckster is riding high in the polls, hit the covers of Time, Newsweek (which has the article about how he once fired an aide for not helping to cover up the fact that Huck's Boy Scout son hanged a stray dog, just for fun) and the New York Times Sunday Magazine (which, astoundingly, gave him a free-ride puff piece.)
          And the voters set their teeny-tiny jaws and scratch their teeny-tiny chins, and think with their teeny-tiny brains, hmmm. . .he seems like a good, Godly man. . .and just because I disagree with him on one issue, like oh, that the earth wasn’t created 6,000 years ago, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t vote for him. . .and well, how do we know when the earth was created---these scientists think they’re God. . .and like Huck says, I’ll take God over science every time. . .and he says he’ll keep religion out of governance, and I take him at his word because he’s a Godly man of God. . .And we need a Godly man of God. . . And the teeny-tiny media pundits and players straighten their trendy pink or lime-green ties, and weigh in about the Huckabee “surge,” and “how it plays with Christian and non-Christian voters,” ignoring---ignoring---the 72-point bold banner headline: MAD PREACHER TO BECOME PREZ?
          Can you imagine if it came out in the 1960 election that JFK did not believe in evolution? Can you imagine the drunken parties at Nixon’s house? How fast would the Democraps have dropped JFK? Faster than Huckabee disappears a slice of Baked Alaska. Faster than Hillary says “cocaine” in reference to Obama.
          But that was long ago, back before America became teeny-tiny.

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