Terminates Family Values
By Stephen Watson
Drunk driving. Compulsive gambling. Underage drinking. Is
this the standard Republicans had in mind when they began
shoving "family values" down our collective throats during
In the 90s, you couldn't walk past a TV without creeps like
Newt Gingrich or Bill Bennett wagging a crooked schoolmarm
finger in your face and croaking something about "family values".
Everywhere you went there was talk of family values and the
lack of such among those of us who supported President Clinton.
Liberals, the schoolmarms warned, had no family values.
Neither did single moms, non-Christians, homosexuals, and
anyone who disagreed with Ralph Reed. It seemed Republicans
were never going to shut up about family values, at least
not while a Democrat was president.
But a lot has changed since the "weak and decadent past,"
as Bush recently dubbed the most prosperous decade in our
history. Gingrich, the Elvis of Family Values, has long since
traded in his cancer-stricken wife for the newer model he
was seeing on the side. And it turns out much of the cash
Bill Bennett earned from his virtuous books has been compulsively
pumped down the not-very-virtuous slot machines of Sin City.
Now the man the morally-superior Right chose to restore
dignity to the White House has a history of coming up short
in the area of wholesome values. Having been nailed for driving
while intoxicated, George Bush is the only convicted criminal
to be sworn in as president of the United States. During his
presidential campaign, questions arose over his alleged cocaine
use in the seventies, and Bush refused to answer any of them.
Most recently, the man who would restore character to the
White House has been caught bald-faced lying about weapons
of mass destruction to scare Americans into supporting a chaotic
and bloody occupation of Iraq.
And let's not forget daughters Jenna and Barbara... living,
walking, drinking proof that the apple never passes out far
from the tree. Who can read of the Bush twins' wild adventures
and not grasp the damage that is wrought by parents who lack
decent, wholesome values?
But if the right wing jury remains out (pumping slot machines?
someone's wife?) with regard to the Bush family's inability
to channel The Waltons, they've skipped town completely on
the subject of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Where are the right's moral shock troops now that the newest
representative of the Republican party is a gangbanging, woman-groping,
pot enthusiast? Don't they realize that fielding a moral meathead
like Schwarzenegger nullifies every claim the GOP has made
as the supposed party of family values?
Wherever they are, they couldn't care less. Winning California
is everything to the GOP these days; "Family values" is just
a ratty old strawman they trotted out to keep the extra chromosome
crowd in the red states smiling. And really, who cares about
pandering to those simpletons when the party's got them sewn
up anyway? At the end of the day, when the choice is made
between defending the downhome, country values to which they
pay empty lip service, or shuffling into Sacramento on the
back of a flashy, Hollywood grope artist, it's no contest.
The Ingles family will be walking the plank.
So if there is a silver lining to Arnold's candidacy, it's
that family values is now officially a dead issue for the
finger-wagging schoolmarms of the GOP. The rest of us should
never hear that crass, empty phrase from any of them ever
At least until a Democrat is president.
Stephen Watson is somewhere near Golden, Colorado.