Democratic Underground

Punk Politics
November 20, 2001
by birdman

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Remember the punk?

The punk was always the guy in high school who strutted around acting like a tough guy. He was always pushy and rude and the older we got the less we thought of him. By twelfth grade we realized that he was probably compensating for some kind of insecurity. After high school the world had little use for the punk and there weren't many socially acceptable outlets for punky demeanors. So most punks submerged their punkishness to get along.

Unreconstructed punks could go into coaching (Bobby Knight is Mr. Punk Universe); some can go into military (after all you get to yell at people, boss them around and they have to take it). But lately many unreformed punks seem to have found their way into conservative politics. It's a good venue for them; push around the poor, the powerless, the welfare mothers. It's the kind of thing they like.

I think it was Dennis Miller who said something to the effect that the typical Rush Limbaugh listener was an ill-tempered assistant manager at a K-Mart who hates his job and takes it all out on the black kid who has to keep the shelves stocked. Perfect. The closet punk gets off listening to Mr. Still-Punky-after-all-these-years.

In recent years conservatives could stock a virtual Punk Hall of Fame:

Tom Delay - used to kill bugs for a living. Bet it made him feel like a real tough guy.

"B1" Bob Dornan - You've seen the guy; screaming, hysterical ex-congressman from California. Lost to a Hispanic woman and claimed for years that he was beaten by busloads of illegals. Proclaimed "family values" to high heaven and actually used to carry a plastic fetus to demonstrate his commitment to the cause but his wife filed for divorce several times claiming physical abuse although she never followed through. Now has a talk show (what else?) Gives punks a bad name.

Bill O'Reilly - Used to be a commentator on one of those "Stay tuned for our exclusive pictures of all the cleavage at the Academy Awards" shows. Lousy gig for a punk. Fox Network allowed him to go back to his roots.

Dick Armey - tried to be a college professor but kept getting caught putting the move on the coeds. Moved on to politics.

Ann Coulter - the punk without an appendage. Outta my way, girlie-men! I've got turban-heads to kill.

Rush Limbaugh - talk shows are almost the perfect punk occupation. You have the microphone and they don't. If they disagree with you with you can verbally push them around. If they're too smart for you just hang up and badmouth them when they can't fight back. Punk heaven.

R. Emmett Tyrell - editor of the late unlamented American Spectator. Acts like a nasty creep even when he's on C-Span.

Sean Hannity - put a $3500 suit on a punk and what have you got? A well-dressed punk.

Freddie "The Beetle" Barnes - slimy little punk wannabe. The Beetle reminds me of one of those short guys who got picked on his whole life but finally gets a job where he has a little authority and makes everyone else pay for punches and insults he took on the playground.

Bob Barr - another guy like Barnes and Delay with a Bonaparte complex. Once actually publicly licked whipped cream off the breasts of a female campaign worker at a rally. I'm sure it was good for his ego.

Pat Buchanan - Tell me this guy didn't have a probation officer when he was in school. Punkus Maximus.

Dick Morris - punks need love too even if it's the toe-sucking variety.

Wes Pruden - the political editor of Reverend Moons paper who writes venom dripping in-your-face commentary is both a punk and a son of a punk. Prudens father was one of those redneck preachers whose god didn't want black kids and white kids to attend the same school. He was also head of the Little Rock White Citizens Council (Klan with suits) during the integration crisis of 1957.

Wars are good for punks, not they do any more fighting than anybody else but it gives them a terrific opportunity to talk tough which is, of course, what punks do best. Megapunk Richard Nixon and his minions disparaged the patriotism and even the masculinity of George Mc Govern during the Vietnam era presidential election of 1972. Of course the fact that Mc Govern was a genuine WWII war hero and Nixon did little more than serve drinks while he was in the Pacific didn't matter. To the punk it's all about the appearance of toughness. The events of September 11 may give us punk politics for the duration.

We might be entering the Golden Age of the Punk.