[Incidentally, that's the sum total of the clips 8 and 13 ran.
Like they say about the latest SNL alumni flicker: If that's the trailer,
how bad must the actual movie be?]
BEAR in mind, Friends, that the man shown above (actual size) is attempting to stammer out a reaction, not to a political tribunal which has handed down controversial indictments of his cronies, nor a court ruling scaling back his plans to sell the state park system to Weyerhaeuser, nor even a summary judgement declaring his wife is still legally married to her middle husband.
He wasn't thwarted by ecoterrorists, nor the ACLU, nor Democratic "car bombers".
In fact, the man didn't actually lose anything at all, and certainly nothing that affects him directly, now that the shade of Richard Lugar has sent word through the OUIJA board that he'll be running for another term.
No, this is Indiana's Bonzai Governor Mitch Daniels reacting yesterday--at a press conference, not ambushed in his bathrobe as he stepped outside the Governor's Residence (inside joke) to get the morning paper--to word that the Indiana Court of Appeals had ruled Indiana's voter ID law unconstitutional, in a suit brought by The League of Women Voters. The gist of the decision is that the requiring a valid picture ID from voters who go to the polls, but nothing from absentee voters, violates Article I, Section 23 of the state constitution, which prohibits the legislature from granting unequal privileges.
Oopsie. No way to've seen that comin', huh?
It's not as though the blatant inequality was part of the boilerplate. It destroyed the premise of the law. It was much noted, commented upon, criticized, and used to demonstrate that political calculation, not vote security, was at the heart of the thing. If this had been some real world solution to a real world problem, Governor, you'd at least have an answer for the criticism, instead of incoherent indignation. What's preposterous, sir, is the suggestion that no conceivable calculus could possibly unearth any problem with the law.
By the way, that's the 3-0 decision, short pants. That Democrat Who's Been Overturned Before, by Frankly Better Judges, was the one who wrote the opinion.
The gentleman with the combover above, may we remind you, has been repeatedly touted as the great hope of the Republican party for 2012 to come up with a competent, proven leader who can voice a complete thought while giving every impression that he finds cutting taxes a bigger thrill than sleeping with women, foreign, domestic, or metaphorical. So at least they went one-for-two yesterday, since he didn't start pawing Lt. Gov. Becky "Prop" Stillman while the cameras were still rolling. Let us also note that he's had four years to prepare for this court defeat, which any rational person would have at least anticipated, even if he devoutly wished otherwise. Instead Daniels sputters and spittles like a schoolboy whose depantsing on the playground has revealed a pair of his sister's panties. That pathetic little hissy fit is one that Hoosiers have seen over and over from the man, whenever he's challenged, fer chrissakes, whenever someone calls into question the apodictic superiority of his Enormous Brain. Although I must admit that yesterday came as something of a shock, at least to me; his handlers had pretty much kept this sort of thing under wraps ever since his approval ratings nose-dived in his first term.
Not surprisingly, he then Just Made It Worse:
"It would be one thing if this thing had not already been litigated from the bottom up through the federal system, and multiple court rulings — including the Supreme Court of the United States — hadn't already spoken," Daniels said.
Got that? The great hope of the States Rights party, of the End Judicial Activism crowd, thinks that one of Justice Kennedy's recent public flatus episodes should moot a question of Indiana constitutional law for Indiana courts. For fuck's sake, Mitch, the suit was filed almost a year and a half ago. I know you were real busy hiding from the collapse of Indiana's Economic Miracle for much of that time, but couldn't somebody have explained to you what was going on?
And this is the other thing the skeptical observer has noted over the past six years: when the man is pushed he falls into these little wingnut screeds and sorry-assed talking points, like his failed attempt at the Activist Judges Gambit here, not just with zero believability but with scant evidence of fluency. There are ten-thousand internet scribblers in the ten-thousand basements of their ten-thousand mothers who could have extemporized a better attack on the decision, and without having been the ones who signed it into law four years ago. If you've got to sell yourself as The Amazing Colossal Cranium maybe you could start by figuring out a way to avoid extemporizing to the Press while there's a chip on your shoulder. In other words, find a way to avoid extemporizing to the Press.
After five years of his reign, four-and-one-half of them spent sick to death of his megalomania, it's impossible to watch him fumble for words, then come up with worse than nothing, without seeing those uh uh and uhs as Daniels trying to calculate how much wingnuttery he can play out without being arrested for fishing without a license. He's not stupid. But, as I've said before, trying to figure out some core Daniels value, some reason why he's a politician, instead of just another rich guy showing off at his favorite restaurant by sending the wine back, is like staring in the eyes of a chicken. He's like a guy who starts a small business, not to get rich, not for love of his product, but just so he can fire minimum-wage earners at will.
Every so often I'm required to admit that I'm not political pipe-dreamer, that I realize Eugene Debs is never going to be elected Chief of the Hoosiers. I had some hopes for Mitch Daniels, within reason. Yes, he ran a fairly repugnant campaign in 2004, aimed a low blow or two at Joe Kiernan, War Hero, when it suited him. Yes, his campaign was transparently, laughably, insultingly crafted by the worst sort of Lowest-Common-Denominator-market manipulators, with his Jes' Folks RV tour and a plaid shirt that made Lamar Alexander look like an actual lumberjack. But he wasn't a Jebus-humper, and his quick proposal of relieving the state's "deficit"--a one-year surtax on incomes over $150,000--held the promise of a man willing to think outside the envelope. But then that one was shot down by his own party before his secretary had collated twenty-five copies, and the failure of the Democratic minority in both houses to enact his programs by acclamation apparently triggered memories of being crammed in a locker at North Central High, or having that girl in homeroom he dreamed about for four years laugh in his face when he asked her to the Prom. Not that I imagine those are ever far from his conscious mind.
Why are you in politics? Like Nicholson asked John Huston: How much better can ya eat? If you weren't busy serving corporate interests in Indiana do you think they'd go begging? Jesus, Mitch, the Negroes have been voting for several years now--okay, not all of 'em--and you reached high office. With the help of that step stool. Give us a fucking break, huh?