Owing to lingering fatigue from the debt ceiling debacle and the doting indulgence of our beloved editor, I am presenting the first and perhaps only outing of my road trip roundup. Do not count on seeing this feature ever again.
Our assignment this week takes us first to lovely Buncombe County, NC, then to our nation’s capital and last to points west in both Iowa and Utah. Open the atlas and the beer, roll down the windows and crank up the Craig as we begin our road trip to ruin.
You Know We Can Hear You, Right?
Our first stop is historic Buncombe County, a bastion of learning located at the confluence of Blue Ridge Parkway, Tunnel Road and the Swannanoa River. Just a few beers’ drive from Bojangle’s Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits is the home of former GOP precinct chair and state executive board member Don Yelton, momentarily America’s #1 Racist.
Interviewed flawlessly Wednesday on the Daily Show by Aasif Mandvi, Yelton was refreshingly frank about the true purpose of North Carolina’s new voter ID laws, stating “the law is going to kick the Democrat’s butt.” Comfortably generous with his folksy wisdom, the Plato of Park Ridge waxed poetic with gems such as: “I had a picture one time of Obama sittin’ on a stump as a witch doctor and I posted that on Facebook. I was making fun of the white half of Obama, not the black half;” “Now you have a black person using the term n—– this and n—– that and it’s okay for them to do it;” “If [the law] hurts the whites so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”
Delightful Don Yelton finished his dissertation with the ever popular “Matter of fact, one of my best friends is black,” and despite the nearly instant furor his frankness caused, he remained unrepentant and proclaimed his intention to stand by his word. Sadly, the elegant simplicity of Don’s philosophy was lost on his GOP boss, who fired him Thursday; next time you’re in the hollow, maybe you could sport Don to supper at Bojangle’s.
The C-Span Giveth and the C-Span Taketh Away
Heading north to DC via Old US 11, we find the GOP hard at work trying to “help” the White House get the Affordable Care Act roll-out back on track through Benghazi-style hearings. Led by Rep. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX), GOP House members chose to use a tough love approach like so many doting abusive fathers to save the health care law sacred to them and their moneyed masters.
Allaying the carefully manufactured fears of his Fox-fixated constituents, Barton asked “How in the world can this be HIPAA compliant when HIPAA is designed to protect the patient’s privacy and this explicitly says in order to continue you have to accept this condition that you have no privacy — no reasonable expectation of privacy?”
Barton was joined in his heroic effort by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who offered encouragement to the fledgling health care effort stating “We were promised a website where people could easily compare plans and costs. Five-hundred million dollars later we find that the American people have been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers, except they had to pay the cash and still got the clunker.”
As it turns out, Barton and Murphy have a history of doing whatever is necessary for the good of all, and remain intellectually consistent in this never-ending crusade for the American people. When there were numerous “glitches” in the 2006 roll out of the George W. Bush Medicare Part D prescription drug giveaway bonanza, Barton opined “This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches. My goal is the same as yours: Get rid of the glitches. The committee will work closely with yourself (sic) and Dr. Mark McClellan at CMS to get problems noticed and solved.” This ability to nuance is of course from the man who apologized profusely to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the inconvenience of having to explain the worst petro-chemical disaster in history.
For his part, Murphy also rushed to the defense of his President in 2006, stating “Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches. All of us, when our children were new, well, we knew as parents we didn’t exactly know everything we were doing and we had a foul-up or two, but we persevered and our children turned out well. No matter what one does in life, when it is something new in learning the ropes of it, it is going to take a little adjustment.”
It is speculated that next week, after receiving more paternal guidance from Barton and Murphy during the continuation of Health Care Hysteria Theater, the 21st Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius is expected to assist the gentlemen in securing treatment for their unfortunate amnesia and closed-head injuries.
Jubilation T. Cornpone, a Man Who Knew No Fear
Completing the last leg of our road trip and heading west, we stop in on government shutdown mastermind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his loyal lieutenant and VP hopeful Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). Taking County Road 16 past the Little Bear Bait Shop into Akron, Iowa, we find the Canadian-born Texas Titan of Cuban extraction hunting votes and pheasants in the land of the straw poll and the tall corn.
Despite leading the charge into a GOP desert that shut down the government for 15 days, sucked $24 billion out of the economy, furloughed nearly a million federal employees and turned 64% of the nation against his party, Cruz appeared sanguine. At a Des Moines dinner the night before his guns & ammo photo-op, the junior Senator claimed “One of the things we accomplished in the fight over Obamacare is we elevated the national debate over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much Obamacare is hurting millions of Americans across this country.”
Acknowledging some criticism for the shutdown, Cruz’s hunting host Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stated “There are a lot of people who would like to shoot me and you, I’ve noticed,” proving once again that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, junior Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is taking some hits for his hand-in-hand lovers’ leap with ideological soul mate Cruz. Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, former Lee supporter and fellow Brigham Young alum state Senator Todd Weiler (R) mused “There was lots of thought that he was using the tea party as a vehicle to get elected and once he got in there, he would moderate. Instead, he has doubled down on the far right side of things.”
Also of concern to the faithful is ominous talk from the mysterious Mormon business cabal, now voicing buyer’s remorse and disappointment in Lee, but the newly-minted tea party warrior remains undaunted, stating the shutdown was “a fight worth having, and it was no less worth fighting because the outcome was not certain victory.”
So fellow motorists, what has our road trip this week taught us? That the GOP is an amalgam of feckless opportunists, manipulative millionaires and hapless morons destined for electoral doom, or the saviors of our beloved Republic? Keep the Rand-McNally open, your hands at ten and two and your eyes on the road, while we keep the beer light on for you. Until next time . . . .