Thursday, January 13, 2011

I say nice things about Republicans

It’s a measure of President Obama’s humility that he won’t reveal the healing role he played during his visit to Gabby Giffords.
And being a partisan Democrat, I can’t help but wonder what miracles would stem from a Bill Clinton visit.
If Obama can restore vision to traumatic head shot victims (well, sort of), then certainly the sight of Clinton sauntering into intensive care would cause the ladies to spring out of their hospital beds to start applying party make-up.
Say what you want about his politics, but the man’s got charisma.
It’s been five days since the tree of liberty was refreshed by the blood of patriots. Anyone feeling better about it yet?
I have to think that’s one gem Thomas Jefferson wishes he could take back. I can’t imagine he meant the bloodletting to apply to someone like Giffords.
Could she be a more becoming patriot? No fair-minded observer would describe her as tyrannical (the full Jefferson quote applying to blood from both patriots and tyrants).
She is beloved for being collegial, intelligent and even-handed about difficult issues. Sure, she may have favored prudent health care reform, but she was married to an astronaut. That’s so cool.
Is she the kind of patriot to whom Jefferson was referring?
Was 9-year-old Christina Green?
If I may be so bold, I’d like to edit Jefferson to something more in tune with common sensibilities.
It should read: “The tree of liberty is magnificent to behold in all seasons, but it looks best when patriots of all political persuasions come together to nurture it and hang red, white & blue bird feeders from its majestic boughs.”
There! Now, isn’t that better?
Being a liberal I’m, of course, politically correct. Words matter. 
They matter when you’re talking about patriotic bloodlettings, Second Amendment solutions, and emphasizing the need to re-load rather than retreat.
And I hope the ones that matter most are the eloquent ones President Obama spoke in Tucson.
Our 10-year-old daughter had heard vague details about the shootings over the PA system at school. That pleased me. In football terms, the principal there called an audible. He decided on the fly the event was relevant enough to turn into a mini-civics lesson.
I didn’t want her to see the footage of the mayhem, or the demonic pictures of the madman. I didn’t see that doing her any good.
But I wanted her to see how we grieved.
“America suffered a tragedy on Saturday,” I said. “I want you to watch how America heals.”
It couldn’t have been more moving.
From the native American invocation and the steely poise of intern Daniel Hernandez to Obama’s stirring speech, it’s something I’ll never forget.
Of course, it means nothing if we don’t act on his admonition to care more for one another, to civilize our rhetoric and elevate the political discourse.
Let it begin with me.
I’m going to say a bunch of nice things about prominent Republicans I used to blast for knee-jerk reasons.
Because I’m so new at this, please forgive me if some of it sounds sarcastic.
Here goes:
• George W. Bush! -- He was the right man for the right time on 9/11. I felt exactly the way I do now about Obama’s speech in Tucson as I did when Bush spoke after 9/11. The people who know him best all love him. He’s raised two beautiful and vivacious daughters. He loves baseball. He presided over the presidency during extraordinarily difficult times and he didn’t let it defeat himself or the country he loves. He enjoys a good laugh and isn’t one of those childish sorts who can’t laugh at himself. He doesn’t hold petty grudges. His post-presidential years will be dignified and free of taint. He’s at peace with his actions and is deserving of the happy respite he so enjoys in the Texas he loves.
• Dan Quayle! -- In 2003, I wrote a book called “Hole in One! The Complete Book of Fact, Legend and Lore of Golf’s Luckiest Shot.” The New York Times cited it in 2009 as the Bible on the topic. If The Times says my book is The Bible about holes-in-one, then I can rightly declare I’ve written a holey book. I interviewed dozens of celebrities about their golfing perfection. Quayle was one of the nicest. We talked for about 45 minutes and he couldn’t have been friendlier. He was such a good sport he didn’t even mind when I asked him about his wife Marilyn’s saucy response when someone asked her about reports he’d had an affair while on a golf trip (“Anyone who knows Dan knows he’s much more interested in golfing than sex.”) He just laughed and said she was mad when she said it. He’d had two aces though 2003 and I hope he gets a bunch more.
• Tom DeLay! -- The man’s got balls. Even while under indictment for the crime of which he was just convicted and sentenced to three years, he still went on “Dancing With The Stars” and whooped it up. And before he went into politics, I hear he was a fine exterminator.
• Newt Gingrich! -- He has a true and abiding love for animals, zoos and history. He’s a thrice-married man who still has the buoyant audacity to court family values voters. Did you know he’s a Pennsylvania native? Go Keystone State!
• Rush Limbaugh! -- He loves golf and smoke cigars. He’s indifferent to what people think about him. He had Elton John sing at his recent fourth wedding. When National Enquirer busted him for drug addiction in 2003, he didn’t weasel out and call them a bunch of liars. He said, yup, you got me, thus another monumental victory for tabloid journalism.
• Dick Cheney! -- Now, this is getting tough. Okay. When he shot that guy -- anniversary alert! -- five years ago February 11, he didn’t let his instincts get the better of him and just go finish the poor bastard off.
• Sarah Palin! -- Uh, Sarah Palin! . . . Sarah Palin? . . . Hmmm . . . Okay . . . Sarah Palin is wonderfully childlike in her approach to complicated problems!
That’s enough for now.
President Obama said we needed to start being nicer to one another.
He didn’t say it was always going to be easy.


Tom Bedell said...

Another classic! Ease up, will ya? Because of you I don't have time to read newspapers anymore.

Averil Dean said...

Aaaargh ... Huge, HUGE laugh-groan. Poor Sarah. I think you ran out of steam by the time you got to her.

Chris Rodell said...

Tom, how come no one's ever paired us up on a golf press trip? Man that would be fun. Thanks so much for reading.

And, as always, thanks, Averil. So glad you're on board.