What I Learned From the Republican Comedy Hour

by Steven Jonas


Originally published at Buzz Flash

The First Republican Comedy Hour (otherwise known as the first Republican presidential debate) was held on May 3. It held some fascinating lessons for me, and I want to share some of them with you. I must tell you that hearing these men talk brought many a chuckle to my throat (and at times something else as well, but we won’t go into that, even though I am a doctor).

— All the candidates are in favor of “returning religion to the public square.” What, we don’t have enough churches, usually two to three, on (or at least near) enough public squares around the country already?

— “People are entitled to their faith,” unless, of course, their faith (or lack thereof) tells them that life begins at the time of viability, not conception.

— “People are entitled to their faith,” unless, of course, their faith (or lack thereof) tells them that under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, persons are entitled to all of the benefits and obligations of the institution of civil marriage, regardless of their sexual orientation.

— Any one of them will catch Osama bin Laden, with John McCain determined to “go to the gates of hell” (wherever they may be, apparently ready to risk Air Force One in the process) should doing so prove necessary. None of them commented on why President Bush, their President Bush for better or for worse, has failed to do that in 5 ½ years. (Hint, hint, hint, guys, for the next debate, in case a moderator asks you the latter question: a) bin Laden is a U.S. government asset, b) bin Laden is a Bush Family asset, c) the U.S. has got him, has had him for quite some time, but ain’t telling, because 1) he is of much more use for Georgite propaganda out there than he would be otherwise and 2) they would possible have to try him in at least a semi-open court and boy, would he have some stories to tell.)

— America is the most admired nation in the world.

— Spending will be reduced, mainly by “cutting pork” (although they didn’t say which cut of the pig would be cut).

— Welfare will be eliminated. Apparently they didn’t notice that Pres. Clinton actually did that in 1996.

— Three of the ten don’t believe in the Theory of Evolution.

— Republican corruption is the result of the failure of individuals, not a philosophy or a modus operandi of certain types of people attracted to the Republican Party and Republican politics. Senator Brownback’s long-term solution to the problem of Republican corruption is to build up families. That’s very long-term, of course. And anyway, he told us, using the favorite Republican/O’RHannibaugh “two wrongs make a right” argument, Democrats are corrupt too. He could name only one example, Cong. William Jefferson, but it must be the fact that the Cong. preserved that cash in his freezer that gives that single story of Democratic corruption so much staying power. It is indeed well-preserved, that is if it is still in someone’s freezer.

— In terms of his long-time opposition to the Iraq War and his “get out now” position on it, the Republicans have their very own Dennis Kucinich. His name is Ron Paul, Cong. From Texas. There are, however, major differences. He is far to the Right on virtually every other issue, and he does not have an absolutely gorgeous English wife, 30 years younger than he, who is also a serious political progressive and activist.

— Something called (but never defined by any of them) “Islamofascism” is the single most important foreign policy challenge of the United States. Where it comes from, who leads it, where one can find its statement of purpose, who its leaders are, what Muslim nation, if any, supports it, how it plans to achieve its goals, etc. were not mentioned.

— It would appear that if any of them except Cong. Paul were elected President, our nation could look forward to the indefinite continuation of the Cheney/Bush policy of Permanent War.

Of course, folks, none of this is truly funny. If the Democrats don’t get their act together, start running against the true Republican agenda as outlined above (and you can find much of it in the 2004 Republican National Platform), and get Dennis Kucinich elected, this is, however, what we are in for come Jan. 20, 2009.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY), a weekly contributing author for The Political Junkies, and contributing editor for The Moving Planet Blog.



  1. peacemakersguild

    Well said, Steven.
    Someone wrote recently that Obama was the only candidate for 2008 executive office who could really change the nature of politics in this country. I would amend that notion by suggesting that would be true only as far as Kucinich’s VP could change anything. That Kucinich continues to be marginalized by the popular press and even his own party is really sad for the everyday, non-reading, uncritically thinking American. There is so much wisdom and grace in his platform. Oh well — we should still pursue the dream.
    Oh, regarding “the gates of Hell” — my brother lives in Waco. He’s pretty sure the gates of Hell are about seventy yards up the main driveway of a well guarded ranch in Crawford, Texas.

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