Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana politics, Mike Pence, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and the fine Republican art of the Texas Side-step

Why is it they seem to grow their politicians tall, fair-haired, and a trifle dimwitted in Indiana? 

First there was Dan Quayle, who declared himself and his grumpy-looking wife “The New Kennedys” – a narcissistic conceit squelched handily by Lloyd Benson in the 1988 vice-presidential election debates.  

If you haven’t seen this in a while, it’s worth the three minutes and 38 seconds it takes to watch Quayle, stalling and vamping as he tries to think of an answer to Tom Brokaw's simple question, and then comparing himself to John F. Kennedy. He gets sliced, diced and barbecued with no tool sharper than Benson's tongue.

Now we have Governor Mike Pence who played to the Tea Party mob by encouraging a law that would have allowed restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, flower shops, and virtually any other business to refuse service to selected members of the public, ostensibly on religious beliefs.

Or so Pence said.

The initial target was gay couples, but you can always find some biblical passage that can extend the shunning to Afro-Americans, Jews, Catholics if you’re Protestant, or Protestant if you're Catholic, people with physical disabilities, people with developmental difficulties or some other perceived “mark of the beast” – heck the possibilities are limitless.

The problem for Pence is, the wave of backlash has turned into a tsunami that threatens to engulf the state of Indiana and drown its businesses in a boycott. So now Pence is trying to take it back while at the same time not taking it back.

He seems to keep saying, while at the same time denying that he’s saying – hold on real tight and bite your lip so that the words don’t tangle your neurons on fish hooks – that the law doesn’t permit discrimination just because it allows businesses to discriminate. Now he’s calling for a revision to the law that won’t say it allows discrimination, at the same time it does say it.

Yeah, I know. My brow wrinkled at that one, too.

Which brings me to a Broadway show and later a movie called “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” based on a true story and real political and demimonde characters, which featured Charles Durning as a politician glibly accustomed to speaking out of both sides of his mouth. There’s a song for that, and here’s how it goes:

The only difference is, Durning's character is a lot more clever than Mike Pence.


Patricia said...

I lived in Indiana, on a rural farm in Darlington, where they filmed Hoosiers, then I moved and lived in Carmel, not far from the Quayles. I never knew anyone who wasn't a live and let live, down to earth person. There was a thriving gay community, named Broad Ripple, with lots of artists and craftsman and wonderful restaurants. I have been away from Indiana for many years. I wonder how much of this nonsense has been thrust on the soybean farmers just trying to survive and I am sure they could care less about this non-issue as I am sure some have gay sons and daughters. It's sickening to know that these Koch bought and sold politicians are ruining that beautiful state.

StPauli said...

We all couldn't help, but love the swift reaction for the redaction of this foolish bill, but the flip side is that corporations showed their power, and their power is more powerful than ours, and in the future may conflict with our values.