Opinion » Bill Cope

Cleland Clearly

Badger Bob maxs poetic

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What happened is, Cope's wife calls me up and says "Robert, there is something wrong with my husband," and I say, "No kidding," but she says, "I'm serious. He's bouncing around like an escaped circus clown, telling everybody he bumps into how he was voted the best writer in Boise. I mean, total strangers and small children and everyone. Robert, he's scaring people."

OK, I thought, what the hell was I supposed to do about it? But I have nothing against Cope's wife, so out of consideration to her, I say, "OK, what the hell am I supposed to do about it?"

"I'm taking him to the hills for a few days. Maybe that will get his head out of his fanny. But I'm worried about his next column. It's due Friday and he hasn't written a single word."

"So you want me to write his column for him again, is that it?"

And she says, "Robert, if you do this, I promise you can keep your goat in our garage this winter. Besides, you don't want to see Bill get fired, do you?"

I don't give a flying f***, I thought, but I didn't tell her that. "All right," I say, "but just this week. If he's still nuts next week, he's on his own. And let me be clear about this, sis: I'm doing it for the goat."

When she hung up, I thought, "All righty, we need to dig us up some subject matter, don't we?" I had a notion to call Andy Hedden-Nicely and ask him the one question Cope should have asked back when he was bitching about that third-party United crud. "Andy, old hoss ...," I would have asked, "can you name one position you've taken, one plank in your platform, one single thing you've proposed, that couldn't have been proposed as a Democrat? Or a Republican, for that matter?"

Then I thought, forget it. If I light up some big bonfire between Cope and Hedden-Nicely, my sweet nanny might pay the price. So instead, I'm going to do a Max Cleland promo. And if you don't know who Max Cleland is, why don't you crawl off and watch Judge Judy or something because you're too stupid for me to bother with, s***head.

Ah, that's no way to make friends, is it? I take it back. I shouldn't have called you a s***head just 'cause you might not know who Max Cleland is. But I hate like hell trying to make a point with people who pay so little attention that I have to explain the situation as I go. It's like talking to teenagers, and I hate that, too.

I have to keep reminding myself many of you are such busy, busy hepcats--what with your Monday Night Football and your scrapbooking--that you don't have time to keep up with what's happening to America. So kiddies, shush up like good little learners, and I'll tell you about Max Cleland. Cleland is the nation's most prominent benchmark of how low-down and rotten the modern Republican Party has become. Four years ago, he was the Democratic senator from Georgia, and he's still easy to spot in a crowd. Always has a big huggy bear grin on his easy-going mug, and besides that, he's the guy in the wheelchair. He took a grenade almost 40 years ago, and left three of his four limbs in Vietnam.

Cleland was first elected to the Georgia legislature and Carter appointed him an administrator in the VA because of his passion for veterans' affairs. After that, he spent 14 years as Georgia's secretary of state until he was elected to the Senate in '96.

Then comes the Congressional elections in 2002. That was the year Bush and his hellish horde made it clear they intended to ride 9/11 down to its last drop of blood. Until 2002, the Senate was pretty well split between parties, and had it stayed that way, who knows? Maybe the Democrats would have had enough clout to keep the dogs on a leash. Maybe someone would have challenged the administration's lies about Iraq. Maybe we wouldn't have lost 2,700 soldiers for nothin'!

But Karl Rove cranked his s*** machine up to full-smear, and nobody got it worse than Cleland. The bastards ran ads linking Max to Osama, and a few too many of those ignorant crackers yahooing around Georgia's peach fields bought it. Cleland lost.

Like I said, it's the low-water mark of the Republican sewer. Here you have a man who actually did what so few of them have done--went to war and paid dearly for it--being accused of unpatriotic intentions by squalid little bums like Rove, who never warmed the inside of any uniform except the human disguise he squeezes into for public appearances. How's that for honor? How's that for family values? How's that for supporting the troops? But what else would you expect from the same bunch who puts a pedophile predator in a leadership role for protecting kids?

It's America's good fortune that Max Cleland isn't the sort who rolls over to neo-con slime. Since that shameful 2002 episode, he has been one of the Democrats' most persistent and convincing voices in opposition to the bacterial infection in our White House. He's been campaigning like a champion for John Murtha, another combat vet the Republicans have targeted for revenge, and in the past month, he's averaged an appearance a day for various Democratic candidates.

Now he's coming here. On Monday, October 16, he'll be at the Idaho Center on behalf of Idaho candidates, and by God, if every damn Democrat in the Treasure Valley isn't there to see him, they deserve what they get. And what they'll get is the most accomplished phony in Good Ol' Boy history as governor, not to mention that frothing little Cheney suck-up, Bill Sali. Mark my words, sending Sali to Washington will be like throwing fresh cow-flop on a cow-flop fire. All Idaho will get out of it is the stink.

I shouldn't have to tell you it'll cost you something to get in. Lord knows, money doesn't guarantee a decent government, but if it's a decent government you want, you have to pay to get it, just as someone else is paying for the indecent one we got now.

By the time you read this, it will be too late to get reservations for the meal, but for a measly 10 bucks, you can hear Cleland speak, get in on a silent auction, and buy yourself a drink. Be there by 7:00. (There's a $100 dinner and reception for Larry Grant preceding the whole affair. For more information, get on your computer and dial in betty@richardsonsandoleary.com, or call the Idaho State Democrats at 336-1815.)

There. I'm done. That's Cope's column for this week. And to tell the truth, I didn't mind doing it, now that I've done it. It's a privilege to promote a guy like Cleland, even if it helps out a guy like Cope.

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