Ted Cruz fingered his Bible nervously. He was only going to get one shot at this, and if he missed—well, he wouldn’t allow himself to think about that. Somewhere, floors above him, he heard the elevator doors shudder open. Somebody was bringing back the groceries, coming home to the dog, living the kind of normal life that Ted Cruz dimly remembered but no longer understood. He said a quick prayer for whatever poor schmuck lived on floor six. There wasn’t time for anything more, because the elevator had returned to the lobby, its doors opening, ready to take him to the penthouse and whatever awaited him there. Today was Friday, and Ted Cruz was going all the way to the top. Would a lifetime of hard luck and dark secrets come with him?
Rand Paul, son of Ron, scourge of government overreach and champion of that species of liberty which flows naturally from being somebody’s kid, has announced his candidacy for president. He joins Ted Cruz in challenging that guy who is the son of one president and the brother of another for the nomination to run against the wife of yet another former president. The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with blood of the same type as whoever watered it before. But although his father has drawn a paycheck as a US Representative since he was 14, “Rand Paul has been fighting big government his entire adult life.” So says his announcement page, which mentions his father exactly once. He’s his own man. All his father gave him was a ready-made constituency, a bunch of contacts in Washington—which he despises as his sworn enemy, of course—and a famous name.
In case you hadn’t heard, Rand Paul is currently embroiled in the most tepid plagiarism scandal imaginable. Speaking at Liberty University last week, the senator and self-certified ophthalmologist warned against the dangers of genetic testing by talking about what college kids can understand: Ethan Hawke movies from the nineties. Quote:
In the movie Gattaca, in the not too distant future, eugenics is common. And DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class.
Compare that to the Wikipedia summary of the film, which reads, “In ‘the not-too-distant future,’ eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class.” More middles school-level shirking from the senator’s office after the jump.
We’re in week two of the federal shutdown—which Fox News has taken to calling the slimdown—and default is eight days away. It’s safe to say that some Congressional Republicans are regretting their decision to tie a continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare. That plan didn’t work, in part because it somehow did not include an endgame in which the president called their bluff. An intellectually honest delegation might have admitted defeat and moved forward, but the Republican Party has not. Erick Erickson believes the GOP is winning, for maybe the stupidest reason imaginable. And a growing number of conservative Republicans are telling themselves and the press that—contrary to economists, financiers and the American business community—breaching the debt limit wouldn’t be so bad.
I went to the Western Montana State Fair and Rodeo last night, where I remembered that the experience of American culture varies wildly from person to person. For one thing, this year’s clown sucked. His first interaction with the audience was built around the joke, “can a bald man get a hairline fracture?” Fertile comic ground though it was, we did not respond, so he launched immediately into one of those math tricks that involves thinking of a number, adding six, dividing it by three, subtracting the original number, et cetera. Math tricks! Fortunately, he won us back with a dog routine. The people behind us went insane, occasionally describing what was happening with gleeful incredulity—e.g., “He can’t get out!” when the clown get stuck upside-down in a garbage can—and generally reminding us of the values of a bygone era. Today is Friday, and a substantial portion of the populace loves Milton Friedman and Dennis the Menace. Won’t you focus your nostalgia on an age that never existed with me?