Fuck this, I’m caucusing for Rob Ford

Rafael Edward “Muh Clay Road Baptist Church” Cruz may be eligible for the presidency of the United States, or he may be ineligible. Far be it from me to lawsplain this shit, or to counterlawsplain the lawsplainer; there are reasons why I continue to abstain from law school. I do, however, have several peripheral questions about Ted Cruz’s relationship to his (home and?) native land:

1) The guy has been running for the US presidency for so long that I, along with many of my American buddies and friends, I’m sure (sorey aboot that), can only dimly remember a time when he was not running. In all these months, it seems that no one was given an opportunity to aver in any mainstream media outlet that, yo dawg, Elmer Gantry here was a Canuck brat, and that makes him constitutionally ineligible. Then Donald Trump started making obnoxious noise on this subject, instead of other divisive subjects pertaining to non-Canadian foreigners, and suddenly the chattering class was abuzz with concern about Ted Cruz’s eligibility.

The United States Constitution was not amended in this time, nor was there any new case law about the eligibility of foreign-born children of US citizens. The press had time to look into this matter, or at the very least to ignorantly speculate about it at great length, as it does about every other conceivable matter of national political importance, from Donald Trump’s thoughts on Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle to Ben Carson’s thoughts on Holy Moses and the grand Egyptian grain silos. Instead, it spent months implying that, duh, he’s eligible, before admitting, at Trump’s prompting, that okay, maybe he isn’t exactly eligible. Throughout it all we have continued to be barraged with the most inane horse race trivia, as if we’re all just drinking mint juleps at Pimlico for 22 months straight, like any responsible citizenry.

It sure seems that the mainstream media allow their political coverage to be dictated by candidates, campaign spokesmen, and party hacks instead of having reporters do their own work in pursuit of their own ideas and leads. Politics: What is it all about? And journalism: what is that all about? Is it good, or is it wack?

In the interest of being mysterious, I will refrain from answering my own question, but I will offer a hint: it rhymes with “crack.”

Hey hey hey!

2) Until a week or two ago, none of the other presidential candidates, including the dozen-odd in the Republican primary field alone, had a word to say about Cruz’s constitutional eligibility. Is anyone in this process serious? Most of them are lawyers. Did the definition of a natural-born citizen really not occur to any of them, or are they all either: a) magnanimous to a fault, or b) opportunistic wind vanes of absolutely no civic principle whatsoever? And how late were some of these connivers planning to wait before finally jamming not just Cruz but their country–our country–up with a constitutional challenge to his eligibility?

3) A bit under a decade ago, Mocha Haole showed up on the scene in Chicago and asked his country to pass da kine, much mahalo, and many of his countrymen erroneously agreed with him that da kine included hope and change. Since we agreed with him that we were the hope and change we believed in and were waiting for, etc., we therefore also conceded that we were da kine. Great reasoning there, wouldn’tcha say. All the same, he was running against the Bomb-Bomb Iran geezer and that dingbat Northern Exposure MILF, and the second time around against the weaselly Mormon dork with the home elevator for his cars. Come to think of it, you have to go through or past quite a bit more of Canada to get to Wasilla than you do to get to Calgary, in case you were wondering about proximity to mainstream America and its culture. You ought to stop by Port Hardy and get your picture taken with a strapping Mountie; I did. It’s the done thing when you’re five.

Anyway, the current president has been besieged, absent all credible evidence to this effect, that he was born abroad. This works subtly but powerfully to his advantage, of course, as it distracts a large segment of his most natural opponents from the glaring substantive problems with his leadership, including the open assassination of US citizen dissidents living abroad. No matter how many times Barack Obama repeats that he was in fact born in Honolulu, as evidenced by his Hawaii birth certificate and the contemporaneous presence of his father on Oahu as a graduate student, racist wackjobs keep insisting that he was born in Kenya. Or, as they usually refer to it, Africa. Waka waka hey hey; some rains one cannot help but bless.

Barack Obama was in fact raised for a time in Indonesia, on account of his biological father having been completely absent from his life for years, but Indonesia isn’t dindu enough for these creeps to give it much thought, unless perhaps they’re trying to attribute to Obama their bugaboo (and very non-Javanese) Wahhabi extremism, which they of course elide into all of Islam. So dude’s like, no I was born in Hawaii, and all these fuckheads respond by using “African” as a racial slur. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz publicly declares that he was born in Calgary, and most of the same people are like, cool, that’s as American as religious tests for public office.

Again, there isn’t any principle in evidence here. It’s the reactionaries continuing to repeat after (secret integrationist) George Wallace, “nigger nigger,” and never listening to warnings that cracka that dog don’t hunt no more. They figure that Ted Cruz is white enough to be their kind, and certainly Texan enough. When Harris County embarrasses its decent citizens, it embarrasses them with gusto.

4) Marco Rubio is now smearing of Ted Cruz for not really speaking Spanish. Say, while he’s at it, maybe he can accuse my mom of not speaking Russian. What we have here is Florida Man accusing the Canadian-born Texan of not being Cuban enough to pander to Mexicans. Gee, how could anyone impeach the credibility of our political class in circumstances like these?

There’s another thing. We’re putting the cart before the horse here. We’re looking at the whole thing backwards. If poor assimilation and acculturation are threats to the electorate and the republic, the problem isn’t with Cruz and Rubio. They’re both perfectly well acculturated. They both speak normal, idiomatic American English. Okay, sort of normal in Rubio’s case. Idiomatic American English as spoken by an American Enterprise Institute robot, in any event. The problem, if any, is with the foreign electorate that Rubio is trying to woo. Jeb Bush, a scion of pale-ass High Anglican Yankee old money, is trying to woo the same mass of foreigners and putative foreign sympathizers with the same hola amigo shtick.

5) But the problem is that we have this Albertan-born Elmer Gantry running for the presidency? Well, then, in that case, I’m Robert Service, and mister could you spare me some firewood, it’s getting cold up here in these parts. Let’s get real. Ted Cruz is as Canadian as Boris Johnson is American. His politics are just another pile of the noxious horseshit that decent Americans have come to expect of Texas. Alberta is nominally the sweet home of edgy reactionary shitlord politics in Canada, but remember, that’s by local standards, not our south of the 49th Parallel. There’s nothing culturally Albertan about Ted Cruz. Stockwell Day would go yuk it up with some young-earth creationists in Red Deer for an hour or two and then return to his complaints about an imperious federal government strangling the oil industry. Stephen Harper is something of a creep. Ted Cruz is a full-throttled pandering religious zealot so crazy that he’d be monstered by the entire Conservative Party leadership if he ever tried to worm his way towards the cabinet or made a pest of himself in Parliament. The party would have carpetbaggers in his riding within 48 hours, on standby to run in the next election.

A lot of people on both sides of the border are all like, well, Rob Ford is crazy. No, he’s a drunkard. There’s a difference. Church? Hell, partner, maybe I’ll go if I’m not drunk off my ass Sunday morning. That’s what passes for batshit crazy in Canadian politics: a sweaty, foultempered drunk who gets blasted and maybe orders a plate of jerk chicken using what he believes to be a Jamaican accent, or maybe smokes a crack rock instead. He’s kind of his country’s George W. Bush, an alkie and druggie from family money who dabbles in low-class shtick while a child of Jamaican immigrants commands the police force. Still, he’s wicked centrist by Republican standards.

It would be cool if we had a legit Canadian candidate for the presidency. Rob Ford would be fun at the debates in a not-shit-your-pants scary way. Instead we have that greasy Houstonian whose daddy found work in the Alberta oilpatch before he found Jesus. And that, to be frank, is exactly the Canadian president we deserve.

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3 thoughts on “Fuck this, I’m caucusing for Rob Ford

  1. Well, Andrew, I wish I could write something as amusing. I mean, Rob Ford. Too precious.

    I guess the main point that bothers me is we should have an honest and knowledgeable debate. I truly do not care about Cruz’s candidacy except to the extent that I would prefer him to Trump, I suppose. But if we’re addressing the question of whether he is constitutionally eligible, on stipulated facts he’s not. And not only is he not eligible, he’s CLEARLY not eligible.

    Obama? The debate there seemed to be whether he was born in Hawaii or not. If he was, and his parents were citizens at the time, then he’s natural-born by any definition. If only one parent was a citizen at the time, I think an honest argument could be made there either way. I don’t think anyone has come up with something showing he wasn’t born in Hawaii, so as far as I’m concerned that’s the end of that question.

    Cruz doesn’t have an honest argument. And the press is doing its usual lousy job. Any reasonably intelligent and educated person can look at the problem and if they are honest will come to the same conclusion. You can’t change that by donning a “scholar” robe and feigning uncertainty where there isn’t any.

    If reality – including the meaning of words – can be bent to serve our purposes depending on our status or how many people support us, we’re in trouble in the most fundamental way.

    • What I find so easy about using Rob Ford in this fashion is that if he’s objectively an extremist by US standards, he’s only a libertarian extremist, if even that. He’s economically a bit far-right by the standards of major cities in either country, but I’m not even sure that he falls far to the right economically by suburban or rural Canadian standards. He’s still trying to fence the wind on Bedford v. Canada/C36, but that’s a fairly standard Conservative Party position, as I understand it. The hard-left status quo ante of Toronto politics makes him look more extreme than he would in almost any other Canadian context; just because the T’rannah arts scene mounts the high horse over his extremism doesn’t mean that he’s really an extremist.

      Granted, he’s to the right economically of what I’d ideally support, especially in a large city (I’ve heard that he got kind of hard-assed with the TTC, fucking up regional public transit in furtherance of his ideology, for example), but I’d absolutely vote for him over any of the current crop of GOP candidates, save Trump, whose economic platform I largely support, for what it’s worth. I like Rand Paul on civil liberties, but he’s out for the cycle now. It’ll be a moot point if I reregister as a Democrat, which I may well do to give Bernie a little boost. With Paul out of the running, he’s the only candidate who inspires my general trust.

      It always makes me facepalm to hear Canadians who are apparently ignorant of the Lord’s Day Alliance complain about Ford as some kind of unprecedented right-wing nut job. Compulsory Sabbath observance as a matter of public policy, which was a viable stance in Toronto politics within living memory, is a lot harder to the right than the general sense of mostly unarticulated right-wing yuckiness that seems to get left-leaning Canadians so upset about Rob Ford. The guy doesn’t look like he wants Tim Horton’s and the liquor stores closed all day, after all. There’s a certain pluralism and respect for individual liberty that I’d hope for any electorate to appreciate, but given that Ford’s loudest opposition came from what may well be the craziest left-wing fever swamp in Canada (the folks who harbored Jian Ghomeshi, inter alia), this is not a given.

      As a rough guess, I’d say that Rob Ford is to the left of Stephen Harper, although I could be wrong. In any event, I’ve often gotten the feeling that Canadians have been misreading Ford and casting him as some kind of monster merely because he has such a crude persona. I guess there’s something shocking about his roughness in the Canadian political context that would be less shocking to Americans, although personally, I’d much rather have someone like Ford governing no-filter in real time than a reserved, civil type like Harper use civility as a cover for sleaze, crookedness, authoritarian belligerence in policy, etc. It comes back to low-functioning vs. high-functioning punks again, and shoving a reporter across one’s lawn is low-functioning. Precisely because Ford was such an open yahoo in temperament he got a vigor of opposition that Harper rarely attracted. That much of his administration was probably healthy.

      Mind you, I’m not crazy about the current Trudeau, whom I find rather woo-woo and therefore assess cautiously, but I certainly prefer him to the Other Canadian Justin, the unmentionable one.

    • On the matter of bending reality and the meaning of words, we’ve been in serious trouble as a country for probably thirty or forty years, and it’s generally been getting worse. This goes far to explain how Cruz was allowed to argue his eligibility by unsupported assertion for so long.

      The other thing that seems to be getting worse is the intellectual honesty and vigor of the mainstream press. This makes the internet a godsend, because Americans can no longer trust the gatekeepers of information, if ever we could. The mainstream media function as little more than stenography services for the major parties in their political coverage these days. If they had an easily identifiable affiliation with the Democratic Party specifically, they would never have stipulated Cruz’s eligibility until Trump forced the issue by exercising the social proof to make it the talk of the town.

      The most obvious turning point from honesty and sobriety to dishonesty and fantasy is Ronald Reagan. Leaving aside the merits and demerits of his policies, at his worst he was wildly less sober of mind than any of his predecessors since at least Harding. Richard Nixon, for all his paranoia and criminality, stayed on point. Some of the things that Reagan said publicly as president were totally Looney Toons. E.g., in my heart we didn’t do Iran-Contra, but the facts tell me we did. Plus he was visibly senile at times, and no one in the press had the courage to call him out for it. There were some serious holy-shit episodes calling into question his fundamental moment-to-moment engagement with reality. He was far from a failure as president, but still, the unwillingness of so many people to speak candidly about his lapses and the simultaneous eagerness of so many of the same people to mercilessly smear Jimmy Carter as a horrible buzzkill were ominous, and remain so.

      In the meantime, we’ve had thirty-odd years of unbridled yuppie excess, materially, intellectually, and spiritually. We’re seeing its fruition in this primary race in both parties. The yuppie project was predicated on gross selfishness and intellectual dishonesty from the start, and the Boomers pursuing it still have the sheer numbers to keep it going when the younger generations don’t turn out to vote.

      I suspect there’s also an ugly educational angle to this mess, based on the deficiencies and malfeasance I’ve seen or heard about in the public schools. Humanities education has always been a prime target for authoritarians of all nominal stripes, and they’ve often been especially successful at getting their way with the schools in the United States.

      I have hope about the prospects for turning this ship around, but only cautious hope. The current GOP base simply will not weed out the crooks, and the Democratic base is still leaning towards the stunningly criminal Clinton machine in many states. Sometimes I wish we had governor general assignments where we could stash some of these troublemakers for the time being, like the Brits did with that Nazi-sympathizing Windsor Knot loser during the war, but our current political class would probably send Bernie off to administer Guam, not Hillary, so it’s probably just as well.

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