Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not All Pleased With McCain's N.H. Win

On Tuesday, January 8th, thousands of John McCain supporters were jubilant over his win in the New Hampshire Republican primary. Not everyone, however, was quite so pleased with the McCain victory.

This evening, at The Liberty Pub in Washington D.C., a group of 10 grizzled old-timers gather to watch the results. They gather here often to swap war stories, drink, and complain about the younger generation and the direction of their country. But tonight they sit in the dimly lit, smoky, neighborhood bar glumly nursing their beers as the vote tallies from New Hampshire roll in on television.

The ten old-timers, the original ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, who like to call themselves the “Bill of Rights,” have seen many elections before. Still, they watch with rapt attention, knowing full well how elections can affect their lives and their livelihoods.

Especially hard hit by previous administrations is the Tenth Amendment (or simply “Ten” to his friends). He lost his job in the midst of the great depression and hasn’t been able to find work in Washington since. “The Democrats never had the time of day for me, but listening to Ron Paul and Fred Thompson, I thought maybe the Republicans could find work for me again,” Ten laments. He eyes the McCain vote totals on the TV screen, “Now… I don’t know.”

What was his previous employment? “I used to tell the Federal Government to do their own friggin’ job and let the States and the People do theirs. Now nobody listens,” Ten stops to sip his beer sullenly. “Especially John McCain. It’s like every time he gets a new pet peeve, it magically becomes a federal matter. Today it’s steroids in baseball, tomorrow who knows?” When Senator McCain’s smiling visage appears on the screen, Ten launches a handful of peanuts at the television. “Up yours McCain!”

“Quite down you old fool,” a visibly intoxicated Seventh Amendment chides his friend.

“Hey! I can say whatever I want,” Ten counters, turning to the First Amendment to back him up, “tell ‘em One.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” One says, putting down his beer. “If you want to smear animal crap on a picture of the Blessed Virgin or something, I could help you out. But political speech… against an incumbent senator? I don’t know about that, I’d have to check.”

The First Amendment has been down on his luck lately too, ever since the McCain-Feingold "incumbent protection act" went into effect. Number One has been through tough times before. He takes out his dental partial and shows me a toothless grin. “I lost these in the Alien and Sedition Acts. I eventually won though,” he replaces his partial and stands up. “But then McCain-Feingold took these.” He begins to unbutton his trousers, but a chorus of shouts from his comrades stops him.

“Campaign finance reform, ha!" the Ninth Amendment says, rolling his eyes. "McCain wants to keep the corrupting influence of money out of politics. Riiiiight! He sets up all these regulations on how much everybody can contribute to candidates, but he structures it so Indian tribes can give more than others can. By strange coincidence, being on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, guess who some of McCain’s biggest campaign contributors have always been. Indians!”

Startled, the Second Amendment sits bolt upright in his chair. “Huh? Injuns?!” he says excitedly. Momentarily hearkening back to his glory days, his gun-hand instinctively snaps to his long-since-bare hip where once a holster had hung. Realizing his faux pas, Two chuckles at himself and pushes the front of his big ten-gallon hat back a bit higher on his head. The moments levity passed, he takes on a serious tone as he notices me writing in my notepad.

“John McCain?” Two frowns. “He ain’t no friend of mine. One time that ornery galoot tried telling’ me I couldn’t do gunshows anymore. Me! And he wanted to make folks lock up all their guns. How you s'posed to shoot bushwhackers with yer gun locked up? Romney and Rudy ain’t no better neither. Them three city slickers been tryin’ to hogtie me from the get-go!”

Asked if there are any presidential candidates that he does like, he replies, “I like that Ron Paul feller the best, ‘course. He’s from Texas you know. And I kinda like that preacher-man.” The Ninth and Tenth Amendments contort their faces and pantomime gagging themselves at this reference to Mike Huckabee.

Laughing at his friends antics, Two continues, “And that ol’ boy on ‘Law and Order’ has been kinder to me than some of ‘em. But with any of them other mangy critters in the Whitehouse and with a Democrat-controlled Congress…” Looking me in the eyes, Two’s face runs pale with dread, “I’ll be dead quicker’n a jackrabbit in a rattler den.” Trying to chase away the premonition, the Second Amendment slams a shot of whisky, then pours himself another from the bottle in front of him.

The ten friends sit in silence again, watching the New Hampshire vote count on C-Span. Although whatever twists and turns their lives may take after the 2008 election remains to be seen, their immediate plans tonight are abundantly clear. Catching the eye of the waitress, the Second Amendment points around the table with his finger: “Another round here, Lil’ Darlin.”

3 comments:

Bawb said...

Absolutely the most brilliant piece of writing I have seen in ages. I shared it with the "squirrels". Kudos, Ben.

Mark said...

Fantastic little piece there..

-Mark

Ben said...

Thanks guys. I figured it would either be cute or really stupid.

If anyone else enjoyed it, please go to http://www.realclearpolitics.com/readerarticles/?period=all and vote for this article (titled "Not All Pleased With McCain's NH Win").