Saturday, September 1, 2012
Damn the Torpedos, the Country, Etc.
Karl Rove recently--in real terms, not in time measured by how quickly the news media chews, swallows, regurgitates, and masticates its stories before finally letting them pass--suggested that Mitt Romney, if elected, would be a president like Polk. James K. Polk is something of an obscure figure, as far as the general public is concerned, and undoubtedly no small number of "news" anchors needed rapidly to resort to Wikipedia to get up to speed. For my part, the initial thought that crossed my mind was "Oh? What does he intend to annex?" A colleague of mine playfully suggested that the Republicans have had their sights set on Iran for some time now. In turn, I wondered if--given Romney's family roots there--whether or not he would scoop up the rest of Mexico and finish what Polk started. It would certainly be a novel way to solve the illegal immigration problem.
With a more serious tone, the same colleague expressed confusion about why anyone would want to associate themselves with a president for whom a simple and direct causal link could be drawn between his actions and the American Civil War. He asked whether or not we were supposed to interpret the comparison to mean that Romney presidency foreshadowed another civil war. Certainly that was not the intent on Rove's part, but it is a dangerous line of inquiry to invite.
Meanwhile, with a Lubbock County Judge speculating that an Obama reelection might prompt another civil war, should Americans be left wondering whether they're damned if they do, damned if they don't?