Friday, September 22, 2006

Shakespeare and Bahama Bob

I just spent over a grand-and-a-half on a leather recliner from one of the top furnituremakers in the nation. Ahhh, I wish I could marry it, too. Supple, moist, warm...and it doesn't make me pick my socks up off the floor or whine about depletion of a joint checking account. I'd gladly move to Utah with my wife and my chair and live in blissful polygamy...

I start with this ode to leather and reclining because I broke the thing in today by reading a few passages from my wife's gi-normous Shakespeare tome. I love the histories (like Henry V) and the tragedies (like MacBeth). The Comedies are tough because the poetry lays the double-entendres on way too thick. I like my porn and slapstick without garnish.

Anyhow, I put down the heavy book for my inaugural nap--farting of course, to mark this chair as mine--and I gently recline to astronaut position. Suddenly the Washington Post Metro section comes into view, and I scoop it off the floor. Now, the bloodier and more conspiracy-ridden Shakespeare is my thang. Think Titus Andronicus or Richard III, so I was truly aroused when I scanned a truly horrifying policy statement by the Governor of Maryland, Robert "Bahama Bob" Erlich. As you know, in Maryland we had a little Palm Beach Co, Fla. ca. 2000, Georgia ca. 2002 and Ohio ca. 2004 voting machine drama last week in the primaries. Software erasing results, card chips arriving late, old folks not kowing how to insert the cards, wardens misreading the printouts, folks' names not even being on the damn printouts...what a way to run a beacon of democracy, eh Mr. President? It's Henry VI all over again. The war of the roses, Capulet versus Montague, rapier-fights in the street..."They have made worm's meat of me..."

But, like Pericles, Prince of Tyre, along comes Bob to preempt the Democrats and save the day. He says these machines, all provided by Diebold, suck. Diebold needs to show cause why we shouldn't deep-six the contract. Bring back paper ballots. Diebold can't be trusted. Now, Diebold is the same company that's run by an avowed right-wing nutcase who's on the record with bizarre comments about "assisting" the GOP and the President. Bravo Bob? Good Prince Harry V? Oncemore into the breach?

Not so fast. I went to law school in Baltimore with his wife Kendall, a fairest Hermia beautiest nymph she was (and, ironically, Katie Curran O'Malley was also in school with me--wife of Martin O'Malley, mayor of Baltimore and Democrat who seeks to unseat Bob as the Earl of Richmond battled Richard III). A person close to Mrs. Erlich says that Bob is adamant about ensuring the integrity of the system and restoring faith in the process. As for enlightened self-interest, he clearly doesn't want a torrent of scary lawsuits pouring down on the state and muddying Maryland's reputation. Indeed, there may be ones planned now among Democrats!

Alas and tut...this source confides however that such is but A Midsummer Night's Dream. Today, Robert Andronicus, Erlich of York announced his true alternative to the machines: Marylanders would be best to just stay home and fill out absentee ballots. Uh-huh. This is the same guy who vetoed the early voting bill, and the moto-voting registration, etc etc. Now he does a 180 degree turn and says "stay away from the polls." Really, but those of you who support me, I'll make sure to bus you in with step by step instructions as to how to use these diabolical Diebolds! The rest of you (who tend to vote Democrat, or who plain can't stand me) just don't vote. So what if the absente voting requirements are arcane and deadline loom? So what if a Johns Hopkins poli sci professor can't even figure out the system--better still if an elderly black women from West Baltimore can't figure it out either, or forgets to mail the damn thing in.

Think I'm being as unfair as Shylock? Look, would any responsible public servant--especially one with this dude's record re: voting and elections--float this as a serious policy option?

Speaking of floating, has anyone in the DC-MD-VA area seen the campaign commercials of Bahama Bob's loyal Banquo and Horatio: Mike Steele? Lawd Lawd Lawd--it's something they could parody on SNL or MadTV. He neglects to tell the viewer two pertinent things.

First, he's a Republican.
Second, he's Mike Tyson's ex-brother in law.

Despite the TD Jakes-like realignments, black folks generally do not vote Republican. Mike Steele's a good guy, and I had even signed up to write speeches for him. But then he slipped in is old team--the ones who indeed kowtow to Karl Rove. And, in Rovian style, they come up with these silly Hollywood PSA style commercials. Better to gloss over his party ID. And how better to hide the fact that the dude doesn't have any legislative or policy milestones then to have him act like Montel Williams on camera?

And yes, he's Mike Tyson's ex-brother in law. What were Labor Day barbeques like? Ears (of corn) on the Weber grill? Lithium cole slaw (to keep Tyson's crazy ass from killin' y'all)? Pick-axes in the garage (from the former Dr. Mrs. Tyson's golddigging...apparently she was a fiend for brothas with much cash and little brain...meaning athletes and "contraband marketing representatives").

Still, I'm ambivalent. I'm not a big Ben Cardin fan, either. But hey, I don't want to see a seat enhanced with honor and distinction by Paul Sarbanes (Princeton, of course), go to someone who'll have to (1) learn governing and legislating from scratch and (2) talk like John McCain in public and vote like Clarence Thomas in private. Is that Mike Steele? We just don't know, given these silly-ass commercials.

Enough rants. I must now lay-on, MacDuff...or lay-down, upon my lovely new chair...maybe it's all Much Ado about Nothing. Or maybe yeah, we should beware the Ides of March, and hold these m-fs accountable.

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