The Naked Emperor

30 July 2004

Save the Hamsters!!

30 July 04

Dear gentle reader,

I'm baack. My deepest apologies, but I've been a bit busy with work, garden, and an erection that's taken way too long. The erection was only supposed to be a few weeks, but it's been extended to a couple of months now due to weather, scheduling delays, etc.

I don't know where you were going with that, but I'm talking about the building of the new shed. And yes, you doubters in the audience, I'm finally getting my shed together.

But enough about me, let's talk politics.

This week I tried to watch as much of the DNC convention in Boston as I could between patients. The convention was held at the old Boston Garden, now renamed the "Fleet Center". My limited knowledge of corporate naming could only come up with one association for a "Fleet" company. The enema company. It seemed somehow appropriate to hold a political convention sponsored by said company. "This crap brought to you by Fleet Enemas." But alas dear reader, I knew that was too good to be true, so I did extensive research on your behalf. OK, I called my brother who used to live in Boston. Apparently, the center was renamed for Fleet Bank. Pity. I like my way better.

I was looking for Senator Kerry's positions on issues and to learn about his history in government. Instead, I found a reason to vote for him. During PBS' coverage on Thursday night, one of his daughters was speaking. She told a story about how he'd saved a drowning hamster. I am NOT making this up. I may not know what his plan is for Iraq or terrorists, but I now know he has a firm Hamster policy. I've been trying to tell the pollsters who don't call my house that a strong Hamster policy is my number one concern this election. Trying to make a candidate cute and fuzzy is one thing but I really can't see "Save a Hamster, Vote Kerry" bumper stickers in my future. And if he's trying to save a hamster, does that mean he want's Nader to stay in? Or just adopt Nader?

I did see about half of Mr. Kerry's speech Thursday night and read a transcript today to fill in the blanks. A good speech. The best he's ever given. He was a war hero in Vietnam. He reminded us of that repeatedly. Once again, I'm behind the times. Just a few years ago, military service was no qualification for the Presidency. Even combat. If it was so Important, why did the democrats nominate Bill Clinton? And more importantly, when up against the youngest Navy pilot ever, who had a distinguished combat record in the Pacific, why did the dems vote for him? Since the sands have shifted so much, I suspect an opportunistic motive. Another question. If a combat record is so Important, does this mean very few dems would support Hillary if she decides to run? Petards can be sharp and hoist even the most serious politico.

But I digress. The speech seemed a bit long on platitudes and short on specifics. It raised more questions than answers. OK, he's for freedom, mom, and apple pie, but so's everybody. How are you going to do it? Also, I would like some clarification about a few items in your political history.

Senator Kerry, you are proud of your military service, and talk about loyalty to your "band of brothers" So why were you the only Swift boat sailor to apply for early return to the US, leaving your "band of brothers" behind?

You, in your sworn testimony to Congress upon your return, talked of committing atrocities and listed many others you had witnessed. Are these atrocities part of your service you are proud of? Did you provide details on the perpetrators of the atrocities you witnessed, so they could be brought to justice? Did you cover up for them? Do you think someone who has admitted to atrocities is fit to be Commander in Chief and an example to our young servicemen and women?

You talk about the shipping of jobs overseas. Will the Heinz company, your wife's family's company, be closing it's overseas operations and re-hiring their American workers? What did you do to stop the outsourcing? What legislation will you propose to stop the outflow?

You also talk about the loss of manufacturing jobs. Will you subsidize inefficient plants just to keep the jobs? Or will you impose tariffs on countries that provide less expensive goods? Would tariffs upset our allies and trading partners? Would we have a trade war with them?

You say you would strengthen our alliances. That primarily comes from building a consensus. The Senate is a body that passes legislation once consensus has been built. What major legislation have you gotten passed that you proposed or spearheaded, and how did you build the consensus to pass it? Would you use the same methods with our allies?

You say we shouldn't have gone to war in Iraq based on misguided intelligence. If you knew the intel was flawed, why did you vote for war? And why did you vote for regime change in Iraq in 1998 based on the same intel? If you knew it was flawed what steps did you take to correct it? If none, then why?

What is your plan for Iraq? You sort of glossed over this one. Please, no politician answers. We need and deserve specifics. Will you keep the troops in? For how long? Is there a definite time limit? What new nations will provide troops and how many?

What about the war on terror? What have you done to assist the war effort?

Arrgh! I'm getting a headache and am on duty. So on to ibuprofen and less serious thought.

The best parts of the convention were Clinton's speech and the balloon drop. Even now Clinton is a talented and powerful speaker. Even me the skeptic was rapt. I may not like his behavior or agree too much with his politics, but I sure wish I had his gift of gab.

And the balloon drop was just a slight sadistic pleasure. After seeing everything so scripted, micromanaged, and, well, boring, it was nice to see a little reality enter the room.

The worst was the constant celebrities. OOOHHH, Rob Reiner is sitting in the Presidential box!!! Like anyone would take political advice from someone who's best known character was "Meathead" Look, I live in LA. That's Louisiana. I don't need a bunch of east coast elitists to tell me what to think. Or a bunch of Hollywood types. If you think that helps, you're dumber than you think we are. And If you think that, I'm deeply insulted. My home is close to where Britney Spears allegedly grew up. Hell, her daddy put the roof on my house. (tours $10/person, room just below the "Spears" roof $149/night) We know celebrity. And it doesn't impress us.

Neither did the specifics of the candidates. So far all I know is that he wants to keep a nice tone while criticizing his opponent (I can bash you, but I you bring up my past you're just mean), and of course, the National Hamster Policy.

Will the hamster policy mean all government employees scurry about and stuff seed in their cheeks? Maybe we should have seen the Hamster Policy sooner. After all, Sandy Berger, one of Mr. Kerry's advisors, was caught stuffing classified documents in his pants not long ago.

Now, in keeping with the National Hamster policy, I have disgorged from my cheeks most of the insight I've built up recently. I will scurry off to find more tidbits for you, and stuff them in my cheeks while I go round and round on the great wheel of life.

Remember, if you don't vote for Kerry, you are an anti-Hamsterist. God (or other PC acceptable deity you choose, although not choosing one is OK and will result in no action against you in hiring or government funding) Save the Hamsters!!!

Until Later,

Dr. Peter M. Grout