An Absolute Total Schettino

The truly flabbergasting Susan G. Komen for the Cure fiasco, which boiled to its essence is just another in a long, relentless line of attempts by modern conservatives to politicize every imaginable aspect and service of American life, (most notoriously — the U. S. attorneys scandal)  has already claimed a victim: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Fund.

As of today, the Fund’s Bushie BFF president, Nancy Brinker, and her board are flailing about trying to reassure everyone from working class sisters of breast cancer survivors to their truly impressive list of corporate sponsors that, A: They really, truly are restoring full funding to Planned Parenthood and not playing cute while they wait for more instructions from right-wing, witch-hunting, anti-choice crusaders, and B: That they can prove they are spending more donor money on breast cancer research and prevention than “protecting their brand”. Either way, I am hereby betting heavily that the organization will have to thoroughly air out its books, divest itself of President Brinker and its VP for Public Policy, Karen Handel, the former Georgia GOP candidate for Governor and avowed opponent of Planned Parenthood, and recalculate its budget to reflect serious declines in giving, as pissed off donors — people who thought some things, like breast cancer prevention, for chrissakes, were above political game-playing — divert their philanthropy either directly to Planned Parenthood or to any number of non-political research labs and universities.

I’ve been out in the Southwest for much of the past few weeks, road tripping through the Mojave when not repainting trim and hanging motion detector lights on my sister-in-law’s garage in Phoenix. As I left town the big news, other than the ceaseless, circling-the-drain, buffoonery du jour of this year’s GOP presidential campaign, was the sinking of the gargantuan cruise ship, Costa Concordia. Of particular fascination was the behavior, soon to be deemed officially criminal, of the ship’s captain, one Francesco Schettino.

By now the entire world knows that not only did Capt. Schettino screw up his most basic job, the piloting of his $450 million ship, mashing it into rocks while apparently showing it off for a buddy, or trying to impress chicks on shore, I’m not sure which, but then compounded his eternal ignominy by setting off in a lifeboat while (at least) hundreds of passengers and crew were still on board. In the annals of the worst examples of command, seamanship and male valor the name of Francesco Schettino will live forever, at least as infamous as, oh, I don’t know Vidkun Quisling and Steve Bartman.

To behold a person or an episode in which at every moment a decision was required the wrong decision was made, with indisputably, unequivocally disastrous results that only bring, justified, shame and disrepute on the person(s) involved is to witness An Absolutely Total Schettino.

So it is with Ms. Brinker, Ms. Handel and the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation which allowed someone to bring a prominent ideologue like Handel into the organization. But so it also is with … you got it … today’s Republican party.

Fraudulent command and navigation, resulting in entirely predictable foundering (think de-regulated financial markets, politicized cooking of military intelligence, demanding austerity amid a pounding recession, and gridlocking the wheels of governments for months on end for transparently political reasons) followed by an astounding run of shameful, public embarrassments. It’s your modern Republicans … without the snappy captain’s hat and white shorts.

If only, like Captain Schettino, Mitt “I’m not concerned about the poor” Romney and Newt “I’m a historian for hire” Gingrich, could be confined to their home(s) and advised by their attorneys to say nothing until arraignment.

Like Capt. Schettino claiming he was supervising his destroyed ship’s evacuation … while he was either in a life boat or on shore having a cappucino, the modern Republican party, imbued with its lethal fervor of religious certainty and self-righteousness, talk radio bombast and undisclosed billionaires’ lucre (the Dems can only cop to one of that three) has flipped the company cruise liner’s credibility on its side as a consequence of saying … whatever … will save their ass … until either a better lawyer shows up, or their cousin, Fredo, throws a canvas bag over their head and runs them across the Straits of Messina to a Sicilian hill town and a new identity.

The whole party has made a laughingstock of itself. Vain, incompetent and craven. Utterly Schettino. From Mittens and Newt (and Michele and Rick and The Donald and Herman) to Kurt Zellers, Warren Limmer, Steve “The Draz” Drazkowski, Dave Thompson, Amy Koch and Michael Brodkorb here in Minnesota

If there was another word better and more accurate than “disgraceful” for the way Romney and Gingrich have campaigned to date, I’d use it. But the word doesn’t exist. Although, “farcical” would come close if it weren’t for the fact a fat chunk of the general public, like the Costa Concordia passengers trapped below the water line, are prepared to follow Capt. Schettino to their cold, watery grave … if it means never having to call a black guy, “Captain”.

Not that I’m hoping the GOP’s Absolute Total Schettino episode ends any time soon. The whole, gaseous, brawling, whining, prevaricating spectacle makes me feel kind of Italian. Well, Roman anyway. Like at the Colosseum, watching a motley pack of doltish buffoons warm up the lions’ teeth before the real gladiators get down to business.

14 thoughts on “An Absolute Total Schettino

  1. Mike Kennedy says:

    Painting and hanging motion detector lights huh? I wondered what has been causing you to keep it inside for so long. Get it out more often, Brian. It’s not good to hold it in. I agree with you on the folly of the modern Republican party. A victory was almost teed up for them but they will find a way to botch it. What stuns me is that it’s as close as it is in the polls. But then Mr. Obama’s stratospheric popularity numbers have returned to earth, as we all knew they would.

    1. Erik says:

      Hanging motion detectors in the southwest for a racist who wants to keep brown people off their property must be a bit of a moral quandary for you Lambo. Or may not if you need the work. But it certainly seems at odds with that very refined righteousness of yours.

  2. Matt says:

    I couldn’t agree more but I think you’re preaching to the choir. Use shorter words and maybe add a few sensational pics or short video clips and you just might reach a small percent of the folks on the lower decks.

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Festus–As always the master of the unexpected yet perfectly ironical visual juxtaposition. Well done!

  3. Ellen says:

    Now I’m going to throw a name out there to see how you all respond. What if Jeb Bush would have been in this race? Yes? No? Would that dog have teeth? I think so.

    1. Jeremy Powers says:

      ONLY a hard-core Republican would think another Bush would be a good idea. Dad was barely passable. Junior will go down in history as the fifth worst president of all time, moving miserable Millard Fillmore out of the worst 10 percent. All we Democrats would have to do is run 10-second spots with a picture of W and the words: Really, Bush again? Jeb wouldn’t even win Florida.

      I think the Republican mantra of “We HATE Obama!” is wearing thin on most voters. When the dust cleared from his first two years, people started to realize that keeping your kid on your health insurance is a good idea and bailing out the car companies paid off. Combine that with the utterly stupid agenda the Tea Party Republicans have straddled the pseudo-normal Republicans and they have absolutely ZERO to run on except driving a stake into the heart of the middle class, which won’t play in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

      The ONLY way Republicans won’t get creamed is if they can find a personable and moderate – check that, VERY moderate – Latino. NOT Sen. Marco Rubio, who is somewhere to the right of Genghis Kahn. And it probably won’t be enough paired with poor little rich kid and dog torturer Willard Mitt Romney, who apparently like the taste of toe jam. (“I know what it’s like to be homeless. Some of my friends are in escrow.”)

  4. john sherman says:

    Komen hired Ari Fischer, at he modestly said reduced rates, to advise them on personnel. If you’re going to screw things up, hire a pro–at screwing things up.

  5. Dennis Lang says:

    Sorry Crowd–Didn’t know where this could be best posted so this Lambert article was convenient. Check out the link following.

    I wonder how this sort of revelation of personal behavior would have effected JFKs’ electability in 1960 or his re-election given the opportunity in 1964. How might it impact a candidate today? How about a sitting President? (Perhaps I should know the answer as we see so many public figures drop away because of their private behavior and of course we saw what happened to Clinton). Any thoughts? JFK was Camelot in his day (as I very vaguely recall).

    http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/02/05/mimi_alford_jfk_pressured_19_year_old_mistress_to_perform_oral_sex_do_drugs_.html?from=rss/&wpisrc=newsletter_slatest

  6. Joe Loveland says:

    It would have sunk him. He was elected in a close election, so he only had a small margin of error. If Monica Lewinksy had been 19 and had been encouraged to do drugs, that would have been a much bigger deal, and I suspect the electorate would have been less tolerant in the early 1960s.

    1. The Today show spent about 15 minutes interviewing Mimi Alford, the stunning 19 year old (at the time) who JFK supposedly bedded. Don’t think I’ll read her new book — not much interested in the details, but she always called him “Mr. President.” The one detail is that he never kissed her (did everything else but that). Weird. Wonder how many in the press corps knew about this and his other conquests. She now says she feels guilty about not feeling guilty about Mrs. Kennedy at the time.

      1. PM says:

        Yeah, i have read some of the extended excerpts–JFK was one sick guy. the kissing thing reminds me of a line from Analyze This:

        Billy Crystal: “What can you do with a mistress you can’t do with your wife?”
        DeNiro: “Blowjobs”
        Billy Crystal: “Why can’t your wife give you a blowjob?”
        DeNiro: “Hey! Those are the lips that kiss my children!”

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