Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 11, 2013

Profundity of rumination

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Let me explain this title for Ron Morgan’s benefit — it means depth of thought or meditation. I experience profundities of rumination on all manner of subjects and often scribe them down in these rants for whatever they are worth.

I have been ruminating lately about the contrasts between Governor Rick (It’s Good To Be the King) Perry of Texas and Rick (I’m no Jeb Bush) Scott of Florida. Both governors are very controversial and they both dominate the front pages of the papers I have read (Dallas Morning News for Perry and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for Scott). In all his close-ups Rick Perry looks like Tommy Lee Jones while Rick Scott bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom Landry with his hat off.

Rick Perry is the longest serving governor in the history of Texas and seems to be gearing up to stand for a fourth full-term in 2014. He is a hard-line conservative who guards the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” like a pit bull, hates all things about the federal government, and has called the Patient Protection Affordable Health Care Act (read Obamacare) “socialism on American soil.”

It is hard to believe that old I.G.T.B.T.K. spent his formative political career as a Texas Democrat. In fact, in 1988, he supported Al Gore for president and worked for his campaign in Texas. Then, for some reason, he switched to the Republican party in 1989 and has evolved into a darling of the Tea Party and the Religious Right. Quite an evolutionary process for a Creationist.

Although his prospects for reelection appear good there is one formidable problem looming on the horizon for I.G.T.B.T.K. I just read where my main man, Kinky Friedman, may take another run at him in 2014. Kinky and his “Bi-Polar World Tour” recently appeared in Dallas and when asked about his candidacy, he stated, “Everything is on the table,” which is political speak for you can count on it. He had a great line which went, “I’m gonna be cremated and I want my ashes spread on Rick Perry’s hair.” How’s that for tact and diplomacy?

Governor Rick Scott’s career contrasts significantly. He was a very successful entrepreneur who, at one time, was co-owner of the Texas Rangers with George W. Bush. Apparently, after a very close Republican primary and an even closer state election (he won by only 1.29 percent of the vote) he is struggling. He campaigned as a Tea Party outsider and defeated the Republican party’s choice in the primary and his top-down, CEO approach has alienated many folks in the Florida Legislature. He only has about a 30 percent approval rating with the voters and the Tea Party is calling him a “Benedict Arnold” because he has supported expansion of early voting hours, increases in education funding, raises for teachers, and accepting expanded Medicaid for Florida (read Obamacare again).

If he can’t get some of his programs passed during this legislative session, improve the Florida economy, and rebuild his public support, he may be out of here. The GOP is showing signs of shopping for another candidate and the Democrats have been touting former Governor Charlie Crist as a general election opponent. Charlie was a Republican when he served in that post before but has since switched to the Democratic Party (shades of I.G.T.B.T.K.). Never has it been more true...“politics makes strange bedfellows.”

Speaking of strange bedfellows, I read on the Yahoo news that Ashley Judd (yes, that Ashley Judd) is being courted by Kentucky Democrats to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. I guess the GOP considers her enough of a legitimate threat that Karl Rove’s “American Crossroads” PAC is already attacking this “liberal elitist” for her radical ideas and on-screen nudity. Surely this is a situation that requires profound rumination.

President Jimmy Carter passed along this story while being interviewed on David Letterman’s show. It seems he was the guest speaker at a business luncheon in Tokyo one time and required an interpreter for his all-Japanese audience.

Like any practiced public speaker, he opened his remarks with a brief joke. After he told the joke, he waited for his translator to relay the joke in Japanese. Even though the story was relatively short, President Carter was surprised at the speed with which the interpreter relayed the message. He was even more surprised by the immediate and hilarious reaction from the crowd. He thought the story was cute but not knee-slapping funny. However, he was very flattered by the reaction and continued on with his speech.

After the speech, he pulled the translator aside to ask him how he had told his joke, thinking he might learn a better way to present it in the future.

The translator smiled and said, “Mr. President, I simply said, ‘President Carter has told a very funny joke. Please laugh now.”’

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com