Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"Mofo" Is Not A Spanish Word

I love the title of this book. It's the perfect send-off line for hated politicians everywhere. Mine's a long list, but at the top of my head are several, including one James Richard Perry.

'Adios, Mofo!'
In 6 August, the governor of Texas led a 30,000-strong prayer rally at a Houston stadium - one of the strongest signals of his intent to join the race to be the Republican Party's presidential candidate.

Anticipating that, New York Times best-selling author James C Moore proposed a book that maybe suggests why it would be a bad idea to put him in the Oval Office. Publisher Henry Holt took it on, but after the manuscript was completed, Perry's polling numbers slumped as it became clear that he's not quite what the party had in mind as a credible adversary to Obama.

The gaffes might have something to do with that.

In a debate, he couldn't remember one of the government departments he wanted to axe as part of spending cuts (Department of Energy). He forgot that the legal voting age in the US was 18, not 21. In an interview, he couldn't recall the name of a US Supreme Court judge. He mistakenly called a bankrupt energy company a "country". And the list goes on.

Anyway, Henry Holt cancelled the book. But Moore and co-author Jason Stanford decided to publish the book on the Amazon Kindle. The "engaging, imminently readable book," said Mary Pauline Lowry in the Huffington Post, "has moved several times into the Top 10 political titles on Amazon, providing another heartening example of the way e-books and the Internet are helping authors to regain agency over their work."

In Adios, Mofo: Why Rick Perry Will Make America Miss George W. Bush, Moore and Stanford chart the rise of this dude from Paint Creek, West Texas to a Republican presidential nominee:

...Who preached abstinence to school kids. And ended up with the most teen births in the country. Opposed gay marriage so vehemently he accidentally turned Texas into the gay marriage capital for post-op transsexuals. Pushed to privatize state highways and created corruption so huge it could be seen from space. Literally.

The air in Rick Perry’s Texas is polluted to the point that some schools have to cancel football practice because it is dangerous to breathe. His state budget is such a mess that his cuts threaten the jobs of 100,000 teachers. Perry campaigns as a “proud American in love with his country.” But he threatened to have Texas secede. Texas is offering America another conservative, so godly, so ineffably manly that not only does he jog with a laser-sighted semi-automatic handgun, but he asked to be on the front page of the paper just to make it abundantly clear that he was most definitely not gay.

...Moore ... teams up with Stanford ... to tell you the unintentionally hilarious stories about how Rick Perry is so bad at governing that it's been said he couldn't lead a silent prayer.

Sold? I am. But here's an excerpt from the book, if you're curious. It describes the scene at that prayer rally.

Even without the book, Perry's uninspiring performances during the debates and press coverage on the man just screams, "Don't vote for this guy!" And he's probably not the worst among the GOP's current line-up of presidential nominees.

Some of us outside the US watching the GOP electoral circus would maybe chortle and delight in this sign of an imminent implosion of, no thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan, an unpopular superpower. But we should all be worried.

While there's no guarantee that Obama will be any better than this lot in his second term, there's the more palpable fear that the next Republican in the White House will, in a way, usher a return to the bad old days of "if you're not with us, you're against us".

The GOP primaries are, at least, being viewed with alarm in Germany, as indicated by a scathing Der Spiegel article. Harper's Magazine contributing editor Scott Horton translated some of the more salient paragraphs, and sums it up for all of us:

"At a time of mounting crisis, when much of the world is looking to the United States for leadership and initiative, the celebration of sleaze and ignorance that has marked the Republican primary is damaging the reputation of the nation as a whole. Even those who despise the G.O.P. should be concerned about the depths to which the party has sunk."

The phrase "Adios, Mofo" became an online sensation after Perry used it in a mocking sign-off to Ted Oberg, a television reporter for ABC. The e-book was released on Amazon Kindle in the US sometime last month.


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