Lone Star Rising


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Wednesday, Nov. 3

Imagine, if you will, that the 2010 midterm elections—-whose dust still settles with a few yet-decided races—-were like the predicament of the Scandinavian god Thor, master of thunder, whose hammer was known to hurl around the moon, returning to split the earth like vengeance from god, which it was.

For purposes of metaphor, let’s say that Thor represents the American people—restless, moody, quick to anger, slow between the ears when it comes to long-range vision and patient constructions. Thor was unhappy with the state of things in Valhalla – tribute from humanity in decline, votive idols left unattended in moor and on height, harder times in the gold halls of lazy, self-centered pursuits.

Thor was bored, too, was same old same old Valkyrie nonsense, you know, those birds in the stable overspending on makeup and pushup-bras, campaigning for better healthcare benefits for all the bastard children Thor had sired in his aeon-long chicken-coop romps, overtaxing his testosterone with Heaven-sponsored Valkyrie orgies, three-somes and thirty-three somes which sapped too much precious Rumplemintz from the bull-marbles of the god.

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Time for a change, Thor reflected from the cloudy ramparts of Valhalla as the svelte Nordic rabble chicken-crooned on from within. So he took a big breath and leapt out of the sky, hurling earthward using his tunic for a chute.

When he landed, it was Saturday night and he was outside Hogeye, Texas, a bleak staunch Republican town where the Tea Party maintained a roadhouse named Palin’s Cowboy Palace of Sin on the state highway between Hogeye and those ‘burgs further south down the ancient evolutionary trail like Neanderthaltown and Homo Erectionville.

Let’s say that Palin’s Cowboy Palace of Sin represents a lil’ GOP strange for dudes in desperate need so somewhere to go to vent their collective, bemoaning-the-range, Saturday-night angst.

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Inside Palin’s Palace Thor could hear a honky tonk band wheeling out a blistering, whiskied-up two-step he couldn’t resist. Arranging his tunic to look more like Levi’s and a checkered shirt with string bow tie, Thor paid the cover at the door with a gold torc and strode into the smoky den of right-winged iniquities.

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O it was a charnel house indeed, burning with resentments, fights breaking out up and down the bar in lieu of having any actual trembling Obama supporter or tree hugger to inspire a proper stomping by racists and/or fascists.

The band went by the name of U.S. Chamber and its songs sounded like negative attack ads in Western Swing rhythm at punk-rock volumes, lyrics sung by a front man who looked like Sean Hannity in cowboy drag, dripping with innuendo and vilification of Democrats. The guitar player whipped out bluesy riffs in and around and through the twang and looked like bastard offspring of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Ann Coulter, vaguely Nordic (which he liked) yet bad, bad, bad to the bone, dealing out riffs like they were pure spleen, burning tumbleweeds whirling across the frozen hard-scrabble midnight between nowhere and Hell.

The crowd of dancers loved it, mashing the idea of all-out patriotic revolt of into the grimy, vomit- and blood-stained floor with something between rage and glee. There were pictures of these same opponents grossly misrepresented in obscene cartoons printed on the cocktail napkins and on every sheet of toilet paper in the rank bathrooms marked “Fillies” and “Stallions.”

The American flag, in all its glory, hung behind the bar alongside Confederate and Nazi flags.

A breath of fresh air, Thor sighed, ambling up to the bar where he ordered up a draft of cold Bud and three shots of Rebel Yell.

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The ensemble of booze lifted to his lips and disappeared faster than a bolt of lightning across a summer night’s sky.

He ordered up again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And leaned back against the bar to enjoy the band, turning around after every song to order up again.

Around midnight, right- (or empty-) minded once again, Thor sighed and looked down the bar to check out the action. Let’s see: A redhead in a beehive where a few cigarettes had been parked, one of them still smouldering; a washed-out blonde eating pickled eggs with a trucker who had tattoos of evilly-tortured MS-NBC pundits up and down his bulging arms; and finally, there at the end of the bar, wearing an improbably sultry red dress, with a figure like an hourglass about to burst sand from both bells, with long black hair almost blue, the bloodiest red-lipsticked mouth sucking languidly on a rind of lemon, blue eyes staring directly at him was her, just the one he’d been looking for.

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pic: dita

Thor ambled down to the end next to her, clearing the way by tossing through the big picture window overlooking the highway a drunken accountant mumbling something about “it’s my money, dammit” who found it hard to explain his newfound Republican radicalism while in mid-air. Everyone edged three feet away from Thor after that except for the woman, who eyed him with keener interest.

“Whass your name?” Thor asked thickly, his voice as deeply resonant as a strolling thunderboom. You could see her barstool tremble a bit, whether from the bass in his voice or the response it elicited from her netherer regions.

Still, she stayed cool, blowing a smoke ring in his face. Then she smiled dimly.

“Darlene,” she shouted above din of the band.

“Buy ya drink?” Thor wasn’t used to having to ask for anything, but this was a night for Change. Thank Odin that most dayside conventions (like civil speech) were chucked nightly at Palin’s.

“Tea Martini,” she shouted back. Paused, looking at him. Blew another smoke ring in his face. “Make it a double. Two bags,” looking down at his crotch, “and two shots.”

Thor ordered up for her and himself and the party for two thus began and ran til closing time, Thor and Darlene knocking back round after round of their poisons, becoming more and more enamored of each other the hazier and darker things get. Thor grew godlike in Darlene’s eyes, like some hero from an ancient old age; Darlene grew curvier and more pliant, aggressively passive where every gal in the Valkyrie stable was aggressively aggressive.

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A gal you could do all kinds of things to, he thought, swimming in that smile which grew into an ocean as they staggered out of Palin’s and climbed into Darlene’s ancient, midnight-blue Buick, flying every whichway down a dark dirt country road that led to a ghastly-looking Airstream trailer so far out there you could hear wolves mixing it up with sabre-tooth tigers for rights to the chops of a fallen mastodon.

Whatever transpired in Darlene’s trailer that late, late night was lost to Thor, who had learned over the millennia to handle his mead but was proved no match that night for Rebel Yell.

When Thor came to early the next morning, his voluptuous conquest was snoring naked and greased from all of the fluids that had lubed and spurted from their bodies through the all-out drunken, hard-fucking night.

Shaking his head to clear the hangover, happy to have found true love at last, he took good second look at Miz Darlene, who turned out to have sleep apnea and was snoring like a rodeo bull with a bad attitude. Thor was amazed at what he found after all the heady, sensual smoke of Election Night clears.

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First of all, Darlene wasn’t so young. Now without makeup, there’s a web of wrinkles round her eyes and mouth and she has a faint moustache. And that voluptuousness he had been so enamored with sags with human gravity, those marvelous breasts he had supped from hanging like loose water balloons down to her waistline.

And the Miss was a Mrs., if the telltale gold ring on her left ring finger was any indication. Married to some interest or other, free to all comers.

Thor considered settling in with this peculiar bedmate, governing the affairs of a god from her Airstream in nowhere. Passing laws and meting out justice with this hag for a handmaiden.

What have I gotten myself into, Thor asked himself in horror: And decided to get the hell outta Dodge lickey-split. Light as a feather, fainter than a baby’s fart on a breezy summer day, the god deftly extricated himself from Darlene’s embrace and sneaky-peted it out the door of her Airstream. Outside, he took a deep breath and exhaled, as if to cleanse his lungs of the night: then lifted suddenly and streaked his way back up to heaven.

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A few mornings later, Thor was walking the ramparts of Valhalla again, having supped the night before on five Valkyries named Anna, Llyana, Vivanna, Olyanna and Svue. His god-balls sang softly, still trembling from the forceful emptying of their contents into an empyrean fivefold pink Swedish Bikini Team mouths in as many minutes.

Thor should have been content, but he couldn’t get that damn Darlene out of his mind. Now, he couldn’t figure it out – she had turned out to be so desperately mortal, banal and dull and old where he had expected new fireworks, a soaring sort of love which could redeem everything. You know, like a triumphant Tea Party march on Washington.

But what did he expect? Politics is politics, no matter how you mix it up, whether on heaven or on earth.

He sighed. And then it occurred to him: He never did tell Darlene who he was. The point was important, at least to Thor: That guy who’d gotten into her spandex pantsuit the previous Saturday night was none other than a god. More god than Fabio or Waylon Jennings or newly-re-elected Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry. What a disservice he would be doing to not let her know who was she had lucked out with for that one night in history. Never again would she have so starry a one-night stand in heaven. Or so he thought. Gods—like electorates– are mighty, but not mighty smart. Just because the engine’s running, it don’t mean that anyone’s driving.

So Thor took another deep breath and leapt over Heaven’s ramparts, falling miles and miles down to the earth, with his tunic plopping out like a parachute at the last minute to assure a soft landing, right outside Palin’s Palace of Sin, shuttered up at this hour of 8 a.m. like a campaign finance PAC deserting the airwaves and returning to its regular business of making millions of dollars of the power elites they had gotten elected.

Thor followed the road down the long miles into prehistory, coming at last to Darlene’s dirty Airstream trailer which, in daylight, he discovered to be sitting on the exact spot where archeologists found the oldest fossil remains of human beings, dated at some 3 million years. Figures.

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He hesitated as he stood at the door to the trailer: then knocked.

Nothing.

Knocked again, his brute knuckles sounding like mortar shells exploding against the aluminum shell.

Still nothing.

Knocked a third time, rocking the trailer so badly that finally an irrated female voice sounded from within.

“Who the fuck is it?”

Thor knew how the ritual must work. “You have to come to the door to find out.”

Silence, then murmuring, the rustling of sheets and/or clothing.

First to the door is the accountant that Thor had unceremoniously thrown through the plate glass window of Palin’s Palace of Sin. He’s wearing this not-gonna-take-any-shit-any-more, definitely-gonna-kick-some-ass look on his face. But when he saw who was standing outside at the threshold–a dude morphed out of the pages of Marvel Comics, his long locks falling in a blonde waterfall over his shoulders, handlebar moustache thicker than rope, built like a pro wrestler and hung like John Holmes (the god’s hammer-haft is only a few inches longer, bumping menacingly at the deity’s leather-embuckled knee)–the accountant, whose name was Lester, thought better, went back inside, and then crashed through the living room window all by himself, saving Thor, he figured, the trouble, and ran off down the road butt-naked except for black cowboy boots and more than happy to survive into the next election cycle.

Darlene appeared, next wondering what the fuck is going on, smoking a cigarette, eyes veiled with the next night’s hangover and revealing just a glint of the smitten-forlorn.

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Thor cleared his throat, no pal of human niceties.

“I’m Thor.”

“You’re still thor?” Darlene spat. “I thought I had it bad. I was so thor I could hardly powdy-puff my face.”

Realizing that Darlene would never get it, Thor kissed her on her rouged and wrinkly cheek and walked off back down the road to eternity.

And that was that between Thor and Darlene, or, if you will, between the American public and the grievous GOP marketing machine.

Til next Saturday night, at least.

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Thursday, November 4

In the pendulous swing of American history’s freedom-filled mammaries, it must be a milky comfort to ex-President George Bush that the Republican hegemony in Washington he was once the symbol of has been won so convincingly in the House of Representatives and busted the filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate.

Perhaps it does feel to him the South is rising again – or rather, Texas, that mighty state of gumption and all things big and Republican red, from business to religion, politics, sports, boobs and big-talkin’ boobery.

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George Bush is not tall, but he still wears big Texan boots. For a no-brainer kind of guy (he hearkens back to the action figures of the 2d millennium BC, before the emergence of human consciousness), he does remember his former glories with Texan relish.

Back in 2000, Carl Rove had promised a Republican supremacy with George Bush leading the way to Washington. Rove, whom many account as Bush’s brain (Bush’s own epithet for Rove was Boy Genius or, alternately, Turd Blossom), used Bush to cement a Republican power base which could last for decades with the proper amount of dicking, such as placing incompetent cronies in agencies they meant to dismantle,  opening every back door to corporate influence, and using signing statements by the President to give the finger to legislation he would do his best to deball.

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(Another voice in George Bush’s head was Dick Cheney’s, who whispered hawkish stratagems and cowboyish proclamations into his ear through tiny speakers sewn into his bedside pillows.)

(The third, of course, was God Hisself.)

Oh, the future looked bright for Republicans back in ‘00, once the Florida Supreme court stopped a vote count which was headed Al Gore’s way. The party was on, with corporate jets lined up to ferry fellow Texan and speaker of the house Tom Delay (“The Hammer”) to his next assignation.

Then came 9/11 and the party became a patriotic firestorm, a proper Texan stomp on the jar-head terrorist-with-weapons-of-mass-destruction-Hydra by big American boots – remember Shock and Awe?

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If only those damned Eye-Rackies had not become a human boil of resentment unleashed upon American troops and each other and the short victorious military campaign become an long and violent occupation battling an ungrateful counter-insurgency.

If only the financial industry had waited just a mere six more months to collapse as everyone knew it would, bloated on de-regulated and largely unknown financial instruments designed to make the Wall Street fat cats even fatter.

If only the spoil of greed was not ruination. First came the lobbying scandal of Jack Abramov (where the lid of payola by corporations to DeLay and his cronies was lifted), then the collapse of Bear Stearns, which famously ridiculed Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s “let the boys race” attitude toward keeping the financial industry unregulated, rather rosily asserting that the industry knew how to police itself.

If only an unmanageable war and a prematurely devastated economy hadn’t been burning at the gates of Washington during the Presidential election season of 2008, Republicans would have continued their dynasty.

But another alternate party running on the same platform of Change which had worked for Republicans and Democrats alike since Jimmy Carter toot-and-hooted their way into the White House and both houses of Congress, sweeping aside the Republican empire like an El Paso hooker flea-flicking a drunken cowboy with offering nothing more than a limp pecker in his hand.

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And so it was over, and George Bush, the ur-symbol of that former now vilified hegemony, retired from all view to his ranch at Crawford. (Republican presidents, who apparently never saw their official duties as public service as much as corporate enterprise, have all retired the way CEOs do.)

George was free in his new anonymity to clear brush and drive his pickup into town and sit on his porch and watch the Texas sunset, free just to languish, perhaps remember the good old days in the kingdom. Perhaps, on that last one: memory is a conscious activity, and consciousness is not quality normally ascribed to a man who admitted to never cracking a book and never expressed any interest in the complex undercurrent of events. Exiled King George seemed happy with his retirement, finished with taking all of those surreptitious left hooks of derision as he stood in the limelight butchering the conventions of English with statements such as “”Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” and “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”

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(Sarah Palin, as an inheritor of the trend begun by Bush of selecting boobs for leaders—an American reflection, perhaps, of the marginalization of independent thought–would find new ways of torturing a sentence to get through her talking points. Such as when, at a 2008 fundraiser in Greenville, North Carolina, she said; “We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. … We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.” Zombies are more coherent than Sarah Palin, but then perhaps that’s the point.)

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Two years later, George Bush must feel aflush with something akin to vindication. But only akin. I mean, no one was waving pictures of lGeorge W. Bush during the heated political season. And a different type of Republican is leading the vanguard of rage back into Washington.

Their anger makes his skin creep, for he knows that what these motivated Americans are most pissed off about are Republican policies of his Administration which the GOP PR wonks have effectively hung on Democrats, using Socialism as a the mean old wolf’s  pelt the old Republican power-junkies could hide their stanky shenanagans inside.

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Bush knows better than to correct them. Don’t expect his memoir Decision Points, due to be released in a few days, to be of any more insightful caliber than Reagan’s diaries, clearing the brush of the Bush legacy with talking points instead of insight. Remember, Bush is old-style–I mean, 2d millennium BC-style, the king whose authority came from voices inside his head – Rove, Cheney, Gawd.

(One of the great get-out-the-vote characterizations of Bush was that of a saved Christian who got personal guidance on matters of authority from the Big Big Guy in Heaven. That image, no matter how cobbled together from that of a party animal who had the handle Gin and Tonic when he was a Yale frat boy, was enough to stream the bluehaired masses of church ladies into polling booths to vote for GW (much to the glee of Bush’s corporate handlers).

Even with the publication of a 500-page-plus memoir, Bush will keep his mouth shut for the Party’s party’s sake. That isn’t easy for a constitutionally and geographically cocksure Texan to do. But George knows which side his bread is buttered on. Expect lots of Decisions but no troubling details.

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A cut and dry time was his in Washington, effortless as a moron’s afternoon, full of the assured ease of spitting tobacco juice on a scorpion, or bull-whipping an unruly Negro: you did things because you were so damn right, no matter what the truth actually was. He was The Decider (thus, fer sure, the tie-in to Decision Points) -– never so much a function of the man except as servant of the Christian god who spoke to him and him alone on matters great and small.

George’s sense of almost-vindication is really the Party’s, for Republicans know they are getting back a greater share of a mess they created and maybe be too big now for any party to fix. Republicans re-assured election in 2010 by stonewalling the first two years of President Obama’a administration, voting as a wall –- albeit not a big enough one to matter –- against every initiative. Let the Dems take the credit for trying to fix that bloated, sunken, unfixable mess -– then you can blame them for all of it.

It worked, but now with reins at least partially back in their hands, the problem is much different. Broken Washington is strangely like a horse which refuses to be broken, a nasty bronc which will surely toss any Party who tries to out on their ass.

Well, with the boisterous House as their squawk-box, Republicans can spend another two years blaming Obama and Co., sending every sort of cantankerous law on to the Senate where it will get voted down there or vetoed by Obama, building their case for an even more contentious and contemptuous run in the Presidential election of 2012.

But this new wave of Republicans flowing into Washington are a bilious brew, not a solid wall of goose-steppers as before but carrying in its ranks (and perhaps given primary authority by) a raucous rabble of independent Tea-Partiers. These are uncomfy bedmates to be sure, folks who would rather burn Congress down to its foundations as legislate any effective change. (It is rumored that the conservative elites are now puzzling how to derail Sarah Palin from a 2012 Presidential run, thinking that Obama would have the surest chance of re-election running against the likes of Palin. But as P.T. Barnum once famously said, one should never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.)

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A pyrrhic victory, then, for Bush’s class of ’00 and ‘04, like proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” when one colossal victory on the battlefield has actually only spread the black wings of an unwinnable war, a mission without real purpose or end, become 40 years in the wilderness, the voice of God silent except where the PR guys have dummied one up.

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George’s pain might be eased in knowing that all is well, Republican-wise, in Texas, a greater state in every way than that United one. Republicans won everything in the Nov. 2 elections – governor’s mansion and both houses of the state congress. The Texan economy is the most robust of any state in the union, adding most of the jobs in the nation’s recovery.

But these things, too, amount to what is only a pyrrhic victory to ex-King George, because Texas sports is belly-flopping in a shit-hole wearing its mama’s underpants. To wit:

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– The Cowboys suck, suck, suck, losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday 35-17 in brand new Cowboys Cathedral Stadium. They’re now 1-6 on the year, tied with Carolina for the worst record in the NFC.

– Those sorry-ass Houston Texans, who have the 32d-worst defense in the NFL, got picked apart by Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, 30-17. They’re now 4-3.

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– The Jesus H. Christ University of Texas Longhorns are 4-4 after losing to the Baylor I mean Baylor fucking Bears fer Chrissakes, once yesterday’s buttwipe for every other Big 12 team.

The only football team in Texas to warm a range-frozen heart are those Horny Toads of TCU, unbeaten so far this year, big fish in an unfortunately small pond and unlikely to stand up against the likes of Oregon or Auburn or Alabama.

– The Houston Rockets are 0-3 so far on the season, and everyone’s starting to wonder about them. Aging, heavy-footed, with that lumbering skyscraper Yao Ming looking like a confused Chinese manufacturer at an inflatable fillie sex doll convention, they don’t look to stand a chance against the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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World Series MVP Edgar Renteria gives the Giants the lead for good with a two-out, three-run home run off Rangers ace Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the Worlds Series.

– And don’t even get poor George going on those Texas Rangers, shee-it, eliminated from the World Series on Monday night after losing to the San Francisco Giants 3-1. Only one victory in five games. You’d think a former property of GW Bush would have the decency to perform like proper Texans, stomping those tree-hugging Giants the way the finished off those liber’l New York Yankees to gain entrance to the series.

But the only game they managed to win in losing the World Series was Game 3 — the only one George W. didn’t attend. How can a Texan stand to look hisself in the mirror knowing that his baseball team has been taken down like a Brokeback Mountain dude by a feeble beehived man in waitress-drag who hails from that ulta-socialist, blue-to-the-balls, anti-Christian pothead Mekkuh of San Francisco?

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Well, you can put your boots in the oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.

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Well, fuck ‘em all. Texans still have things to hold their heads high over. No respecter of intellectual prowess – leave that to uppity Ivy League East-Coasters, they can take a certain pride that Houston was recently named the fourth-dumbest city in the country (based on factors like the percentage of its population holding BA’s and the number of  libraries within city limits) with Dallas and San Antonio on either side of them in the cellar. They weren’t the plumb dumbest (reserve that honor for Las Vegas, dumber than dumb in its support of mindless—extra Texan—pleasures and voting back in Harry Reid), but dumb enough to keep Republicans in office, look the other way on corporate cronyism and be sure to teach creationism in schools. Texans love truth—you know, beliefs that so surely ought to be true that laws are passed to ensure they will be.

Yes, there’s nothing like a Cowboy Conservative to bring the rich man’s bacon home.

Like there’s nothing like fully stacked cowgirl to keep the home-away-from-home fires glowing.

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And there’s nothing like a Texan’s balls to bully back from Nowhere, that vast flat scrub of hardtack real estate Texans so endearingly call the Lone Star State.

So crack a smile for us, George, alone on the porch their in  the satiate glow of the Texan twilight, skies all Republican red and Darlene pink, someone off in the cookingg shed playing a lonely plains air on a harmonica, dinner soon served up inside by Laura, your food, your  retirement and your legacy all blessed by the God of the Texas Board of Education who now say school textbooks must say that the world was created by God and ruled best of all by George.

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Ex-President George Bush’s ranch complex in Crawford.

Don’t be troubled by the Texas Cowboys or Rangers: A better team can always be bought.

Just like in politics.

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Rick Perry celebrates winning the governorship for a third term on Tuesday night.

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Friday, Nov. 4

It is highly ironic that the fiercest Chase in recent memory – Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are tighter than bark on a tree, separated by a mere 38 points – comes at the very time when NASCAR has never seemed so irrelevant to the American public, perhaps not since it began making regular appearances on TV.

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You can’t fault the contenders, really. The Johnson-Hamlin-Harvick matchup is perfect, with the laid-back, technically-masterful Johnson going at it against a silent yet determined Hamlin and balls-to-the-walls Harvick. A three-way race to the finish from here on, but something tells me that in the end, it will come down to just two. When I watched Harvick and Johnson battle for the finish in the one of the Gatorade Duels at the start of the finish (Johnson beat him by a hair), I thought to myself, that’s how the season’s gonna finish.

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This is how things looked at the end of the second Gatorade Duel during Speed Weeks at Daytona last February. It may look the same at Homestead in a couple of weeks.

We’ll see. Hamlin may end up beating both of them like a rented mule. He’s made a run despite the handicaps of a torn knee ligament (from a pickup basktetball game) and that horrid statement he made at Richmond when he captured the checkered flag. “All we do is win,” he exulted. The next week at Sonoma he finished 34th, and it was 11 races later until he won again. Foolishness and hubris have kept Hamlin a short-hair behind Johnson, but you have to give the boy some respect, ‘cause he races more like Johnson than anyone else – no fireworks, always up in front.

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But all the excitement of this year’s Chase may not mean enough to a sport which is deflating faster than a Democrat’s ambitions anywhere in Texas. The official estimate of last Sunday’s race at Talladega—an exciting enough race, by NASCAR standards, fast and dangerous with more lead changes than a Dallas socialite swaps out hairdoes–was 110,000 (Monte Dutton, who reported on the race and was there, set it closer to 98,000). That’s down from 123,000 in the spring race, down from 142,000 in the spring 2009 race, down from 170,000 in 2003. In Texan terms, that’s all hat and no cattle.

Monte Dutton reflected on the conundrum in his piece, “Who Knows Why the Bubble Burst.” There are obvious problems in the economy, and the falling and rising stars of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson may be sufficiently pissing off fans. But he then reflected that what’s happened to NASCAR is what happened to the stock market in the late ‘90s and more currently in real estate market: a fast-rising bubble of popularity – and wealth – outgrew itself and then collapsed, like a Ponzi scheme, for lack of enough fast new growth. “It’s still big, but not as big,” he writes.

I think Dutton’s being rather charitable. No one likes how fast real estate prices are falling, and everyone asserts that the turnaround is not that far off, but the reality could be much, much worse than anyone wants, with real estate depressing far below the values properties were at before the boom began.  That’s the problem with bubbles: the faster your rise, the harder you fall.

NASCAR is and is not to blame for this bubble. They obviously got greedy and tried to grow the sport beyond its britches, reaching out to fickle younger audiences (while disaffecting the loyal base) who stuck around for a while and then drifted back off, content with iRacing and the distraction of more violent and/or sexy activities. (That’s the conclusion I made at the end of my previous post, What Really Scares Me about Talladega.”)

It is surely galling to Johnson and Hamlin and Harvick, who have been putting on the best show every week racing for the Sprint Cup, that their thrilling performances fall on ever-more-dulled eyes.

Sadly then, whoever takes the championship in Homestead, it will surely be a pyrrhic victory, something akin to the Republicans’ 50-seat gain in the House of Representatives in a Washington which will remain Democratic in the main for at least another two years. It’s just the next Chase in the same old NASCAR, the next Change to assault the indomitable Beltway. All the rule changes in NASCAR or spirited speeches to come in the House don’t change the fact that NASCAR is still France Corporation, a privately held firm whose main responsibility is its billionaire owners. The same way that Congress is still trapped in Washington, a place that’s crooked as a barrel of snakes and leaves a politician who dares to enter its fray looking like someone who’s been rode hard and put up wet. And nothing gets done.

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I’ll bet that King George of Crawford is looking forward to the Triple-A 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. It  promises to spit-shine racin’ with Texas glory. I mean, it’s gonna be a real race this time, with Johnson and Hamlin and Harvick running so close. A dynasty could fall in Texas with a new one crowned there: But know one knows who. Sunday’s outcome at Texas Motor Speedway is darker than midnight under a skillet.

There’s hope, yessiree. Republicans back in the saddle and the next NASCAR champion riding off into the Texan sunset.

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If only those three drivers weren’t coasters –- Johnson and Harvick from California, Hamlin from Virginny. Heck, the only Texans in Sprint Cup competition this year are Bobby Labonte (ranked 31st) and Robert Richardson (54th). )The two of ‘em finished dead last among the unwrecked or otherwise undamaged at Tallaega last weekend.

Not much to hang your Stetson on, George.

Well, you can tell a Texan, but you can’t tell him much. Texans live in one of the dreariest landscapes in the country, but their tall cowyboy hats are brimming with dreams of glory. For their next Saturday night at Palin’s Cowyboy Palace of Sin. Or up in a Democrat-free heaven, all the donkeys shoved off the trail down into Hell’s abyss where they belong. Or attending cotillions in the governor’s mansion, served up drinks by blacks in white uniforms, strolling through moonlit gardens carefully attended by invisible Hispanics.

Or putting your boots up on the desk of the Oval Office, doing Lady Liberty the Texan way.

A Texan dreams big, you know.

Big, as in a Dallas stripper’s bustline.

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Big, as the cathedral reaches of the brand new Cowboys stadium.

Big as in rich, with more than 350,000 millionaires in the state.

Big as in big poverty — more than 4.262 million Texans (17 percent) live beneath the poverty level, making the second-largest state in the Union the 8th poorest.

Big, as in the number of executions, killing inmates 4 times more frequently than any other state.

Big as in the number of combat fatalities in the Iraq-Afghanistan conflicts, second only to California in young men and women dying for their state, I mean, country.

And big as George W. Bush’s old vision of himself as the Reagan of the 00’s. That grand dream was greatly tarnished, however, by all of them pyrrhic victories effected by the Liberal Plot otherwise known as History.

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But George wouldn’t use a phrase like “pyrrhic victory,” which sounds like something a New Yorker would say over fish eggs and a Shirley Temple. Instead, he’d call his twist of fate catty whuompus, destiny that somehow got out of line.

Catty whompus is George W. Bush sitting on his porch at Crawford thinking that November 4, 2010 was Retribution Day for Republicans and God, and then looking at the view of wasteland from his porch. It’s turning his thoughts then to the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns and the Texas Rangers. It’s thinking about the Saturday’s Triple-A 500 and forseeing no decent Texan in Victory Row.

A real frog-strangler on the reign of George, know what I mean?

But then, no one remembers next week how the game was won. A V is a V.

Especially if you’re a W, where if in your mind you’re a Texan, and that’s all that counts.

p.s. Texas is bigger than California, ha ha.

And France.

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