Even though some are out and some are in, the politicians that are/were in the GOP presidential race still are spreading their goofiness around for all the country to see.
Let's start with my state's gallivanting goober of a governor, Rick Perry. He's back in the news, with yet another "oops" moment!
This one is even stupider than Perry's failure to remember his own lines in a presidential debate. It has to do with his fierce opposition to spending taxpayers' money and his firm stand for rootie-toot-toot rugged individualism. But — oops — Rick keeps failing to remember these principles when it comes to spending taxpayers' money on his own individual desires.
For example, in his grandiose desire to be president, this tightfisted champion of taxpayers dipped liberally into the public till to have Texans subsidize his failed run. Perry essentially abandoned the state and his gubernatorial duties for about six months — but the no-show governor kept billing us for his $150,000-a-year paycheck. It turns out that he was also double-dipping, by taking another $90,000 a year in pension payments — even though he's not retired. Two state checks a month for doing nothing — good work if you can get it!
Wait, there's more. Gov. Tightwad also socked us for at least $3.6 million to pay a covey of state troopers who traveled all over the country with him for his campaign and fundraising events. They helped arrange his trips, escorted him everywhere, did logistical errands and gave him an aura of importance — all on the taxpayers' dime, while he gave speeches ridiculing wasteful government spending.
Perry's excuse for such gross hypocrisy is that it's the law's fault. State troopers are required to "protect" him wherever he travels, explained a spokeswoman. But — oops — how stupid is that? Anyone running for president who can't make an easy executive decision to say "no" to such an unethical waste of taxpayers' money is simply not up to the job — which, obviously, Perry-the-Pretender is not.
And while Rick's out of the race, Newt Gingrich is still in. The disgraced former House speaker and ludicrously pompous presidential pretender is completely befuddled that he just hasn't caught on with voters in this year's GOP primaries.
The Newt was essentially done in January — yet, there he is, still preening around, still posing as America's most visionary thinker, still blurting perverse right-wing poppycock, still hogging the political limelight he loves. If the people would just listen, damn them!
But who needs actual voters to be a presidential player these days? Gingrich's entire campaign consists of six men: Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas of the Supreme Court, and Sheldon Adelson of the Sands Casino empire in Las Vegas. The five Supremes are the ones who unleashed the plague of democracy-destroying corporate cash on our elections, and Adelson is the multibillionaire Republican extremist who has taken rich advantage of the Court's 2010 ruling and foisted Newt upon us.
The casino baron put down a stunning $5 million on Gingrich in South Carolina, then upped the stakes with an eye-popping $5 million more on Newt in Florida, and since then has wagered yet another $6 million on his boy. One man, three months, $16 million. Never mind that Gingrich is way too daffy and detestable to win — Adelson has used him and an unprecedented pile of self-interested money to help shove the GOP and the national debate from the right-wing edge of politics over into the plutocratic/autocratic abyss.
Now through with Gingrich, though, Sheldon is moving his bottomless stash of cash over to Mitt Romney. Trying to stay afloat, poor Newt is asking supporters to go online and buy such campaign ticky-tacky as $7.50 bandanas for their dogs.
Ah, Rick and Newt, thanks for the entertainment.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.