Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 10, 2013

We the People: Grandstanding and buffoonery

By Clyde Ussery
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Winter had gone into overtime, and the days were dreary. Then along came C-PAC, or as Republican campaign adviser Steve Schmidt called it, “the Star Wars alien bar scene.” It was a combination group-therapy session, pity party, and snarkfest. The all-star lineup of speakers included recycled has-beens, leftovers from the 2012 primary, and ambitious wannabes that Sen. McCain called “whacko birds.” Chris Christie didn’t make the list because he is no longer conservative enough. While doing his job as governor during a natural disaster he made the mistake of touching the President of the United States.

In addition to the name calling, back stabbing and vitriol, there were discussion panels that wrestled with whimsical topics like “Should we shoot all the consultants now?” and “Bringing tolerance out of the closet.” And not one minute too soon! ”Are you sick and tired of being called a racist?” was an unfortunate choice since one of the participants made the case for slavery, or as they say in South Carolina, “imported African labor.” That the woman who objected was the one who was booed probably didn’t help either.

There were emotional arguments and soul-searching about the lost election, what went wrong and how to fix it before Democrats destroyed civilization. One sticky problem: what to do about minority voters and how to get their votes without changing anything. Ego is a great incubator of stupid ideas, and Donald Trump never disappoints. He believes the solution is to recruit European immigrants. Someone else suggested a way to bring Latinos into the tent was to learn 50 words of Spanish. If that doesn’t win them over, maybe they could convince them not to vote.

As far as I know, the fact that they lost the election because voters were not buying what they were selling never came up in the discussion. They saw the problem as poor marketing instead of a flawed product, and seemed determined to stick with the same message. In this day of instant news it is hard to take a bad message and make it look better.

Gov. Romney was the only one who didn’t seem to think there was a problem. Republicans have never been overwhelmed with love for Mitt, and I got the feeling they were bidding him farewell. They seemed to say, “Go away Mitt, your trip to the White House was cancelled; take the dog down off the top of the car.” A story recently surfaced that could have been a bonanza for comedians. It seems that during the 2012 Republican primary Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum planned to topple Romney with a so-called “Unity Ticket.” But the plan fell apart when they couldn’t agree on which one would get to be president. Who could possibly have seen that coming?

C-PAC was great spectator sport, the real March Madness. And if winter refuses to go away and the doldrums recur, I have an ace in the hole: the image in my memory of Michele Bachmann clutching a big red apple while trying to outrun a reporter. The picture begs for a caption. I am torn between “Rushing home to share with Adam,” and “On the way to Snow White’s house.”

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This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at