It was not as thrilling as, perhaps, the sight of Dick Cheney on trial for war crimes, but Wednesday's meeting of the South Florida chapter of weepoid conspiracy monger Glenn Beck's 9-12 movement was quite the satisfying experience. This was particularly so as they met under the looming shadow of the re-inauguration of our Kenyan Islamo-Marxist President Barack Obama.
Equally delightful was the presentation to the Beckoids by Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, whose time in office we predict will be terminated next year, along with that of the political albatross he so extravagantly Windsor knotted around his neck that night, Gov. Rick Scott. Atwater slobbered on him like a dog in heat.
The meeting, at the Lantana branch of the county library, began with the rending of garments over the presidential election.
Standing under the twinned banners of the red-white-and-blue and the Gadsden Flag, chairperson Shannon Armstrong testified to her despair on that dark November 6. "Depressed," she said, "we had to find hope," then wisecracked, "We hit a bar." Resolute, however, like guiding light/recovering alcoholic Glenn Beck himself, she vowed "We can't change Washington. But we can make a difference locally."
Okay. Stop. We're indulging in schadenfreude. So let us be clear. These are not bad people. They do Christmas toy drives, and even volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. They quite correctly sense that something is amiss in the Land of the Free, and they are well-intentioned.
But we know what road is paved with those: The 9-12 members' minds are occluded, and they are manipulated by exploitative elites, and their groveling before the political reality evidenced by Obama's re-election is a helping of just desserts. That they lap up the drivel of a politician as banal as Jeff Atwater makes one despair of their salvation.
Outside the confines of a White Citizen's Council meeting it would be hard to imagine a whiter man before a whiter crowd. And while it may be unfair to judge an individual on the basis of appearance, it is oftener than not true: After the age of 40 everyone gets the face they deserve. Atwater is well on the far side of 40, with the vapid, parsimonious (he was a banker by trade before entering politics) baby-face of a parish accountant, which duties--the accountant's--are among those his office includes.
Atwater's Howdy-Doody features and prim, rimless spectacles notwithstanding, he comes across robust, in a syrupy, mealy-mouthed way, dealing out boiler-plate truisms in an autopilot stream of grade school civics. He slavishly patronized the 9-12ers, praising them for charitable works that represent the "core principles" of America--neighbor-to-neighbor stuff without any interference by that nasty old government. It's libertarianism lite, and the 9-12'ers rock it, he sez.
The CFO then explained his job. He's state treasurer, state comptroller and state auditor, all rolled into one. He's also state fire marshall, responsible for arson investigations, and "head mortician." ("I'm still trying to find the nexus on that," he joked.)
He then offered his take on the Florida economy: "Things have started to turn for us." (He credits Rick Scott for that.) The state has a triple-A credit rating, he announced. (Cheers from the crowd.) The state has cut debt and spending. (Thanks to Rick Scott, he sez.)
He worried about the national economy, though, and offered some suggestions. Like raising the retirement age for working Americans. We all live longer since Social Security was established, he noted, well why then shouldn't we spend those extra years with our shoulders to the wheel?
This somehow lead Atwater into thoughts of The Founders, whose sainted, infallible teachings the 9-12ers embody, and for which they are slandered (by The Media, one supposes). "It is not radical to talk about what the founders talked about," he assured them, then referenced a mangled quote from Thomas Jefferson (the creepy, brutal slaveowner).
Question time, and Atwater's asked about Rick Scott's lies about the cost to Florida of Obamacare. He sez Scott's point, all lies aside, was the inevitable expansion of Medicaid, so it's okay the Gov just cooked up some numbers.
He's asked about how he and like-minded conservatives can reach out and not just "preach to the choir." (Um, FoxNews?) Atwater promises to spread the word near and far, to "economic councils, chambers of commerce..."--you know, reg'lar folks.
He's asked about his office's responsibility for the administration of state property. He says there's an inventory of state lands already under way, asking questions like "Is there anything that can't be surplus? Does it truly have environmental value?" (Good point: How many cypress trees do we need, anyway?)
The questions devolved into a litany of praise of the Governor. Rick Scott is bringing industry here, especially "life science players." Rick Scott has a handle on public education, mostly by "not throwing around dollars." Rick Scott has cut back on regulations, which is "really the big deal."
Atwater's doing his bit to cut back on regulations, too, he said, cutting 49 different types of insurance licenses down to seven. (Our insurance rates have gone down, as a result. Oh wait. Actually, no.) Does he have any input on rates at insurer of last resort Citizen's, he's asked. "That's the marketplace," he said. (And the magic of the market is working. For someone, we guess.)
Time's up, and Atwater has to run to another meeting. An aide, clipboarded and smartphoned, leads him from the room. We get up and go too, rather than stick around for the 9-12ers' raffle. We do hear it announced, however, that another honored guest is coming to town soon, another baby-faced political assassin, the gay-bashing hypocrite Ralph Reed. Mark your calendars.
Fire Ant--an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes fatal bite--covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.