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Horseless wrangling rules

BY BEAU ELLIOT | SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 7:20 AM

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So, because of wrangling in Congress (they do all this wrangling, but they never saddle up any horses), the federal government is on the brink of being shut down again.

Wait a minute, you say. Didn't we see this movie already?

Well, yes. How nice of you to notice. Way, way back in the foggy mists of time — late July — we were at this point, a government shutdown because of horseless wrangling.

It comes down, apparently, to temporary government funding and not wanting to fund disaster aid (who can be against disaster aid?), and, I guess, wishing the Sun would rise in the West.

On the good news side of things, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to vote. (Before we Americans get all haughty about women not being allowed to vote in Saudi Arabia at present, we should remember that American women weren't allowed to vote until Aug. 18, 1920, which, by my reckoning, is only 91 years ago.

Or, if you wish to reckon it differently, 133 years after the Constitution was ratified.

Hmm.

Then there's Iowa Director of the Education Department Jason Glass, who took a trip to Brazil to attend a education conference, paid for by education company Pearson. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says Glass did nothing wrong, even though Pearson does millions of dollars of business with the state.

OK. I believe her. I also believe it's OK to believe Republicans, at least once in a while and as long as not they're not contending that the Sun orbits the Earth, as they so often do.

But. I do have a question about Glass' trip. The purpose was for him to learn new ways to improve Iowa's education, Reynolds said. So — Iowans have to travel to Brazil to learn how to improve the state's educational system? Didn't Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently hold an education summit? Did he hold it in Rio de Janeiro?

Nothing against Brazil; it's a wonderful country with a burgeoning economy, a woman president (speaking of the right to vote), beautiful language and music, and, not that it matters all that much, Brazil is the hero, such as there is one, of the novel I'm writing.

So we should all go to Brazil sometime. Pearson probably won't pay for it, but oh, well. (Of course, if we all went there, it would be quite crowded.)

When we think of crowded, we're inexorably led to the GOP presidential-nomination race, which is nothing if not crowded. So many people desiring to be the leader of a government they'd just as soon shut down. It's a free country, until you try to live free and not pay the rent.

Which brings us to front-runner for now Rick Perry, who, in the Sept. 22 GOP debate, contended that he has lots of foreign-policy experience because he flew military transport planes overseas for four years.

OK.

By that same logic, because I was married to a German woman, lived in Berlin for several years, and worked for the U.S. Army for a while, I have lots of NATO experience. I should be the U.S. representative to NATO.

It seems almost a Sisyphean task to make Mitt Romney seem smart, but Perry keeps giving it his dogged Aggie try.

As demonstrated by Perry's daring guerrilla raid on Romney during the Republican debate (transcript courtesy of the New York Times):

"I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of — against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it … was before … he was before the social programs from the standpoint of … he was for standing up for Roe versus Wade before he was against first … Roe versus Wade? Him … he was for Race to the Top. He's for Obamacare, and now he's against it. I mean, we'll wait until tomorrow and … and … and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight." (Ellipses indicate Perry's pauses, not deletions.)

Um.

Kind of makes you want to go out and wrangle some English.

Or at least corral it.


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