Off The Record: Could anyone be the 'perfect' candidate?

September 13, 2004|HERB BROCK

He claimed to be a carpenter, but his alleged trade was just a day job, if that.

His reputation was based not on anything he built but on things he tore down, like old belief systems and allegiances.

He was a rabblerouser, some saying he was a born troublemaker.

He mocked religious authority.

He posed a threat to political authority.

He led a gang of men who faithfully did his bidding but ultimately weren’t always that loyal.

He developed a loyal following of believers, many of them misfits and malcontents.

He hung out with prostitutes.

His gang, followers and prostitutes seemed hypnotized by his crusade against the status quo, the system, the establishment, “the man.”

He seemed to be a magician, if not also a hypnotist, or so his critics said. He claimed, or his followers claimed for him, that he could make the blind see and bring the dead back to life.


His birth was a magic act, a mystery, or a complete fiction used by him to fool people into believing in him like a snake oil salesman tricks people into buying his product.

His death was a magic act, a mystery, or a complete fiction used by his gang to keep the fools buying their dead leader’s unconventional prattle.

He was a rebel with a cause. Or he was a rebel who caused great damage to a culture.

Would the person fitting the aforementioned description have a prayer of becoming president of the United States? Based on his resume, he could be spun as the first coming of either Mahatma Ghandi, the Godfather or Jim Jones, or all three of them rolled into one.

How about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled up into one? Yeah, I imagine you figured out early on that Jesus Christ is the person I'm describing.

I'm not trying to mix theology and politics - Lord knows those are topics that are supposed to be left out of polite conversation, especially when they're combined - and I don't mean to offend any Christians. It's just that I'm wondering if even Christ could pass the scrutiny - and spin - to which presidential candidates are subjected.

It would seem a man his followers say is perfect could withstand any challenge to his credibility or character. But then again, 527's weren't around when Christ was waging his campaign, nor was the atmosphere of intense animosity in which these 527's were conceived, not so immaculately.

These 527's are the result of the so-called campaign finance reform law of a couple of years ago. Remember how it was supposed to take the money out of politics? Well, it appears that these groups, allegedly not connected with political parties or candidates, have found a loophole large enough for the Goodyear blimp to fly through as they have poured millions of dollars in "soft money" into attack ads.

Thus,, ACT and the Swift Boat Vets against Kerry and many other 527's have exploited the loophole, and George W. Bush and John Kerry likely are longing for the day when money was still in politics. (For the record, Bush is probably doing more longing than Kerry since more than 80 percent of the money that has gone to these 527's has come from anti-Bush contributors.)

And Bush and Kerry and their records really are not being scrutinized. It would be great if they and their records were being seriously evaluated. No, they and their resumes are being mocked and chided, and those doing the mocking and chiding are engaged in a childish display of name-calling and mud-slinging.

Bush the liar. Kerry the flip-flopper. Bush the Nazi. Kerry the Commie. Bush the AWOL Guardsman. Kerry the fake war hero. Bush the oil man. Kerry the gold digger. Yeah, this is "scrutiny" that will help voters make informed decisions on Nov. 2. The 527's have provided a lot more heat than light, a lot more noisy rants than nuanced debates, a lot more cacophony than conversation.

Nobody can withstand this new kind of scurrilous scrutiny that today's candidates face - not even the man who many still believe is the most perfect human being ever to have set foot on this planet.

In today's political terminology, I would spin Christ as a "moderate."

He was "liberal" in that he was someone working for profound cultural change, seeing the best in the least among us, seeking justice for everyone of us, and giving worth to the downtrodden, dejected and rejected by having the rest of us accept community responsbility, including our responsibility to care about the needs of our neighbors.

He was "conservative" in that he promoted a specific moral structure in which people should live and act, believed there was right and wrong and good and evil, touted "traditional family values," and believed in personal responsibility, including making sure we obey the Golden Rule.

In today's political atmosphere, I'm afraid some 527 would find some flaw in Christ's belief. I believe He would be crucified a second time.

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