By Elizabeth Burke
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report
Yes, I have been remiss with my column the last few weeks. I took a little hiatus and spent time with my family, going to Texas to watch the latest generation of Burke men enter the military. This time it was my nephew, Josh Burke, who, after graduating from Air Force Training is now Airman Burke. He is now at the Defense Language Institute studying Arabic in beautiful Monterey, CA. How he will get anything done in that setting is beyond me. Mazel tov, Josh!
It seems like a good time to do a little roundup as there are so many things to discuss! It’s a mixed bag this week of politics and entertainment and everything in between. It’s like News Tapas!
First, who is that Alvin guy from South Carolina? South Carolinians woke up Wednesday to find that some guy named Alvin Greene, an unemployed military veteran, won 59 percent of the vote to clinch the Democratic nod for US Senate without doing a single thing! There were no lawn signs, big rallies or speeches, no cozy dinners with big money fundraisers, no flapjack breakfasts at the firehouse, no — gasp — website fundraising machine! This is almost too good to be true for fellow couch potatoes everywhere! He kicked the ass of the Democratic Party’s handpicked guy, Vic Rawls, a four-term former State House representative who is also a former criminal prosecutor and circuit court judge. This makes Greene the most interesting thing of late to come out of the nonstop circus that is South Carolina politics. Now he will be up against the GOP machine, a well-oiled behemoth, running against Sen. Jim DeMint. I wish him luck — he may want to get off his couch now!
Next, it’s onto the Ladies of the Club: Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Nikki Haley, Sharron Angle and Blanche Lincoln (the lone Dem), who all beat guys and made 2010 the year of Girl Power! Okay, Woman Power (with a hint of gravitas)! While I’d like to see more Democratic women running and winning, I can’t help but like these smart, sassy, educated women, despite our fundamental differences. Unfortunately, the only women with political clout running around with the big hair, patent pumps and a comment for every “lamestream” media with a camera has been Sarah Palin, who won’t open her mouth for less than $100,000 or a spot on The Today Show, or Rep. Michele “re-education camp” Bachmann. It’s refreshing that women of a serious and knowledgeable nature are taking back the airwaves from these vacuous pigs with lipstick. Yea, I said it, and I meant it.
And that brings me back to South Carolina politics! Once upon a time, Louisiana was the land of political nuttiness and sexy scandals. From Huey Long to Edwin Edwards to David Vitter, movies and songs have been written about the escapades and corruption of the Bayou State. But lately, South Carolina has gone off the rails so frequently that the shocks have turned into expectations. Let’s review:
- Scandal 1: Gov. Mark Sanford’s love of, um, hiking and an Argentine woman!
- Scandal 2: GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley’s alleged affairs with two party operatives. So, women can mess around and win — just like the men!
- Scandal 3: State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, whose illicit adventures with school superintendent candidate Kelly Payne are laid out in steamy emails. Really, emails?
- Scandal 4: Republican State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel pleading guilty to charges of cocaine distribution — embarrassing only because it’s such a 1980s drug.
- Scandal 5: State Sen. Jake Knotts calling President Obama — and Haley — “ragheads.” Way to make your state proud.
- Scandal 6: US Sen. Lindsey Graham: gay or straight?
- Scandal 7: Stephen Colbert’s loss in the 2008 presidential primary.
- Scandal 8: The TV ad calling Sen. John McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter his illegitimate black bastard during his short-lived 2000 presidential campaign. Honestly, how does Steve Schmidt, the GOP operative who created this vile campaign smear, sleep at night? Oh right, with paychecks from McCain’s 2008 campaign.
- Scandal 9: Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina Teen USA, shows why South Carolina is consistently on the bottom of state rankings for education.
But watch out, South Carolina! New York State is catching up when it comes to disgraceful actions by public officials. We have:
- the alleged shyster and extortionist, the $14 million man, State Sen. Pedro Espada
- the convicted girlfriend-beater, ex-State Sen. Hiram Monserrate
- the GOP pot stirrer, State Sen. Dean Skelos
- the billionaire blowhard Tom Golisano, who stirs the pot just for the hell of it
And let’s not forget ex-governor Eliot Spitzer, whose prostitution-loving life brought him down. Oh, and the prostitute is now an “advice columnist” for the New York Post.
Oh, and then there’s the lady-loving, lame duck Gov. David Paterson, who still can’t get no respect! And the New York State Assembly and Senate, each grinding down the wheels of government with grade school bickering and power jostling. Yes, the same morons who shut down the state government last year are now threatening to shut down the entire government if their demands are not met. They are fighting against any more budget cuts but have no solutions to offer when it comes to New York’s deficit, which is north of $9 billion, the third largest in the country.
I mean, how else will Espada’s Soundview HealthCare Network pay its bills?
Well, now that I’ve made my point that there is nothing more fun that a sleazy political scandal, I’ll move onto sleazy entertainment scandals. The biggest one to hit the streets lately was the second Sex and the City movie — the scandal being the veil of silence on how unbearable awful it is. Where are the shouts of outrage? Where are the op-ed articles on how utterly insulting this “movie” is to women? How disgraceful was that $10 million spent on costumes alone? How much of a tin ear to the current economic crisis do the producers have? The movie took place in cavernous Park Avenue apartments most of us will only see as we whiz by in a taxi, where a whiny Carrie bitches and moans about a couch, her marital boredom, TV, and wah wah wah, why don’t they go out every night anymore?
Why not, Carrie? Because you’re not 25 years old anymore! Grow up and embrace the TV like all adults! Embrace your superrich husband and great nights on your couch and zip it! When a chance meeting between a sheik and Samantha results in an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, all bets on getting out of the theater with my brain intact were off. I won’t bore you with the stale one-liners (“prince of my labia” made me actually wince) or the absurd clothes. But where did they buy all their I Dream of Jeannie outfits? Saharan Outfitters? It was two-and-a-half hours of reminding me how crappy my life is, how I will never have it as glamorous as those four bitches do, yet how much better I am than their burka-clad nonentities.
Finally, I’m no oil spill expert, but hey, BP, WTF? Color me shocked to see Halliburton’s black heart in the mix of these evil deeds. Everything that needs to be said has been said. I have nothing to add except to wish that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wasn’t such a schmuck. My heart goes out to all the fishing and tourist industries that could be decimated by the screw-ups and possible criminal actions of BP, Haliburton and TransOcean.
Let’s all hope for the very best for the gulf states’ recovery, the criminal convictions of those responsible and the pain to end for oil-soaked people, animals and wetlands alike.
Elizabeth Burke, a New York-based actor, has been involved in politics since her first campaign at age 16. Burke’s Law does not necessarily represent the views of The Clyde Fitch Report.