My politics are fairly moderate, being an economic centrist and a social progressive. In 2008 I, like many of my fellow Hoosiers in Indiana, voted to reelect Mitch Daniels while also picking Obama, who became the first Democrat to win our state since Lyndon Johnson. Governor Daniels did a fair job and always struck me as a pro-business moderate, divorced from the bat shit wing of the GOP and the ongoing culture wars. I can live with that.
While I admit to being an occasional Republican voter (Indiana’s fine statesman Senator Richard Lugar also won my support), I am not a George W Bush guy. Those eight years were catastrophic for the United States and my own world-view was radicalized by the combined hubris of the Iraq folly (and $1trillion to date pumped into the desert sands while China has been eating our lunch) and the initial abandonment of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. These things cannot be forgiven and it will be a long time before I vote for a Republican Cat in a national election as a result.
So I am on an airplane recently to Panama for a conference and some Beach Holiday, and there, right across the aisle from me, is George Bush’s political genius Wonder Boy Karl Rove. The fellow who launched two smear campaign against Vietnam Vets (John McCain and John Kerry) and whose tactics were so delightfully aggressive that President Bush affectionately nicknamed him “Turd Blossom” during the 2000 election.
One can make a reasonable argument that Karl Rove is a genuine war criminal for his participation in the administration’s PR offensive pre Iraq. And he leveraged lots of folk’s religious belief against economic self interest. Not Cool.
So there he was. In Coach. On an airplane to Panama.
I fly often enough to get the most desirable seat in coach, in the 2nd row on the aisle. That is where middle class people of business sit. But anyone who used to ride Air Force One on a regular basis doesn’t belong there. He belongs in First Class. Or on a Charter. I like to think he was in Coach because it has gone south for him professionally. Hopefully that’s it.
And he sat there the whole time, listening to NEW Bob Dylan and looking over at my episodes of “Breaking Bad” with keen interest.
So what to do? Tell him, on behalf of civilization, to go fly a kite? Spill a drink of him? Refuse to sit there on moral grounds? Scowl in his direction?
In the end, nothing. Just let him go. My grandmother taught me that there is no excuse for a lack of courtesy. So I forgive you, Karl. I am not sorry you are riding Coach, and sincerely hope that whatever gig you have in Panama City is such a small check that they couldn’t be bothered to buy you a Business Class ticket. And that the check bounces. Goodbye and safe travels, Turd Blossom.
This episode reminded me of a list I used to keep in my mind, of people who’ve treated me badly professionally and otherwise, where I would eventually square accounts. It has been a small but select list over the years, and I meant it. Waiting for the Day.
But who needs it? Most of the folks on that list continue to be miserable human beings, cowards and cheats. They get to live with that all day long, their lies and double dealings unfolding forevermore, in Coach and in Life.
And I got to go to Panama.