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Dear ITT Ideologist: Interstate Warfare and the Teahadists

Pete Karman

illustration by Terry Laban

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I am a leading candidate for governor of Connecticut. I need an issue novel enough to separate me from the pack without unduly disturbing business as usual. Do you have any ideas?

– Lamont Malloy, Greenwich, Conn.

Dear Mr. Malloy,

I have something for you. Big government has become a no-no. Therefore you might propose that one of its vital functions, national security, be brought home and assumed by the states. Rather than stationing U.S. forces in other nations, why not deploy some of your Connecticut troopers in, say, the notorious Badlands of volatile South Dakota? Connecticut might also arm South Dakota to deal with threats from the North. Most effective would be a state-building program for South Dakota in which Connecticut taxpayers swell the coffers of corrupt contractors in both states. On the hearts and minds front, you might send South Dakota some of your laid-off motor vehicle clerks to educate their people in advanced light truck registration, a Nutmeg State specialty. If any of your opponents demurred, you could rant on the Dakota danger and slam them for softness on statal security. 

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I’m in charge of personnel vetting for the Obama administration. I have a recurring ideological problem. A typical case concerns a new hire for a position managing a USDA used fruit and vegetable warehouse in North Dakota. I fired this person after it was bruited by a Teablogger that he had written a seventh-grade book report extolling President Woodrow Wilson. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and company from claiming that the Obama administration had inserted yet another Marxist commie atheist Muslim as part of its master plan to destroy the United States and put black imitation Hawaiians in charge of the wreckage. I was thinking that, in the spirit of bipartisanship, I could ask Beck to assign one of his people to advise me on hiring and thus avoid such problems in the future. Your thoughts?

– Wimpel Milksop, Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Milksop,

If you were a courageous person, you could tell the Teajadists to go to H E double hockey sticks. If you were an activist, you could join, or even organize, a counterattack on the yahoos. But since you’re a Democrat, your only moderate option is to creep out from under your desk and crawl down the familiar road from compromise to capitulation. In this context, engaging a Beckman to make sure that the Obama administration hires no one with politics to the left of Vlad the Impaler is a practical, if contemptible, solution. And it won’t change much either.

Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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