May 2021 Quickie: Republican Rehab.

No, No, No.

SUMMARY: The media has been hard at work lately trying to rehabilitate the image of three significant members of the Republican Party. So we’re not going to let them. In today’s Quickie we examine the legacy of George W. Bush, John Boehner and Rick Santorum and remind everyone of just how terrible they are as people and were as politicians.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE


Here’s the viciously sexual set up question for today’s show:

Q: What do a Bush, a Boner and the mixture of lube and fecal matter have in common?

(Answer below) 

And a good day to you SubF*ckers. 

For any uninitiated SubF*ckers and Unf*ckers just joining our little thing here, this episode (and column) is a departure from our normal show format of deep dives into a specific issue. We lovingly refer to these as “Quickies,” where we look at a trending topic and break it into three distinct but related pieces. For example, our last Quickie covered the three white male archetypes of AOC critics. Before that we fucked with three democrats who were having a particularly hard time in the news cycle. 

Today we’re talking about the attempt to rehabilitate the image of three rather significant republican figures, most notably the 43rd president of the United States. 


UPCOMING EPISODES

Though we reserve the right to switch the order of our upcoming episodes depending upon the cycle of the moon, here is the tentative schedule. 

Episode 21: CUBA. Although Raul Castro stepped down as Cuba’s President in 2018, he more recently retired as head of the Communist Party. This has ushered in speculation about the possibility of a renewed détente between the U.S. and Cuba that was begun under Obama and thwarted under Trump. We’ll cover the history of our relations, unf*ck propaganda on both sides and help explain how this island nation has managed to survive despite brutal sanctions and interventions from 13 U.S. administrations.

Episode 22: THE CHICAGO SCHOOL. We’re putting our money where our mouths are and going all in on the man, the myth, the legend: Milton Friedman. The importance of the Chicago School of Economics to U.S. policy cannot be overstated so we’ll give it a proper unf*cking and explain how Friedman rose to become one of the most impactful figures in modern history. We’ll include his positive and negative contributions to the world and the field of economics and explain why we devote so much attention to him.


And now for the answer to our original query:

A: They’re all republicans!

Okay, so the question was a little misleading and we pride ourselves on accuracy so it’s actually Boehner, not boner. It just worked better the other way.

In the midst of all this important work we’re accomplishing together, Unf*ckers, it might seem odd to give an ounce of our valuable attention to such creatures of yesteryear. But I want you to remember back to our Reagan episode for a moment. Recall that we shredded the Gipper and predicted the Republican Party post-Trump would try to beatify Ronald Reagan and recreate the party as a whole in his image. 

Same forces are at play here. 

George W. “Smoke-’em-out” Bush, chain smoking drunk John Boehner and Rick “Fecal Lube” Santorum have all been prominently featured in the news lately. Santorum has actually been the most consistent presence as the token republican CNN commentator, you know for “balance,” and he recently made headlines by claiming Native Americans essentially had no cultural impact on the United States. So you can imagine how I felt about that. The other two jamokes have been making the rounds as well with Boehner promoting a book about his time in Congress and making headlines by calling Ted Cruz the “spawn of Satan” - how fucking original and gutsy. And, of course, old Dubya is promoting his book of really bad paintings.

I was rewatching some fawning corporate media interview of Bush touring a reporter around his Crawford ranch and it was just so fucking painful watching her ask questions of the former president as if his (terrible) paintings of ordinary immigrants (alongside portraits of Henry Kissinger and Vladimir Putin) held some sort of deep meaning. This is why people despise the media. 

By the way, this is also how awful republicans are now. The fact that these clowns are getting airtime is because the rest of the republican standouts are Ted Cruz, Insurrectionist Hawley, Mormon Mitt, Kevin McCarthy, Butthead Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. This republican Congress might be the stupidest collection of public servants ever assembled, but it doesn’t make the people they’ve replaced any better. 

Frankly, it should set off warning bells and alarms that it’s time to put a stick of dynamite up the elephant’s ass. Instead, they’re gonna try and rehabilitate these guys and reclaim the once proud heritage of the Reagan-Bush era. 


Dubya

Oh, W… His ineptitude and callousness seems so benign in retrospect after the Trump years, doesn’t it? With time it gets easier and easier to forget what a disaster the Bush presidency was in nearly every way imaginable. With the world behind us after 9/11 Bush’s approval rating soared to a high of 90% according to Gallup. By the end of his term he exited with a 34% approval rating after embroiling the United States in two intractable conflicts and bringing the economy to the brink of complete and total collapse. 

Much of the media muscle memory tends now to reflect on his verbal gaffes and missteps like the “Mission Accomplished” fiasco. All certainly valid. But the further back in the rear view his presidency, the further removed we are from some of the fatal flaws he helped institutionalize. 

Dubya inherited a rare budget surplus from Clinton, though this in and of itself is problematic. Nevertheless, like a child with a fist of candy from the dollar store, he promptly doled out whatever was in the till immediately upon taking office and set the country on a course of illiquidity. Then precisely at the time we theoretically needed it most, he engaged in two massive multi-trillion dollar, multi-year wars and plunged us deeper into the fiscal abyss. The Bush era also marks the beginning of the end of privacy. 

We employed mercenaries to fight dirty wars in multiple nations as we hunted trrrrists across the globe and killed countless civilians with drone strikes, which helped turn public sentiment in the world against us in just a few short years. 

Several of his key advisors were swept up in perjury indictments. He praised his FEMA director for doing a heckuva job after the government’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. He built out and filled Guantanamo along with several covert dark sites around the world that oversaw torture programs. 

And, of course, while he was steadily attacking our civil liberties at home and massacring hundreds of thousands of civilians abroad, he oversaw the complete collapse of the US housing market and subsequent recession that took ten full years to recover from. 

But, hey. When all was said and done, he surprised Laura by taking up painting, claiming that he read Churchill’s essay on painting and said, “if that old boy can do it, so can I.” 

Not to be outdone, next we sidle up to the bar and throw one back with a throw back himself, good old John Boner. Er, Boehner. 


Boehner

Hey Pally. How did all these people get into my podcast? Our next victim is a ring-a-ding-ding, fine-how-do-you-do, swinging dick cool cat. John Boehner. 

This fucking guy has been making the rounds on talk shows to promote his book about his time in Congress. I’m not even going to link to it because fuck him. 

The only saving grace for this punch-colored shorts wearing drunk is that as soon as this book bullshit blows over he’ll return to being a footnote in history. Boehner is a man who came into his own just as the country was moving past men like him who believed in smokey backroom dealings and the promulgation of the patriarchal status quo.

The rap on Boehner, who was once chastised for literally handing out lobbyist checks to his fellow caucus members in the House - true fucking story - was that he was in the pocket of big business, especially the big banks and his beloved tobacco lobby. It’s a charge he always denied. 

Then again, after attending a meeting on the financial crisis, he liquidated equity holdings and in 2018 he accepted a position on Reynolds board. So there’s that. Oh, and after upholding harsh drug laws his entire legislative career, he recently joined the board of a cannabis company. 

What. A. Dick. 

Boehner was a man made for yesterday. Drinking, smoking, tan old crank. What I love about the arc of his career is that he was supposed to truly enjoy his spoils as Speaker. After all, this was his dream. The great irony is that he fell victim to the young shits that took over in the “Tea Party” era haze and fucked him tight with his own playbook. 

You see, Boehner was part of the young caucus of Gingrich shitheads - the infamous Gang of Seven - that paved the way for a new breed of republicans like the trio of McCarthy, Cantor and Ryan. We covered these assholes in a previous episode. It was the Gang of Seven that truly radicalized the Republican Party under the cover of something they called The Contract for America. Honestly, Unf*ckers, this so-called contract probably deserves its own unf*cking. Someone please make a note of that. 

This was the legislative playbook of the Heritage Foundation which was finding ways to finally work conservative ideology of cutting taxes and welfare programs and loosening regulations on big business. It resulted in a series of acts with names like American Dream, National Security, Common Sense, but all were intended to chip away at the social and economic fabric that undergirded the working class and poorest Americans by poverty shaming and promoting the will of industry and the theories of the Heritage Foundation which was just a policy think tank extension of the evil and Machiavellian forces at play under the guidance of … here it comes… you know who Unf*ckers…. (Milton fucking Friedman) #FMF.

And when he finally took over his dream job as House Speaker, he spent most of his time cock blocking the Obama agenda, blaming the Senate for not doing its job and failing to control the young guns that were ironically fashioned in his likeness. The only thing he managed to shepherd along during his time as Speaker were repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

From the moment he took the gavel until his unceremonious retirement, Boehner oversaw more than 50 separate House measures and bills to either chip away at the ACA, defund certain parts of it or simply repeal it. In other words, his legacy as a representative was a part of the gang that is now synonymous with the end of any sense of collegiality in Congress and his legacy as House Speaker was zero success in the passage of important legislation but more than 50 attempts to take away healthcare for millions of Americans. 

Anyway, as Boehner drinks himself into a stupor and finally fades away we come to the last of our trio of fuckheads seeking media salvation and rehabilitation. Personally, while he might be the least consequential of the three, I think we’ve saved the best for last. 


Santorum

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum found himself in hot water recently when during a lecture he stated that Native Americans had no impact on American culture, calling America a “blank slate.”  And he paid the price for it by being shamed by pretty much everyone. 

It wasn’t a blank slate you eeedjiot. There was a thriving native culture here that we attempted to eliminate through genocide. I’m going to guess that the Rickster somehow missed the entire southwest in his travels, has never seen the game of lacrosse, or eaten any of the crops natives taught the starving morons who landed here to plant. 

I actually think the media overreacted to his comment because I know what he was driving at. He was actually talking authentically as a conqueror, and frankly it’s kind of refreshing in its honesty. He was basically saying, ‘we came, we saw, we kicked ass and brought our own idea of what the world should be to their land. Sorry, not sorry.’ And in this, he’s kind of right. But the media are lazy and honed in on just this clip. 

My bigger issue is with this line of thinking he offered later in the same speech:

“And so they came here mostly from Europe, and they set up a country based on Judeo-Christian principles - the Mosaic Laws, the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The morales, the morals of Jesus Christ. That’s what our founding documents are based upon.”

Here are a few fun facts for fecal-lubricant-guy. (Oh, and if you still don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about with this nickname, we’ll get there.) Sure, the original settlers were fleeing religious persecution. But the Founders, the ones he’s really talking about, made it abundantly clear as we’ve covered before, that this nation be free of any religious influence in governance. The exact opposite of what he’s proclaiming here. In fact, and you can this shit up, our founding documents more closely resemble the founding principles of the Haudenosaunee, the alliance that binds together the Six Nations of the Iroquois, than the fucking bible. 

There’s so much about this that oozes right wing fundamentalist christian exceptionalism stupidity. 

Now in terms of where fecal-lube-guy stands in historical context, it might be difficult for even those who remember the 2012 campaign between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that Romney wasn’t always the odds on favorite. In the beginning, Santorum was actually the frontrunner. 

And he got there for a brief time on a platform of making abortion illegal even in instances of rape, marriage is only between a man and a woman because “we’re made that way,” and that “contraception is a license to do something in a sexual realm that are counter to how things are supposed to be.”

My man also went to Penn State then went on to get his MBA and a law degree but called Obama a “snob” for saying everyone deserves a college education. 

And his racism was always riiiiiight there, just below the surface. Here’s a fun slip up when addressing a bunch of white people about medicaid expansion. 

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” 

So he’s on CNN now as a commentator, much in the way they used to punt around Alan Colmes on Fox News. See? We have a liberal guy. Now watch me gut him on live television night after night. Same thing with Santorum except that liberals are so afraid to face this shameless attempt at being balanced they actually started to rehabilitate this douchenozzle in the public eye as something of a respectable figure instead of the right wing evangelical Christian racist fucknipple that he is and has always been. 

Am I forgetting anything? Oh yes. The meaning of his name. 

During his ascendency as a presidential candidate, his anti-LGBTQIA+ stance was widely known and he was rather unapologetic about it. Santorum was blatantly courting the evangelical vote and gaining way more traction than most people gave him credit for. 

So cultural and political columnist Dan Savage, author of syndicated column Savage Love and founder of the It Gets Better campaign started a movement to create an urban dictionary slang meaning for the word “Santorum.” After crowdsourcing the effort he ultimately settled on the following definition for the word Santorum:

Santorum: "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

To this day if you google Santorum the first several results that appear will offer you this definition. 

Internet 1, Santorum 0. 


What’s the takeaway here? Well because Unf*ckers are so fucking smart and also maintain a healthy sense of humor, I’ll submit the following query from a listener I love who goes by J Boogers. JB emailed us with this question:

In the most recent two episodes (Corporate (Ir)Responsibility and The Assange Problem) you unrelentingly highlight the continued failings of our "independent" press. It leaves me struggling with the question of just when and how exactly we ended up with an impotent press that not only leaves us uninformed but operates as propagandists.

It’s the right question to help us frame our thoughts around this Quickie. 

  • Why would you have someone as toxic and misguided as Ricky fecal lube as a permanent paid host on your network? 

  • Why would you patronize a former president to ask him about his fucking bad childlike artwork instead of taking the opportunity to grill him about the dreadful legacy of his squandered presidency or clear war crimes? 

  • Why would talk show hosts so gleefully pal around with a relic like Boehner who had a front row seat to so much history that has contributed to the divide in this nation?

When Donald Trump called the press the “enemy of the people”, he was dangerously hearkening back to a fascist line of propagandist thinking. But it reminds me of when republicans ask me whether I liked Obama. I typically reply with, I probably dislike Obama as much as you, but for very different reasons. 

I hold a level of disdain for the press today but for very different reasons than a miscreant like Trump or his supporters. Mine is more of a grand disappointment at the abrogation of responsibility when it suits them. People wonder why purists like Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitris or Matt Taibbi cannot function inside an organized press system but it really shouldn’t be a surprise. 

It’s why I root for David Sirota or Abby Martin, journalists who have the courage to challenge the corporate narrative in such a way that it often hurts their careers. In this era of so-called cancel culture it seems so curious how corporate media will help rehabilitate figures like our trio simply because they represent a time before Trump. 

Trump was such an affront to our self image and concept of decency that we’ll grasp at anything from a time before him. In doing so we are dangerously softening the history of what men like these have done to tear apart the fabric of our nation. Bush is funny and self deprecating. Boehner is a knock around guy who likes to drink and smoke. Santorum is just an aw shucks milquetoast Christian guy in an ugly sweater. Let’s hear what they have to say about how terrible Donald Trump was. 

No. 

No, no, no. These guys have to take responsibility for where we are. Trump didn’t appear out of the ether and he’s still not going anywhere. It was the actions of pricks like these that allowed for someone like Trump to even exist. 

Here endeth the Quickie and the lesson for today. 

Google Santorum. #FMF. Bush is a war criminal.


Help us Unf*ck The Republic one coffee at a time.