It’s confusing on Planet IOKIYAR
Published: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007
A recent commercial strikes a funny chord with everybody I know, regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic status. In it, a mom asks her daughter who she’s text messaging so much, and she responds, “IDK, my BFF Jill,” as “I don’t know, my best friend forever Jill” runs in subtitles. Americans abbreviate a lot, even when it’s sarcastic. Take IOKIYAR. The acronym stands for, “It’s OK If You’re A Republican.” It’s used to describe words or actions that would cause firestorms if the responsible people were Democrats, but nothing when a Republican’s behind them. Bill Kristol embodies the acronym. Kristol is the editor of “The Weekly Standard,” a conservative magazine. Kristol primarily is known for his print work, but he’s a pretty likable guy and he’s quick on his feet, so he gets booked on television a lot. I’ll watch Kristol even when I wholeheartedly disagree with him. I did just that on Sunday. He was talking about the battle between Congress and President George W. Bush regarding SCHIP — an acronym for State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Democrats want to increase it by $35 billion; the president wants it increased by $5 billion. Bush promised a veto over the difference of $30 billion (less than three weeks of Iraq war expenses). House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters she was praying Bush would change his mind, and this weekend’s Democratic radio address featured 12-year-old Graeme Frost on how the SCHIP program helped he and his sister survive a car accident. Kristol saw pandering, and he said something about it on Fox News Sunday. “You do wonder about the Democrats,” Kristol said, “putting a 12-year-old ... how pathetic is that, a 12-year-old giving a radio address? Nancy Pelosi pretending she’s praying for the president. You really wonder how stupid they think the American people are.” Let’s take that quote apart, and first deal with the subject of Graeme. Kristol only waited one day to blast Democrats over using a child to speak for political gain. He’s had more than two years to lobby the same complaint at the Bush administration, which in 2005 enlisted 9-year-old Noah McCulloch to do radio interviews wherever the president was about to speak, and wow audiences with his knowledge of presidential trivia and his support for Bush’s Social Security private account plan. McCulloch’s still more than half a century away from collecting Social Security — how pathetic is that, Mr. Kristol? Now to the religion aspect. I don’t like to question anybody’s faith, but let’s be honest. Whether it’s blocking stem cell research because you claim it’s “murdering” an embryo, or trying to alter the Constitution to stop same-sex marriage, it’s a safe bet faith-based policies are coming from Republicans. Kristol’s not big on calling Republicans out for that stuff, nor do I imagine he’ll call out Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for saying the Constitution outlines America as a Christian nation. I assume McCain didn’t read the parts of the Constitution that say, “no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust,” or “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Maybe the Constitution says anything you want it to in Kristol’s world, on Planet IOKIYAR. The planet where Republicans can hire 9-year-olds to be experts on Social Security, but Democrats can’t ask 12-year-olds to speak on children’s health insurance. The planet where Republicans can create faith-based wedge issues and call the Constitution an extension of the Bible, but Democrats can’t say they’re praying. How stupid does Bill Kristol think the American people are?
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