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Forget the Sharks; What About the Swamps?

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Message Jayne Stahl
This afternoon, on the way to the post office as I passed a motorcycle cop who looked like Darth Vader when he swadled his bike, I couldn't help but think about the campaign trail back east, and a debate in Albany today in which Hillary Clinton declared that things were getting "swampy" in light of her Republican challenger's comment that the Senator was "unattractive when she was younger and had a lot of work done on herself."

Yes, that's right, John Spence, Hillary's challenger for the New York Senate seat, was busy telling a reporter for the New York Daily News that the former First Lady was so unappealing in her youth that: "Whew. I don't know why Bill married her." (AP) And this on a day when Ford Motor Company posted a stunning 3rd quarter loss of $5.8 billion in sales, a sign that yet more layoffs loom on the horizon; and this on a day when former Enron CEO , Jeffrey Skilling, was sentenced to 24 years in prison on charges of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and, as presiding Judge Lake puts it, imposing "a life sentence of poverty" on hundreds, if not thousands of his former employees. One would think the Republicans would strive for higher order thinking, and discourse, these days, especially in light of the Foley debacle, but my, my, my, what a strange bunch of fish we have who swim with sharks, and never feel a thing.

Yes, folks, in a race where most candidates can't wipe their ass without getting a thumbs up first, who would be inclined to endorse the kind of nonsense that results in one major newspaper regurgitating, as a headline, a somewhat nauseating pun, "Getting Ugly." Forget endorse, who would be inclined to vote for it? Oh, and Mrs. Clinton is right to observe that "when you don't have anything positive to say about the issues" we are in "pretty swampy territory." (AP) I, for one, would be most curious to hear what the good Senator has to say that's "positive" about any of the issues currently on her plate in the Senate. What can she say that's "positive" about Congress passing, by a wide margin, the Military Commissions Act of 2006? What can she say that's "positive" about the president slipping the second installment of the"USA Patriot Act," as well as more "anti-terror," and anti-privacy legislation through?. Indeed, one would like to know whether her stand on Iraqi withdrawal has changed as conditions deteriorate in that country, and how she would respond to being called "McCain lite" instead of "ugly?" These are, I think, more reasonable questions than whether or not she's had "work done."

What may be even more scary is her advisor, Howard Wolfson's defense of her in which he denies these allegations, no, not the ones that her foreign policy position is indistinguishable from that of most members of the opposing party, but the allegations that she has had plastic surgery, as well as his comment that her opponent, John Spencer, is "unfit for the U.S. Senate" for having made disparaging remarks about her looks. (AP) Given the latest polling numbers which show that 20% or less of the American people approve of the job Congress is doing, it might be time for both the Republicans and the Democrats to schedule an appointment for a face lift.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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