Tag Archives: Richard Nixon

Chris Christie has become the Repugnicans’ bridge to nowhere

The George Washington Bridge toll booths are pictured in Fort Lee, New Jersey

Reuters photo

An aide to Repugnican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie very apparently orchestrated lanes of the George Washington Bridge, pictured above, to be closed in order to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for not having endorsed Christie’s gubernatorial re-election. The bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York City via Fort Lee, is one of the busiest in the world.

Any Repugnican, including the teatards, who celebrates the probable political downfall of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a moron. (Well, they’re all morons, but still.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want Chris Christie or any other Repugnican, teatard or not, anywhere near the White House, but recent nationwide polls have suggested that Christie is the only member of his party who can beat Billary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, in November 2016.

A CNN/ORC poll taken last month had Christie beating Billary by two percentage points, 48 percent to 46 percent. No big deal, you say, but Billary garnered anywhere from 52 percent to 58 percent against all of the other Repugnican candidates in the poll, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Prick Perry, Marco Rubio, Pretty Boy Paul Ryan and yes, Prick Santorum.

A Quinnipiac University poll also taken last month showed Christie beating Billary by one percentage point, 42 percent to 41 percent. No big deal, you might say again, but in that poll, Billary beat every other Repugnican — Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — by 7 percent to 13 percent.

A McClatchy-Marist poll also taken last month showed Billary actually beating Christie by 3 percent, 48 percent to 45 percent, but in that poll, too, Christie fared much better against Billary than did any other Repugnican, all of whom lost to Billary by 10 percent to 23 percent (true, it was Sarah Palin who lost to Billary by 23 percent, and Palin very most likely won’t be running in 2016, but still…).

True, Christie would have had to overcome the right-wing extremists — well, they’re nutjobs; even “right-wing extremist” doesn’t capture their depravity, and even “nutjobs” doesn’t capture how dangerous they are (there are plenty of harmless nutjobs), so probably “fascists” and “‘Christo’fascists” are the best terms for these Orc-like “people” — to win his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I think that he could have done that.

Before now.

Before the news that, as The Associated Press has put it, “e-mails and text messages suggest that one of Christie’s top aides engineered traffic jams in the New Jersey town [of Fort Lee] last September to punish its Democratic mayor.” The AP adds:

… The messages do not directly implicate Christie, but they appear to contradict his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.

The messages were obtained by The Associated Press and other news organizations amid a statehouse investigation into whether the lane closings that led to the tie-ups were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last fall.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a[n e-mail] message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

[Reuters reports that Wildstein’s e-mail reply was: “Got it.”]

A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily-traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.

Beyond the specifics of the lane closures, critics suggest the incident reflects a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency. …

“This completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge,” Christie has proclaimed, adding, “People will be held responsible for their actions.”

While I find it very difficult to believe that any of Christie’s staffers would have been so brazenly bold as to orchestrate something so large without Christie’s knowledge, if not also his consent, at the bare minimum, even if Christie is telling the truth, which I very much doubt, Bridgegate seriously calls into question Christie’s ability to keep his own flying monkeys in check.

Gee, what would President Christie do if he failed to get someone’s endorsement for his re-election? Send a killer drone after him or her?

I agree with the AP’s assessment that a criticism that could be made of Christie is that Bridgegate reveals “a darker side of Christie’s brand of politics that contradicts the image he’d like to project as he eyes the presidency.” Indeed, he reminds me of the revengeful Richard Nixon.

All of this said, while I can’t stand Billary, and while I doubt that as president she’d be significantly more effective or progressive than Barack Obama has been — and so I still hope that she faces a strong, actually progressive challenger for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — of course I’d rather see Billary in the White House, if that is unavoidable, than Chris Christie.

And Chris Christie was his party’s best path to recapturing the White House.

But now, he has become his party’s bridge to nowhere.

P.S. Yes, Christie’s probable political ruin perhaps might help the likes of presidential wannabe Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whom I despise probably even more than I despise Christie, but Walker is fairly unknown outside of Wisconsin, and could he beat Billary? I doubt it. I could see him winning his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but I can’t see him winning the White House.

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Hugo Chavez, rest in peace

File photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez blowing a kiss as he arrives at a rally with supporters in Caracas

Reuters photo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who democratically was elected as his nation’s leader four times in a row, died today of cancer at age 58. (He is pictured above in February 2012.) I fell in love with Chavez some years ago after I watched the excellent documentary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is about the blatantly anti-democratic, treasonous — and, thankfully, short-lived — attempt by fascistic right-wingers in Venezuela to forcibly replace the popularly elected Chavez with an unelected corporatocrat and plutocrat in 2002 — much the way that the fascistic, treasonous right-wingers here at home stole the White House in 2000 against the wishes of the majority of the American voters.

Only plutocrats and fascists have cause to celebrate the death of democratic socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but, unfortunately, most of those in the United States who celebrate his death are poor to middle-class right-wing fucktards who actually would benefit greatly from Chavez-like socioeconomic policies here at home. (No, the corporate-cash-loving-and-corporate-ass-licking U.S. President Barack Obama is no “socialist.”)

Hugo Chavez became widely known as a “dictator” after the unelected Bush regime relentlessly repeatedly called him such even though Chavez repeatedly had been democratically elected by clear majorities of the people of Venezuela (who didn’t vote the way that they were supposed to vote, which is the way that a right-wing American would vote, you see).

Ironically, since George W. Bush never was democratically elected — Al Gore won more than a half-million more votes than Bush did in 2000, and it was the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, not the majority of the American voters, who put Bush in the White House — Bush was the actual dictator, one who took power without first having earned the majority of the votes of the people.

Hugo Chavez wasn’t perfect — no leader of a nation is — but “dictator” Chavez’s biggest “crime” was that he actually did his job, which was to look out for the interests of the majority of the people of Venezuela and not for the interests of the plutocratic and corporatocratic few — you know, the way that a “good” Latin American leader “should”: sell out his people for whatever it is that the rich and powerful, especially in the U.S., want him or her to (in this case, oil, especially).

Hugo Chavez is dead, but the revolution in Latin America that he has inspired lives on.

The people’s revolution against their — our — anti-democratic, fascistic, treasonous, plutocratic overlords cannot be about one man or woman anyway.

¡Que viva la revolución!

And let’s hope that the Latin American revolution for the people over the plutocratic few spreads north so that we have a truly democratic nation — a nation governed by those who have the interests of the majority of the people at heart, and not the interests of only the comparatively tiny already-super-rich and already-super-powerful minority — here in the U.S. one day.

May Venezuela be the first domino that topples, spreading democratic socialism to even the notoriously anti-democratic, imperialistic United States of America.

P.S. I know that this is the United States of Amnesia, but Chavez-bashers should remind themselves of history: In April 2002, when the democratically elected and very popular Chavez was briefly overthrown by right-wing traitors, the unelected Bush regime at that time immediately recognized the anti-democratic, right-wing usurpers as the legitimate new government of Venezuela — which was not surprising, given that the members of the treasonous Bush regime had had no problem with the fact that Bush wasn’t elected, either. (The members of the right wing support and respect democracy only when elections go their way, and they feel so absolutely correct and superior in their ideology that they are untroubled with stealing office if they can’t win office legitimately, which they often can’t.)

Moreover, the CIA, at the behest of the White House, has had a long history of deposing left-leaning, pro-their-nation’s-own-people, democratically elected leaders in Latin America — and anti-democratically replacing them with unelected, right-wing usurpers who agree to do anything that the power elite of the U.S. ask them to do.

Chile’s Salvador Allende immediately comes to mind; his usurper was the U.S.-backed mass murderer and true dictator Augosto Pinochet, who should have been executed and not allowed to die a natural death. (It was the Nixon White House, natch, that used the CIA to remove Allende from power and install the murderous dictator Pinochet.)

It is likely that the Bush regime similarly had a hand in the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

Even if the Bush regime didn’t (but it probably did), the fact that the Bush regime wasted no time in recognizing the illegal and unelected “new” “government” of Venezuela by itself was plenty of reason for Hugo Chavez to feel animosity toward the U.S. government at least throughout Bush’s unelected and thus illegitimate tenure.

(And there is a big distinction between the U.S. government and the people of the United States; Chavez’s problem was with the members of the Washington establishment who believe that Latin America exists solely to do the U.S.’s bidding. He never attacked the American people as a whole, although the wingnuts [who still call him a “dictator” after he won four presidential elections in a row with international elections observers present] worked hard to paint Chavez as an enemy of every American, and their propaganda campaign worked to an impressive degree on the bleating American sheeple.)

One of Chavez’s most (in)famous acts was in September 2006, when he remarked of George W. Bush, who had appeared at the same podium before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City the day before: “The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Bush indeed is one of the most evil entities still stalking the planet, a mass-murdering war criminal who still goes wholly unpunished for his crimes against humanity. (Chavez, despite being called a murdering dictator by the wingnuts, wholly unlike Pinochet and other U.S.-backed actual dictators, never had any of his political opponents killed. In fact, I know of not one confirmed murder or even one confirmed case of torture that Chavez as president of Venezuela was responsible for, when Bush was responsible for the confirmed murder and the confirmed torture of thousands and thousands of human beings.)

Chavez said something else at the UN that day in September 2006, something that strikes me as prophetic: “The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind.” (Note that he’s criticizing the idea of empire, of one highly militarized nation calling all of the shots for the entire globe. Also during his September 2006 UN appearance, Chavez correctly stated that the UN headquarters should be moved to another nation. It seems to me that for fairness, UN headquarters should move to different nations around the globe, say, once every decade. It’s fucked up for it to permanently be anchored in the U.S.)

You know, if Hugo Chavez had been just flat-out wrong, I think that Americans would have just ignored him. But they haven’t. A good chunk of them have hated his guts intensely, which, to me, is evidence of two things: (1) that right-wing politicians’ relentless pro-plutocratic propaganda (aided and abetted by the corporately owned and controlled media, the bosses of which certainly disagree with Chavez’s business model of nationalizing the media) can be very effective; and (2) that Chavez’s biggest “crime” was being right and being vocal about it, which certainly are two big no-nos here at home, where telling certain awful (but obvious) truths is considered to be a much larger crime than telling even the biggest lies.

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George McGovern’s death makes me yearn for real Democrats

George McGovern, War Critic Routed by Nixon in 1972

Getty Images

The death today of George McGovern, a progressive who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 (and who is shown above right campaigning in 1972 with his first running mate, Thomas Eagleton), only reminds me, shortly before another presidential election, how far the Democratic Party has fallen.

It’s a perverse fact of politics that the possession of intelligence and compassion (concomitantly known as wisdom) often, if not usually, dooms an individual who is running for high public office.

I write that with the death of real Democrat George McGovern* in mind.

I was only four years old when in 1972 Democrat McGovern lost to incumbent Repugnican President Richard M. Nixon in a landslide. A landslide — and look how wonderful Nixon’s second term turned out to be: It was the Democratic Party’s operations that Nixon’s operatives were snooping into in June 1972 in the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to Tricky Dick Nixon’s resignation in disgrace in 1974. (Nixon’s remains the only presidential resignation in U.S. history.)

The masses often get it wrong.

I don’t remember McGovern’s presidential campaign, of course. The first sitting president I remember seeing on television was Gerald Ford, who followed the disgraced-by-Watergate Nixon, and I seem to remember seeing a perpetually stumbling and falling Ford parodied by Chevy Chase on “Saturday Night Live” more than seeing the actual Ford himself on TV.

I remember seeing also Jimmy Carter on TV, and of course I remember Ronald Reagan and all of those who have followed him. But during Carter’s first and only term, I was an elementary school student who was interested in “Star Wars,” not in politics, and it wasn’t until Reagan’s eight-year reign during most of the 1980s that my political identity started to form.

My father always has been apolitical, not giving a rat’s ass about anything outside of his immediate personal universe, and my mother is one of those “swing voters” who seem to make their presidential picks based upon the logic of a Magic 8 Ball. (My parents reside in Arizona, where they belong, and I in California, where I belong.)

My point in bringing up my parents — which makes me feel like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka when the topic of his parents is brought up — is to illustrate that neither of them even attempted to influence my own political views, with one of them being apolitical and the other being politically muddled at best, so the fact that I grew into a left-winger in the red state of Arizona, which is not conducive to the development of little “socialists,” suggests to me that a progressive political viewpoint is the natural path of human development, unless that path is obstructed (such as by committed right-wing parents who probably should be committed, a “Christo”fascist social environment, etc.) and the journeyer cannot overcome those obstructions, as I was able to do.

The first presidential race that I remember caring about was the 1984 race. I was in high school at the time, and I supported Democrat Walter Mondale over the re-election of Reagan, and I don’t know if I even could have articulated very well why I preferred Mondale over Reagan, since it certainly wasn’t my parents who influenced my preference for Mondale. If memory serves it was a visceral thing, my visceral, intuitive identification of Mondale as the truly wise (again, the compassionate and intelligent) candidate and Reagan as the poser, the phony.

Of course, in 1984 the very first presidential candidate whom I supported (not with money, because as a minor I didn’t have any [and are minors allowed to contributed to presidential campaigns anyway?], and not with my vote, because I wasn’t yet 18), very much like McGovern had done in 1972, lost to the Repugnican incumbent in a landslide.

Four years later, in 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, whom I supported and voted for as a college student (I remember having to sell my plasma as a starving college student, so I’m pretty certain that I wasn’t able to give Dukakis any money), performed barely better against George H. W. Bush than Mondale had performed against Reagan four years earlier.

Um, yeah, so I wasn’t off to a great start in life in my presidential picks, and for 12 long years as I was politically budding, I suffered through first Ronald Reagan and then George Bush I. (I never will forget graduating from college with a worthless degree but with plenty of student-loan debt during The First George Bush Recession of the late 1980s-early 1990s. These early socioeconomic experiences tend to color your political outlook for life, as the Great Depression very apparently colored my Scrooge-like maternal grandmother’s outlook for the rest of her life.)

Then in the 1990s came pseudo-Democrat Bill Clinton, who, although he benefitted from a rebounding economy (how much of the 1990s’ economic rebound was from his policies and how much of it was from the natural course of economic events I’m not certain), gave us such gems as NAFTA, welfare “reform” and DOMA — oh, yeah, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because having an intern blow you in the Oval Office never can blow up in your face.

So the first Democratic presidential candidate whom I supported — I rooted for and voted for Clinton in 1992 and in 1996 — and who actually won the presidential election was the so-called Democrat who destroyed the Democratic Party by dragging it so far to the right that the Democratic Party today looks like Repugnican Lite. Yay!

Bill Clinton benefitted from a three-way race in 1992, and won with a plurality, not a majority, of the popular vote, which today’s Democratic hacks forget or ignore. (Dems deny that third-party candidate Ross Perot, who garnered a-very-impressive-for-a-third-party-candidate 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992, harmed George H. W. Bush’s re-election bid, but it seems to me that the majority of Perot’s supporters were right of center and that most of them would have voted for Bush over Clinton. [If memory serves, my Magic-8-Ball-wielding mother voted for Perot, and my guess is that had Perot not been a choice, she would have voted for Bush or would not have voted at all.])

I get it that after a string of Democratic presidential defeats — George McGovern, Jimmy Carter (denied a second term), Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis — and after long time in the political wilderness during the Nixon/Ford, Reagan and Bush I years — the Democratic Party apparently wanted to pull away, far away, from the egghead image.

Democrat Adlai Stevenson, who lost to Repugnican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956 yet sought (but did not get) the Democratic Party’s nomination yet again in 1960, seems to have been the eggheaded Democrats’ founding father, at least of our modern era, and indeed, Stevenson was the last presidential candidate from either of the two major parties who, despite having lost a presidential election, was nominated by his party to run in the very next presidential election. (These days, losing a presidential election very apparently means that you’ll never get another shot at your party’s presidential nomination again.)

The last Democratic egghead who lost — but who, surreally, actually won — a presidential election was, of course, Al Gore, who in 2000 won 48.4 percent of the popular vote to George W. Bush’s 47.9 percent, for a difference of more than 500,000 votes.** Only in the United States of America could the candidate who won fewer votes be made — crowned — president by the U.S. Supreme Court and his cronies (such as his brother, who was governor of the pivotal state that he “won,” and the chief elections official of that state who made damn sure that he “won” it), and this is yet another of those wonderful, deeply anti-democratic events during my lifetime that has shaped my current outlook.

So Al Gore’s win/loss in 2000 might have been the death knell for the eggheaded Democratic presidential candidate, but isn’t there some middle ground between a Bill Clinton and an Adlai Stevenson?

You might argue that President Barack Obama more or less fills that middle ground, since he’s known as both intelligent and non-nerdy (and, importantly, highly unlikely to be blown by an intern), but today we have Obama in a race for re-election that shouldn’t be nearly as close as it is, and probably wouldn’t be as close as it is had Obama spent his first two years in office actually delivering upon his ubiquitous 2008 promises of hope and change while both houses of Congress were controlled by his own party, a rare alignment of the stars that never should be squandered, and that even George W. Bush, dipshit that he is, did not squander. (Nor did Bush II, dipshit that he is, shit and piss all over his own fucking base, which seems to be the Obama administration’s and the Obamabots’ favorite fucking pastime.)

In Barack Obama, other than in empty rhetoric and false promises, we see precious little of the spirit of George McGovern that used to infuse the Democratic Party. In Obama we see instead the cynical, opportunistic, center-right spirit of Bill Clinton, an approach that the modern Democratic Party argues is the only approach that works, yet in actuality has no track record of effectiveness.

Again, in my book, Bill Clinton won in 1992 in no small part because of “spoiler” Ross Perot, and again, in 1992 Clinton garnered a plurality (43 percent of the popular vote), not a majority. (The only other president during my lifetime who garnered not even a full 44 percent of the popular vote was Richard Nixon in 1968, the year of my birth.)

Clinton again failed to get a full majority even in 1996 (he got 49 percent of the popular vote), and in his 1996 (and pre-Lewinsky) re-election bid he benefitted from having an incredibly wooden Repugnican opponent in Bob Dull — er, Dole — and he benefitted from a strong economy, which, again, I am not certain how much resulted from his economic policies and how much resulted from the natual ebb and flow of the nation’s economy.

Let’s reflect upon the fact that Barack Obama garnered 53 percent of the popular vote in 2008, which was better that Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever did in the elections from 1992 through 2004. Obama’s 53 percent in 2008 bested Jimmy Carter’s and John F. Kennedy’s take of the popular vote, too.

How did Obama do it?

Again, he ran on a progressive (if too-vague) platform of hope and change. That was the bait.

Obviously, if Obama hadn’t perceived that that was what the majority of Americans wanted, that wouldn’t have been what he promised.

That progressivism is what the majority of Americans wanted, and that progressivism is what Obama Version 2008 promised (even if gauzily), even though his hacks (the Obamabots) love to engage in historical revision and deny that fact, but what Obama has delivered as president is just more Clintonesque, center-right, “bipartisan,” Repugnican-ass-licking bullshit, replete with Billary Clinton as his secretary of state and Bill Clinton as his current campaign surrogate.

So the news of George McGovern’s death early this morning at a hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at age 90 only underscores for me, with another presidential election only a little more than two weeks away, the fact that the Democratic Party of today is only a shadow of what it used to be.

I lament that the only presidents named George whom I got during my lifetime are surnamed Bush, and I have to wonder how George McGovern felt about the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who turned the Democratic Party into the center-right, corporate-ass-licking, lesser-of-two-evils monstrosity of a fundraising machine that it is today.

And I can’t see how I can honor the memory of George McGovern by blackening the oval next to the name of Barack Obama on the mail-in ballot that sits just yards from me right now as I type this sentence, yet unmarked.

*Wikipedia’s entry on George McGovern reports, in part:

George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922-October 21, 2012) was a historian, author and U.S. representative, U.S. senator and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.

McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota…. [After he fought in World War II] he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D., and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected there in 1962.

As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.

The subsequent McGovern-Fraser Commission fundamentally altered the Democratic presidential nominating process, by greatly increasing the number of caucuses and primaries and reducing the influence of party insiders.

The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment sought to end the Vietnam War by legislative means but was defeated in 1970 and 1971.

McGovern’s long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph in gaining the Democratic nomination but left the party badly split ideologically, and the failed vice-presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton undermined McGovern’s credibility. In the general election McGovern lost to incumbent Richard Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in American history. Re-elected senator in 1968 and 1974, McGovern was defeated in a bid for a fourth term in 1980.

Throughout his career, McGovern was involved in issues related to agriculture, food, nutrition, and hunger….

Wikipedia also notes that anyone running against the incumbent Nixon would have had an uphill battle anyway, but after high-profile Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey and other Democrats declined to be McGovern’s running mate, McGovern picked U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, whom McGovern later replaced with Kennedy clan in-law Sargent Shriver after Eagleton’s history of treatment for mental illness came to light, casting doubt on his fitness to handle the presidency if it came to that, and raising doubts about McGovern’s judgment.

Wikipedia notes that Team McGovern didn’t vet Eagleton thoroughly and that Eagleton and his wife intentionally kept Eagleton’s hospitalizations for mental illness from McGovern. Bloomberg notes that less than a week after McGovern had proclaimed that he supported Eagleton “1,000 percent,” he replaced Eagleton with Shriver.

Bloomberg notes that McGovern later wrote in his autobiography, “I did what I had to, but the Eagleton matter ended whatever chance there was to defeat Richard Nixon in 1972. In the minds of many Americans the Eagleton episode convicted me of incompetence, vacillation, dishonesty and cold calculation, all at the same time.”

Bloomberg notes that “The Eagleton misstep ushered in today’s rigorous vetting of potential vice presidential candidates,” which doesn’t really explain what happened with Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin, but whatever…

**You might argue that the last Democratic egghead who ran for president actually was John Kerry in 2004, and while he does hail from Massachusetts, a la egghead Michael Dukakis (indeed, Kerry was Dukakis’ lieutenant governor), Vietnam vet Kerry ran such a war-hero campaign (the “swiftboaters'” defamation of him notwithstanding) that, in my estimation, anyway, he fairly escaped being branded as an egghead.

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‘Watchmen’ is barely worth watching

A computer-animated Billy Crudup, as Dr. Manhattan, replicates himself in a still from “Watchmen.” (What’s below the good doctor’s waistline is even more impressive…)

I love ensemble super-hero movies. The X-Men movies are my favorite, but I enjoyed the Fantasic Four and the Hellboy movies, too.

“Watchmen,” however, disappoints.

I can get over (maybe “get into” is more accurate) the alternate universe of “Watchmen,” in which the United States won the Vietnam War and in which Richard Nixon, because presidential term limits were abolished, is still president in 1985, and in which the Cold War is at its height, with nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union looming large.

But the mixture of super-heroes in “Watchmen” doesn’t make sense.

In “Watchmen” you have (in no certain order) the Joker and/or Scarecrow-like Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), who is psychopathically violent but who is on the side of the good guys; Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), who is a likeable-enough but rather weak Batman knock-off; the cigar-chomping, murderous Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who belongs behind bars instead of out on the streets; Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), whose powers (if he really has any) are not fully explained (and is he gay or what?); and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), whose powers are so great that he not only doesn’t belong in the same room with the other “Watchmen,” but he doesn’t even belong on the same planet with them — and, in fact, in “Watchmen” he spends a good deal of time on Mars (no kidding).

Then there is Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), whose powers probably are the least of everyone’s (she has great martial arts skills and wears a tight yellow and black super-hero suit that is somewhat reminiscent of Uma Thurman’s outfit in “Kill Bill,” but that’s about it), yet she is paired romantically with Dr. Manhattan, whose powers exceed those of even Superman; the good doctor can bilocate (well, poly-locate), make himself as large or small as he pleases, blow things (including people) up with his mind and otherwise manipulate matter with ease, reassamble himself after he has been disassembled, and teleport himself and others (yes, even to the planet Mars).

This mixing and matching of super-heroes with such disparities in their abilities doesn’t really work and makes “Watchmen” a rather convoluted mess.

“Watchmen” has its moments, to be sure, but overall, even Dr. Manhattan, with all of his super-powers, can’t keep the crazy quilt of a movie together.

And director Zack Snyder, who brought us the awful “300,” needs therapy. (Maybe Mel Gibson can be his roommate in the rehab that they both seem to need, since their directorial tastes seem to be so similar.) Gratuitous violence in “Watchmen” includes the unnecessary severing of a thug’s arms with a power saw and a scene in which dogs fight over the remains of a murdered little girl. Ewwwww! (The “real” story of the assassination of JFK, however, while probably unnecessarily graphic, is fairly inventive, however.)

And Snyder apparently felt the need to make the vast majority of us males feel woefully inadequate by endowing Dr. Manhattan with a large flaccid phallus.

The average human’s penis is only about three inches when flaccid, but the blue-hued bald and buff Dr. Manhattan, who struts around nude in most of “Watchmen,” sports what appears to be at least four to five — hell, maybe even six — inches. Flaccid. (And remember, he can make himself as large as he wants to! We’re talking rather unlimited actual penis size!)

And we don’t get just glimpses of Dr. Manhattan’s big blue thing; we really get to know it.

My guess is that Snyder, who seems to have almost as much of an obsession with the male body that I and other gay men do, was disappointed that he apparently couldn’t show us dick in “300,” and so he made up for it with Dr. Mahattan in “Watchmen.”  

(While Billy Crudup probably would love to claim that Dr. Manhattan’s big blue penis is modeled after his own manparts, Dr. Manhattan’s penis appears to be entirely computer generated, and I’m sure that plenty of homegrown computer-animated porn featuring Dr. Manhattan will crop up on the Internet if it hasn’t already. [I know that I’ll be searching for it…]) 

I guess that we can expect more gory and homoerotic testosterone flicks from Snyder, since “300” and “Watchmen” have done so well at the box office.

It’s just too bad that “Watchmen” wasn’t put in the hands of a more capable director.

Snyder didn’t even make good use of the underrated talent of Billy Crudup, who in most of “Watchmen” is computer generated. Even though I never mind seeing a large weenis on the screen, even a blue, computer-animated one, I very much would like to have seen more of the actual Crudup in “Watchmen.”

My grade: B- 

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