A party of hyper-ventilators

Just when you thought that politics could not get more trivial in the US, we reach new lows. The decision by president Obama to officially have the traditional name Denali become the official name of the mountain in Alaska that had been called Mt. McKinley should have been a minor news item, relegated to one paragraph in most newspapers except perhaps in Alaska.

McKinleyBut nothing these days is too trivial to not make a fuss over and we now see once again an absurd storm over this silly issue. It is being portrayed as either an unbridled abuse of presidential power or a sign of Obama’s racism and hisfirst step in erasing all landmarks named after white people.

Of course, Ohio politicians, especially Republicans, are positively outraged that one of their former presidents is being dissed in this way. But even people who have no ties to Ohio are wading into the fray. Donald Trump is, as usual, way out ahead and promising to change the name back again if elected president. Mike Huckabee says that Congress should move to stop the name change. So what will the other candidates do to one up those two? Will Ted Cruz promise to shut down the government unless the McKinley name is restored? Will Bobby Jindal throw a temper tantrum and threaten to stop breathing?

The editorial board of the Plain Dealer listed the grandstanding statements by Ohio politicians on this non-issue and ridiculed them.

Given that Alaskans of all persuasions demonstrably want to name the mountain Denali, it is hard to consider the protest by Ohio’s congressional Republicans, who are all, starting with Portman, up for re-election in 2016, as anything more than a publicity stunt.

Then again, thanks to Portman, Boehner and their allies, maybe America’s major challenges are behind us. Maybe the federal budget is balanced. Maybe the nearly 10,000 uniformed Americans posted in Afghanistan are no longer in harm’s way. And maybe Ohio’s statewide poverty rate, and the poverty rates in the congressional districts of Reps. Bill Johnson of Marietta, Steve Chabot and Brad Westrup, both of Cincinnati, and Mike Turner of Dayton are no longer higher than the national rate.

If so, have at it, gentlemen: Having solved so many of our other problems, the name of a mountain thousands of miles from Ohio deserves to be at the top of your agendas.

The Republicans seem to have lost all sense of proportion, where every minor issue is elevated into a major confrontation. But perhaps we should not be surprised at this disconnect from reality. After all, 54% of Republicans still think Obama is a Muslim while only 29% think he was born in the US.

Incidentally, the US Geological Survey has just announced that the height of Denali is 20,310 feet, 10 feet less than the previous stated elevation of 20,320 feet. Coincidence? I think not. It is only a matter of time before concerns are raised about Obama reducing the height of the tallest mountain in America as symbolic of his secret desire to reduce America’s greatness.


  1. says

    Knee jerk reactions from reactionary jerks living on their knees, in denial about Denali.

    the USGS has just announced that the height of Denali is 20,310 feet, 10 feet less than the previous stated elevation of 20,320 feet. Coincidence? I think not.

    They’ll probably say Obama made a molehill out of a mountain.

  2. Pianoman, Church of the Golden Retriever says

    Didn’t Jesus say something about being able to move mountains? Maybe they can just pray the 10 feet back

  3. says

    The republican candidates are so concerned about Denali because it’s the only piece of real estate they can probably point to easily on a map. Afghaniswhatits? We don’t need no steenkin’ foreign policy, we have serious issues here inside the borders of ‘murrica!(*)

    (* stolen land)

  4. Al Dente says

    Speaking as a retired enlisted veteran, I have a minor soft spot in my heart for McKinley. While many presidents were in the military, William McKinley was the only one who was enlisted. That said, I couldn’t care less that Denali is no longer named for ex-Sergeant McKinley.

  5. thebookofdave says

    Seems like an awful waste of god’s mojo, Pianoman. Anyone going through the effort to round up two or three Christians would simply ask Jesus to take the mountain back to Ohio, where it came from.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    San Jose, California actually has a huge(-ish) statue of McKinley. I think he was the only POTUS to have visited the city at the time the park was created, plus he had just been assassinated. However, I have failed to detect a large “Keep Mount McKinley” movement here.

  7. brucegee1962 says

    “I do not prize the word ‘cheap.’ It is not a word of hope, nor a word of cheer. It is not a word of inspiration. It is the badge of poverty. The signal of distress. Cheap merchandise means cheap men, cheap men means a cheap country.” — Wm. McKinley

    A true leader for the GOP of today — someone who obviously doesn’t have the least frigging clue of what it means to be poor, and doesn’t care to learn.

    Full disclosure: I grew up across the street from his birthplace.

  8. bobmunck says

    Given that the Alaska state legislature and the majority of the population have named it Denali, isn’t Obama just upholding States’ Rights? He’s not allowing the federal government to override the state on a local issue. The right wing is supposed to be in favor of States’ Rights.

  9. Johnny Vector says

    With apologies to Sondheim, and anyone who tries to sing this, and, well, anyone who isn’t familiar with the show Assassins

    Obama, quiet man
    Said I will do what a president can.
    Yes, and there’s nothing more fitting than
    With the native Athabascan
    Of Matanuska-Susitna
    And Denali Boroughs in the
    Great American wilderness, Alaska.

    Wrapped him a handkerchief round his pen.
    Said “This is what the Alaskan sen-
    Ators have all been wanting since I don’t know when.”
    And that’s the game.
    In the USA you can let them say
    The original name.

    Saw Mt. McKinley there in the air.
    Heard the Alaskans say “It’s not fair”
    Named for a man who ain’t never been there.
    It’s such a shame.
    And who’s to blame?
    In the USA after long delay,
    You can back states rights in a useful way
    You’ve been given the power to let them say
    The original name.
    The original name.

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