ODE TO SUMMER (CONTINUED)

1. It’s Monday, October 26, 2015

2. I can’t imagine Donny Trump or Ben Carson as the Republican nominees for president. And yet, we’re about to make the turn into November 2015, and they’re far and away at the top of the heap. Nobody else is close. The more these guys hang at the top, the less likely it is that anyone who’s more mainstream – although that does seem like a relative term with this bunch of loonies – can overtake them.

3. Blame Sarah Palin. That’s what former White House Chief of Staff William Daley says in a Washington Post op-ed piece. Daley believes that when John McCain picked Palin as his running mate in 2008, he opened the door to the kind of lunacy that has prevailed in the Republican Party since.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

I understand his point – since bursting onto the national scene, Palin has been an embarrassing example of what happens when right-wing talking points combine with being none too bright. And the veins she tapped with her candidacy – the empowerment of women, particularly working mothers – are clogged by the fact that nothing she claims to stand for helps them much.                                                                                                                                                                                      

But saying Palin is to blame misses a big point. The Republicans have been heading down the path they’re on for a long time. Since George W. Bush and Dick Cheney saw political advantage in a unified nation after 9/11 and went down the path of stupidity in Iraq. Since the Bush White House chose faith-based policies over fact-based policies. Since the refusal to tone down some of the racist sniping at President Obama from the day he was elected. Since they decided that immigration reform was a sure way to give Obama a victory without seeing that it would give them one, too.

Sarah Palin is a symptom, not a cause of the Republicans’ turn to stupid. She found a welcome home – just like Trump, Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and others who have no business claiming they should be our commander-in-chief.

4. Currently where I am, in the suburbs north of New York, it is 47 degrees, and with a mild wind it feels like 44.

And yet, thanks to the New York Mets, the summer continues, and will until at least Halloween night. By making it to the World Series, the Mets – and their opponents, the Kansas City Royals – still have us putting aside dealing with the fall and the fact that the end of the calendar year is fast approaching.

It does mean that, when we get to Citi Field on Friday, the conditions are not going to be quite the same as they were the night in July when there was a Heart concert right after a Met win over the Dodgers.

But that’s all right. As the Beach Boys proved, summer is a state of mind as well as a season. The summer of 2015 goes on here in New York and, with luck and some decent pitching, it’ll last until a ticker tape parade downtown next week.

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