If we hypothesize that the Republican Party has metastasized into a cancer on the body politic, then New York Governor George Pataki would be one of the hemorrhoids -- excruciating and annoying, but largely orthogonal to the more severe condition at hand.
Still, Pataki has inadvertently reminded us of one thing as of late: chickenhawks breed too.
In a country that truly revered principles and values like honor and commitment, two things would occur: Pataki would be ashamed of himself; and we would all be surprised that his son was trying to find a way to duck out. Obviously, neither of those things is likely to happen. Really, who among us doesn't just cynically assume that the rich and powerful have their asses royally covered when it comes to actually serving in the causes they bray about so?
Some have averred that perhaps Ted Pataki is anti-war, and thus does not deserve to die for the political sins of his father. I say that no one forced Ted Pataki to join the Marine ROTC, and he couldn't have possibly not known what he was getting into when he joined.
The problem is that George Pataki still seems to think he's viable for a 2008 presidential bid, so he's loath to publicly change his mind about this war he's shamelessly whored for, even when his son's life may be on the line.
Perhaps if Ted Pataki were to honor the commitment he made to the Marines, his father might gain a little empathy and insight into the objective reality of what all of his hortatory speechifying and presidential tea-bagging actually entails. Men with "guts" and "righteousness" do not seek law-school deferments, and Marines especially do not turn their backs on their brothers like this. This is bullshit, Junior -- you get your pampered ass in there and do what you fucking said you were going to do, or be branded a coward for life. Take your pick.
Or, you might eventually become President. Be sure to talk about Jesus as much as possible; make shit up if you have to.
Better yet, I have a modest proposal, as to what to do with these people who are oh-so-brave with everyone else's lives, but can't tuck their tails between their legs fast enough when it's their turn to contribute to their war, and the Dear Leader they love so much. And it's not just young Pataki here; he's probably a perfectly nice kid. It's really the arrogant, obnoxious little claques of college pricks I have in mind more generally, rather than Ted Pataki specifically.
Anyway, my proposal is this: we cordon off a certain section of forested land -- say, half of Yellowstone (heh indeedy) -- and send all these college punks and their families there, where they can perch in the trees with their chickenhawk brethren, and tell each other just how tough they are.
Spread the word.