I have been on the receiving end — and the giving end — of far too many bad dates and I have strong opinions about them. They should be avoided, obviously, but if you get caught unguarded, a bad date should end.
I feel so strongly about it, in fact, that if you had been on a date with me and wondered where I went…I simply thought I was a bad date and I decided to spare you the pain.
Now consider this: When we watch Republicans campaign today, what are we experiencing if we are not experiencing something tantamount to a bad date? Are we being courted by the candidate or not? Campaigning Republicans epitomize the bad date. Who in their right mind would put up with it?
Picture a Republican campaign speech or debate. Now picture a bad date. Do the two meld into one? They do for me. It doesn’t take a deep imagination to see that this is true. (Even a Republican can understand it if he or she had the propensity for understanding.)
Go to a GOP campaign rally or watch a debate. These aren’t only bad dates, they’re stalking freaks! (I won’t comment on whether I have a first-hand perspective regarding the latter.)
Like a bad date, these tiresome bores cannot shut up. Even obviously failing candidates (e.g., Bachmann, Paul) make stage appearances acting as if we care. And their flailing efforts are incessant. They won’t let you grab the check and go home; they want YOU to believe THEY still have a chance.
What motivates them to believe? Have you ever seen such a hapless lot?
Good lord. Look at them! Where is the style? The panache? The promised personality?
Republicans and bad dates alike show no signs of that sort of thing. Boring, dull, and dressed like a college basketball coach. You know it when you see it. It just isn’t your thing. I’m not sure about you, but I like something more than blue suits and red ties or red dresses and pearls. The two-dimensional lack of substance and depth might be superficial, but when it comes to Republicans you can indeed judge the man (or woman) by his style. In this case, the conservative cardboard look fits the bill, giving the classic grey flannel suit a bad rap.
But I’ll try to be fair and somewhat less boorish…so I’ll move on.
Recall an occassion when your date talked endlessly on and on and on about something you could care absolutely nothing about. First off you didn’t really believe your date was both captain of the football team and the prom queen, for example, but you politely nod and smile anyway. Isn’t that kind of like a Republican telling you about his or her record?
And what is worse on a date than hearing your date talk about how bad his or her last relationship was? “I’m such an easy girl to date, but Johnny never made me feel special…” That sort of thing. Soon you start to feel sorry for Johnny, right?
I want to suggest that just as you can judge a bad date, you can likewise judge bad politics. If a candidate is nothing but blame, chances are good a lot of blame belongs with the candidate. In the case of Republicans today, we have a very, very bad — and even delusional — date. (Stay away from the crazies! My attorney has scolded me more than once.)
Democrats ruined everything. Republicans, as they tell it, were the “low-maintenance” steady part the past’s bad relationships. Problems today? Oh no, not their fault, not their problem. This, of course, is all about the bad things other people did. Bad, bad, bad. Them, them, them.
An important bad date corollary to blaming others is to bestow undue credit. If the previous relationship was bad, the future is just grand. You know the type….family is perfect, job is perfect, friends are perfect, pet is perfect…everything you cannot see and touch is perfect. And they talk on and on and on and on about this. Am I right? Of course I am.
Now consider this in the context of GOP politics. Everything is perfect. In place of the perfect family, you have Ronald Reagan, the kindly old uncle who passed away “but you would have loved him.” In place of the job you have big-spending donors and their think tanks. Standing for friends are the brainwashed minions drooling in the audience. And the pet? How many candidates don’t have a spouse?
Finally, and most tiresome of all, is the date that simply talks and talks as if they have something important to say. Again, listen to a debate. It amazes me that a guy like Rick Perry can screw it up. All these guys have is the same answer to everything. On a GOP date, all the talk is tax cuts and job creators, whatever those things might be.
“My cabbage is rotten.”
“I have cancer.”
“Support the ‘Job Creators'”
These people appear to believe their childish myths very much in the way that a coddled misanthrope believes he was once both football captain and prom queen. It doesn’t matter that he knows nothing about what he’s talking about or that most of it is a lie, he likes the story, he likes the lie, and he’s convinced you will like it too. Doesn’t that sound like a bad date who relentlessly praises himself?
Of course there’s another and more convincing way to look at this, too, but to see that we need to turn to Josef Goebbels and the Big Lie. If you’re going to tell a lie, tell and big one and tell it often. Eventually enough of it will stick.
And who hasn’t been on a date with a liar? We all have! The difference is these are just dates and most of us walk away from them. It might cost us a $50 and that’s it.
The GOP…well, they want to move in!…and that is not what you want. Think again of a bad date. Would you want that bad date moving in? No, of course not. Why would you want anyone as equally flawed doing so?
Live intelligently. Don’t vote Republican.
- New at Reason: The GOP Presidential Online Dating Game (reason.com)
- America to Republicans: We’re Not Going Down That Road with You (slog.thestranger.com)
- 2012 Should Be About Ideas, Not GOP Star Power (usnews.com)