Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Secret Handbook

If you’ve been following the Republican leadership race (and who hasn’t?), you’re probably wondering how the various candidates are able to consistently stay on message. You’re probably also wondering why there is so little difference between their positions. The answer lies in an unknown, recently-leaked manual called "The Secret Handbook for Republican Presidential Candidates." Here are some of its entries:
Age, Sex and Race
The Republican Party prides itself on being an equal opportunity elector. We don’t care whether you’re young or old, male or female or black or white. Heck, we don’t even care if you’re Hispanic. But the one thing we do ask is that you be rich....really, really rich. Electoral politics is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for those light in the wallet.
It’s really pretty simple; Christ must be your personal savior, preferably in the context of a fundamentalist strain of Christianity. No exceptions. Sorry Joe Lieberman. We try to be as flexible as possible on this matter which is why we’ve kind of looked the other way for that Mitt Romney fellow. But, truth be told, we’d be more comfortable with an out-and-out born-again Baptist.
Affairs (the Newt Gingrich Rule)
It’s OK to have an affair so long as it was in the last century and you’ve shown at least some remorse. Recent affairs, however, or ones lasting longer than twelve years will be fatal to any candidate unless she’s a woman. After all, we’re not Democrats.
Brain Freezes (the George W. Bush Rule)
Good ole boy impressions are perfectly acceptable. So, too, are the occasional malapropism and slip-up. But beware of lowering your perceived IQ under the political Mendoza line (as of today, about 90). One or two brain freezes won’t necessarily be fatal unless followed by a double mistake on who can vote and when. We’ve added a Rick Perry Corollary this year, also known as the Two-drink Maximum Rule.
Taxes (the Grover Norquist Rule)
This one’s pretty simple. No new taxes. Period. Fullstop. Exclamation point. Don’t even waffle on this one (are you listening Jon Huntsman?) or say "Read my lips." And don’t forget; ‘no new taxes’ is just the minimum position. If you actually want to win the nomination, you have to propose lowering taxes, especially for the wealthy. Acceptable positions include "a flat tax", "no tax" or even "9-9-9," whatever the heck that means.
Gun Control (the Charlton Heston Rule)
Republicans like guns. And we like others to like guns, too. That’s why we support the right to bear arms and, if necessary, arm bears. Whatever it takes to keep freedom ringing loud and clear in our streets in the middle of the night is fine by us. If you absolutely, positively have to waffle on this issue, you can always claim to be a bit of a moderate and propose personal limitations on small, handheld nuclear weapons.
A Mexican Fence
When it comes to immigration, the minimum acceptable position is a fence along the Mexican border. What kind of fence or how tall is entirely up to you. Ten feet, twenty feet, wire mesh, concrete, electrified. Be creative. How about an alligator-filled moat or a tourist-themed Great Wall of Texas?
A Female Candidate (the Sarah Palin Rule)
If you wish to be the first female Republican presidential candidate, stay out of the race. That way you can’t screw up and, with any luck, by the time the convention rolls around, there’ll be no one left to run except for you. This is also known as the anti-Michele Bachman Rule.
Libertarians (the Ron Paul Rule)
We welcome libertarians into the Republican Party. We’re just not that keen on having them run as president. Let’s face it; every party needs a little comic relief and Ron Paul is both little and comic, kind of our version of Dennis Kucinich. But there’s no point in making the next election any easier for Obama than it has to be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who's Naughty or Nice

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus here and I want to answer some special letters I received this Christmas season. It’s not just kids who write me looking for presents, you know. This year I got some written requests from a few grownups, too.
Although Santa tries to get every kid who writes to him a present that he or she really wants, that same rule doesn’t always apply to these older correspondents. More often than not, I find it’s better to give them something they actually need.

Barack Obama
Ever since he was a little boy in Indonesia, Barack has been asking to live in a big white house. I finally managed to make that one happen for him but now he’s asking for everything under the sun like a Democratic-controlled Congress and a five percent unemployment rate. Hey, I’m Santa, not a miracle worker. There’s only so much I can do. But I do know what Barack needs and that’s why this Christmas I’m going to bring him a kick in the pants, a stiffer spine and a crazy Republican presidential nominee.

Hillary Clinton
I remember Hillary when she went by the name of Rodham which was right up to 1992, as I recall. Anyway, poor Hillary has not always gotten what she wanted for Christmas including the Democratic nomination in 2008 and a faithful husband. But that doesn’t mean that this is her year. I know she’d like to see her boss trip up and take a political face-plant but I’m going to save her best present for 2016.

Mitt Romney
Little Mitt has had it pretty easy all these years. His dad was the head of American Motors and the governor of Michigan so he got just about everything he wanted. That included the governorship of Massachusetts and a cushy corporate gig. Now he says he wants the Republican nomination. Before he gets that gift, however, I think he needs a few other things like a personality de-stiffener, a consistent platform and maybe a new style of underwear.

Newt Gingrich
I’ve known Newt since he was knee-high to a grasshopper which, ironically, makes a great meal for a newt. It’s been hard trying to keep up with his Christmas wishes over the years since he keeps changing his mind on such things as ethical standards, consulting contracts and wives. Now he says he wants to run the whole dang country. This year, however, I think I’m just going to give him what he really needs: a daily dose of humility and a five-second delay when speaking.

Ron Paul
From the moment he could talk, little Ronnie was the odd child. He never wanted more; he always wanted less. As in less government, less spending, less foreign involvement. Now he’s actually asking me for something more, namely the Republican presidential nomination. Before I can do that, however, I’m going to have to get him a moderate platform and a whole new personality. Until then, he’ll have to make do this year with a leather-bound collection of the works of Ayn Rand.

Rick Perry
At least there’s one guy whose wants are the same as his needs. That’s why I’ll be putting a one-way ticket back to Austin in Rick Perry’s stocking this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Last Liberal Republican

The last living liberal Republican has decided to disown that label. Tired of being called a "liberal" or even a "socialist", Dirk Delaney, 76, of Providence, Rhode Island could no longer take the incessant ridicule and finally gave up.
In the last century, liberal Republicans once roamed the American political landscape in huge numbers. They were heard to regularly proclaim their liberal social views on op-ed pages, at national conventions and even during presidential elections.
"I remember when we had a real say in the Republican Party," said Delaney. "Why we once even had one of our own as Vice President."
"You remember Nelson Rockefeller, don’t you?" questioned Mr. Delaney plaintively. "He was a liberal Republican, you know."
But those days of left-leaning Republicans thriving in large numbers in every state of the union (except possibly Idaho) are long over. The socially progressive member of the G.O.P. seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird.
In recent years, sightings of liberal Republicans had become rarer and rarer. It was thought that there might still be some small groups of these exotic creatures in sanctuaries in the northeast but they were seldom spotted in public or in print.
"I know there were a few left," said Delaney. "But they would only reveal themselves to me in private. They were afraid to go public for fear of being labelled ‘pinkos’, ‘commies’ or, even worse, ‘Democrats.’ It got so bad that even the moderate ones were loath to admit that they had once voted for Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford."
Now that Mr. Delaney has foresworn the hated label, there may be no one left to carry on the once-proud tradition of liberal Republicanism. In fact, rumor has it that an application has been made to formally induct that phrase into the Oxymoron Hall of Shame.
"I had great hopes for that Mitt Romney fellow," said Delaney. "His father George was a liberal Republican, you know. But you’d never know it to listen to his son. I don’t think he even acknowledges his real father anymore. The last I heard, he said his dad was a poor, hardworking dirt farmer who died when Mitt was just an infant."
With the disappearance of the last liberal Republican, the G.O.P. is reportedly marking the transition by changing its informal description as "the party of Lincoln" to "the party of Reagan" or possibly even the "G.O.T.P.", as in the Grand Old Tea Party.