Monday, August 6, 2007

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

I think one could make the case individually that the Democratic candidates are just as interesting as any others but, in the debate format, there is a tendency to see them as a sort of collective. As if they’d all lived at the same kibbutz or commune. Or were embryonic companions of an enormous Democrat incubator. A mass of undifferentiated verbiage. Boring.

Fortunately, Hillary is a woman and does not have to don the same uniform as Messrs. Kucinich, Dodd, Biden, or that third-place guy with the great hair. Hillary can distinguish herself from the pack in a variety of ways unavailable to other Democrats. Hillary can wear pink, signaling femininity and a veiled feminism in one single brush stroke. One could make colorful remarks about Barak Obama but Democrats are fond of saying that America, especially Democrat America, is color-blind. Settling the nomination upon a white woman from a privileged background can be explained as the only kind of revolution worth making to a constituency concerned more with winning than with telling the truth.

Perhaps the Democrat candidates are consciously contributing to the uniform geopolitical view in marching lock-step on the War on Terror and chanting anti-Bush slogans to a choir of similar thinking people. Hate the Republican candidates or love them, at least their debates are not as boring as the Democratic contender’s debates.

Having settled on McCain early for a variety of sound personal reasons, I had scarcely looked at the other Republicans vying for the nomination. Of course, how could any person living in the Northeast not have ingested a little bit of Giuliani? The guy that saved New York. The guy that married his nurse. The guy who made New York habitable again after a decade of pious and studiously empathetic mismanagement. Imagine my surprise last night when I returned from a harried road trip and discovered there were other candidates standing alongside my man McCain and Rudy Giuliani.

Mitt Romney looked the charming stalwart and exhibited a wit to match in describing Senator Obama as a guy “willing to have tea with our enemies while bombing our friends.” Or something to that effect. A combination of “Jane Fonda and Doctor Strangelove,” he said. It might be fun to hang out with him for a couple of hours sometime. So far as Mormonism goes, I think all the world’s great religions are mostly good and a little bit spooky, too.

That Tancredo guy looked tough and smart. I don’t think a guy that tough could be elected. Remember Bob Dole? Dark, dark, very dark. I’m afraid that the difference between Dole and Tancredo may be that Tom only looks and talks tough whereas Bob Dole was for sure the kind of guy to give somebody a much needed smack down.

Sam Brownback was just perfect, so perfect that I couldn’t be sure just what he was thinking. If I had to hang around with that guy, I’d feel I’d have to wear long sleeves to cover my tattoo. Keep away from beaches and swimming pools.

Huckabee? What a likeable man! I would be comfortable with him as my doctor but not in hunting down Al Qaeda.

The Big Surprise for me was the California Representative Duncan Hunter. Surviving California means you’ve got to be a player and a hitter and a nut-buster, too. But being a House Rep has not exactly been a springboard to the presidency—it happened maybe…once?

I guess there were some others, too. Ron Paul was entertaining and had the most amazing face, a natural and not unpleasant caricature of itself. So far as faces go, Tommy Thompson has a great face, too. Thompson has a Jake LaMotta ex-pug’s face. He’s an unfancy man who knows that Presidential debates are merely superficial but essential beauty contests required by the Fourth Estate.

Will the real slim shady please stand up?

No comments: