And so, we segue from one Super Bowl to the next – another overblown, overhyped, contrived melodrama of hubris and vitriol. No, not Super Bowl 2013 -- Election Day 2012.
It’s a good time to invest in a DVR so you don’t have to endure the onslaught of soul-sucking political ads, and stock your car with CDs so you can avoid the radio commercials too, lest you’re so overcome with doom and despair that you slam into a telephone pole just to end it all.
So, who was in the Super Bowl last weekend? That’s so five minutes ago. Now, it’s all about the Red Team vs. the Blue Team, the yin and yang of American democracy, locked in eternal battle like the Chinese tiger and dragon -- never an actual victory, just an endless whirlpool of strife. And it swirls fastest during election years.
Most of the strife thus far has been within the Red Team, as they attempt to decide which of their candidates they dislike least. When one finally floats to the top of the sludge, Republicans will crow their support, because their hatred of the Blue Team in general and Barack Obama in particular overrides all rational thought.
Thing is, Red Team, you can voice support for whoever turns out to be the lesser of four evils, but nobody believes it. It’s like watching someone eating a turd sandwich. You can say it’s tasty, but we can see you gagging. Why not just admit it tastes like, well, crap, and spit it out? You’re choking it down for no reason. None of these candidates will beat Obama. The question isn’t “if” Obama will win by a landslide, it’s “by how much.”
This turkey’s done. Stick a fork in it and go home. And don’t you go all “there she goes again” on me. I’m not simply flashing my Blue spankies and waving pom-poms for the Blue Team. I’m stating the obvious. Let’s just dispense with all the posing and pretending, the bombast and the B.S, and spare the entire country the misery of continuing this charade, as well as a forest’s worth of political junk mail that’ll soon clog our mailboxes. Consider this column a plea for mercy: Republicans, please put an end to your own misery.
Everything you need to know about this election year is illustrated by that 1980s movie “War Games.” A young computer hacker unwittingly triggers worldwide global destruction by hijacking NORAD’s new “smart” computer (named Joshua) into playing a global nuclear warfare “game.” And it’s determined to win. As the Doomsday clock ticks, our hacker tries a last-ditch move to save the world from total annihilation: he instructs Joshua to play “Tic-Tac-Toe” against itself. Game after game flashes across Joshua’s screen at lightening speed, each one ending in stalemate. And then… a blank screen. Silence. Joshua “learns” that the only way to win the game is not to play at all, extrapolates this epiphany to its ongoing nuclear warfare “game” and shuts off the missiles just in time.
It’s like that this year, Republicans. No matter which Republican candidate faces Obama, no matter where you put the X’s and O’s, you’ll lose. There’s no other conclusion. You know it, your party knows it, but you’re too damned stubborn to admit it. You can’t look me, or anyone else, in the eye and declare that Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are the best the Republican party has to offer. Heck, try looking yourself in the eye in the mirror and saying, “Newt Gingrich is the best the Republican party has to offer” and see whether you laugh, cry or throw up.
It’s not your year, Red Team. Come back in 2016 with strong candidates like Chuck Hagel. I’d put on a Red jersey for Hagel. Now, there’s a leader. And he’s not the only one in your party. So, where are they now? I suspect the smart Republican hopefuls correctly deduced that A) defeating Obama would be difficult, if not impossible because, B) Obama didn’t create our country’s problems, he only inherited them, and that fact will be wielded like a machete to slash the Republican presidential candidate’s chances into itty bitty pieces, and C) inheriting the ongoing mop-up of the post-Bush dung-heap of debt and difficulty would be a huge drag.
And then there’s the not-so-smart ones. And – key point – they won’t win.
So, RedHeads, why waste all this time, money and passion on getting onto the field anyway? Why choose to participate in a competition from which, at best, you’ll emerge looking pathetic and sad? Learn from Joshua. Choose not to play the game.
This is an appeal to all rational Republicans: This slate of candidates is beneath you. It’s a joke. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a tragedy. Voice your disgust to the RNC by not voting at all. Tell them if they can’t offer viable candidates, you’re done, and then re-register as “Decline to State.” Maybe a mass exodus will get their attention. I’ve been a Decliner for several years now, and it’s amazingly liberating. I’m beholden to no one’s interests but my own.
Here’s the thing: We need the Republican party to survive. Seriously. We need the balance, yes, the yin and yang of American democracy. But the tiger and dragon must demonstrate their own strengths – not merely their mutual hatred, which is a given -- to stay alive in the battle. If the only thing Republican candidates have to offer is “We hate Obama,” the Red Team is doomed. It needs to show us “Why we’re better than Obama.” So far, it hasn’t.
Republicans, the best thing you can do for your party, and your country, is to choose not to play this game in 2012. You deserve better. America deserves better.