The Sneezing Opossum
Actor Tom Arnold, best known for seeing Roseanne naked and surviving, did not rate well among test audiences for True Lies. He ranked somewhere below the unknown actors playing terrorists, and slightly above real terrorists.
By the film’s end, though, he scored a net positive. In other words, to become popular, he just had to pretend to be likable for two hours—an impossible task for at least three Republican presidential candidates.
I thought about this as I warmed to Senator Lindsey Graham during his appearance on The Daily Show. I laughed at his jokes, applauded his honest assessment of his party, and was charmed by a smile brighter than the flames at South Carolina’s annual book-burning.
I recalled how he cried when talking about his friendship with Joe Biden, just as I’m sure he cried when cutting veterans’ benefits while advocating a ground war in Syria, voted to keep kids off CHIP, and learned that transgender people can use the bathroom.
Then I recalled something else: This guy’s awful.
I’m not sure if he’s brave—like when he tried to teach math to a room full of Tea Partiers—or ballsy, because he demanded emergency aid for his state after voting against it for Hurricane Sandy victims. Either way, he’s got more stones than Billy Joel’s kidneys.
He never met a tax cut for the wealthy that he didn’t want to invite inside for lemonade. He doesn’t want to ban high-capacity mags, but does want to privatize Social Security. He wants to fill Gitmo rather than close it, start wars rather than end them, and gives you pennies rather than Halloween candy.
Same with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. She got a lot of credit for signing a bill to remove the confederate flag from the capitol grounds, oblivious to the fact that, only months before, she was best known for tossing black people off voter rolls like they were Tori Spelling’s nightclub entourage.
Like Graham, Ohio Governor John Kasich is perceived as moderate simply because he hasn’t whipped out his penis to slap it across Andrea Mitchell’s face.
Kasich gets credit for expanding Medicaid in his state. Generally speaking, accepting $390 million would be considered a no-brainer, were we not dealing with a party in serious brain drought.
Meanwhile, Kasich wants to end Obamacare, the program that makes the Medicaid expansion possible, which is like bragging about your adopted child before burning down the orphanage.
As governor, he passed 16 laws restricting abortion, including a mandatory ultrasound, like the one that ended Bob McDonnell’s VP hopes. Abortion providers in Ohio have dropped by half, while logic and human decency are at four and two percent, respectively.
Kasich passed a union-busting bill like the one that garnered Scott Walker a recall election. Voters later repealed the bill in a referendum. By way of comparison, voters couldn’t even repeal Kasich’s “Everybody Gets Ebola” bill of 2014.
He boasts about attending a gay wedding. Yeah, he’s a regular rainbow-colored Harvey Milk! Except he opposes gay marriage, banned LGBT adoptions, and signed an anti-discrimination executive order only after gender-identity protections were removed, because he didn’t support their “lifestyle.” For a straight guy, his administration is chock full of dicks.
And before you say it, yes, Hillary Clinton also opposed gay marriage. But she’s “evolved” on the issue. I think we could check Kasich’s neck and still find gills.
(Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act—a bill Kasich voted for while he was in Congress—but it’s worth noting that Clinton didn’t ask for the bill, and it came at a time when gay marriage was as popular as an acne-scarred math nerd with a bowel disorder.)
I realize Ted Cruz is worse in every way, especially when it comes to immigration, healthcare, and eating boogers. But that’s my point: Nobody needs reminding that Ted Cruz is awful. He’s what stupid would look like if it had a face.
Republican politicians are like used cars. Outside, they may look spruced up and fancy (or, in Cruz’s case, like a 1972 Gremlin). But inside is an engine that goes to war in the Middle East every time it needs an oil change, and a knob that’s forever stuck on AM talk radio. Worse, it has no brakes and is heading straight off a cliff.