by Terry Hargrove
Last Friday, I received one of those automated calls that has in the last two months given me the illusion of having lots of friends. This one was about a Tennessee politician named Ty Cobb, and what a miserable Democrat/alleged human being he was, and why I should vote for his opponent, Sheila Butt (real names, I promise).
I found the experience confusing for several reasons. First, I assumed Ty Cobb was a great, but dead, baseball player, and given his penchant for sharpening his cleats to maim second basemen and his all-around foul disposition, I always assumed he was a Republican. I mean, he had balls. Second, I haven’t lived in Tennessee for five years, so I’m getting twice as many of these calls as my fellow Connecticutters. Some people might think that’s unfair, but to me it’s glorious.
It all ends tomorrow, for a few months at least. Am I bitter? Hell no. I think this has been the greatest election season ever! Sorry, that exclamation point just slipped in there, but after what I’ve learned about my fellow well-meaning and well-funded Americans during the past months, I’ll be throwing those things around for everything! Oops. That one slipped in. My point is this: I have to pick tomorrow between four individuals who want to represent me as governor (Dan Malloy, career politician or Tom Foley, heartless businessman) and senator (Linda McMahon, wrestling nut buster/business owner or Richard Blumenthal, career politician, imaginary war hero). But now that I know all about them, I don’t think I’d let these guys cut my grass.
But if they did cut my grass, this is how it would go, and I’m basing this speculation on what I have learned through multiple mailings about these four illustrious folks. Linda would show up with four steroid-infused wrestlers and a suggestively dressed lady, who would tempt my seven-year-old with lots of provocative and confusing messages about what’s wrong and right with the human form. Richard would tell me all about how he was cutting the grass at Phnom Pen just before the Tet Offensive without having bothered to actually go to Viet Nam. Dan would assure me that even though he once employed 25 grass cutters, he has now expanded his business to only 10 grass cutters, and through some quantum way I can’t understand, created new jobs (in a parallel universe maybe). Tom Foley would buy the grass cutting business, take away their health care, kick their dogs, and walk off with a $20 million profit.
Is all this negative campaigning effective? Sure it is. I hate all these guys now, but it is my sworn duty as a citizen to vote for two of them tomorrow. This isn’t a question of choosing the lesser of two evils, this is more like picking the least unpleasant swill in the trough.
I’ve received so much mail from Linda McMahon that I’m going to put her name on my resume as a reference. She might not know all about me, but I’ve learned volumes about her. Stay-at-home moms in SUVs (in Connecticut, a huge demographic) love her. She doesn’t want her senatorial salary, won’t accept any benefits, and was willing to spend 70+ gazillion just to become a concerned public servant. One of 50 very special concerned and influential public servants, that is. She’s running against Richard Blumenthal, but I can call him Dick. He told me I could. I know all about him, too, and I liked him better when I knew him less.
I’ve heard some of my Democratic friends are concerned about tomorrow’s outcome, but they’re missing the big picture here. Can money buy an election? Of course it can, it always could. But now money can buy something even better. Money can buy memory! Money can make people forget that we always seem to have the same choice, which pits a career politician (bad)/dedicated public servant (good) against a successful businessman (good)/heartless money-lover (bad). Money can also make us forget who got us into this mess in the first place. They all did. So the question becomes, how can I turn this to my advantage?
I can be the outsider. A real outsider. I’ve never been in business or elected to public office, or even what you might call successful. That means I offer a real choice. Since basic decency is no longer a requirement, I think I might run for office myself. I’ve got the nasty part down, and I’ve been working on my campaign. My opponent, whoever he or she might be, is a Sith Lord who was personally responsible for the break-up of Sandra Bullock’s marriage. My opponent has Mein Kampf on his bedside table and the Chinese flag tattooed on his netherparts. My opponent never served during wartime, never created a job, stole health care from the innocent, wants to sell aircraft carriers to Afghanistan, inhales, pushes steroids, and invented reality television. That was easy.
So all I need is: 1. a coherent message with specific details on how to fix things 2. an opponent 3. a bundle of cash 4. good hair. Did you fall for that one? They will. They always do. After 2010, I can get by just fine and get elected with only three of those things.