If you were looking for the grand 2008 Republican Presidential primary fracas to disambiguate the meaning of conservative for the coming century, boy are you starting to feel like a doofus. This is more of a catfight between the fatcats; an imbroglio in the seraglio, as it were. These are the nabobs of nuance, the satraps of sophistry, each a singleton of doubletalk, an evangel of evasion. This is politics as usual, unusually so.
Which means that what you and I need more than ever is one of those magazine questionnaires teaching you what you should be asking yourself about the candidates. And since you popular types requested so nicely, here is your handy-dandy guide to who should earn your primary vote and what secondary characteristics he should display:
1. Has your candidate been tested in the crucible of harsh travail, enduring horrific environments such as the Salt Lake City Olympics, rooming with a gay couple while being estranged from your wife, seven years in a North Vietnamese prison camp or the set of Law and Order when the sandwich truck shows up late?
2. Has your candidate gone to the wall on immigration, hit the wall on immigration or built the wall on immigration?
3. Has your candidate been a Watergate lawyer who helped sink Nixon, thus enabling him to compete with Hillary Clinton, a Watergate lawyer who helped sink Nixon? And is he a party loyalist, thus enabling him to inspire party loyalty?
4. Has your candidate, while Mayor of New York, refused donations of many millions from Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia? If yes, dump him hard. He has no chance of raising enough funds.
5. To settle a dispute between a candidate with two last names, like Duncan Hunter, and one with two first names, like Ron Paul, would they consent to compromise by each taking one name from the other and becoming Ron Hunter and Paul Duncan?
6. Is your candidate equal to handling the mixed metaphors of our national public life? Can he knit the fraying of the fabric of our society while giving a massage to the body politic? Can he anchor the ship of state from veering down the garden path? Can he hoe that tough row on the fruited plain?
7. Since the French symbolize socialism, the continental sound can only be achieved on the right by using French terms specifically for the most capitalist elements. Can your candidate stress the laissez-faire of the entrepreneur with the savoir-faire of the debonair?
8. If your candidates finish 1-2 and decide to combine in the Hunter-Thompson ticket, will their campaign book be entitled Fear and Loathing in Washington, D.C.?
9. Does your candidate have his 95-year-old mother accompany him on the campaign trail to make him seem youthful in comparison? And if so, how does he address the paradox of “nonage” meaning childhood and immaturity while “nonagenarian” means a person over ninety?
10. When your candidate says he favors a certain piece of legislation because it has all the earmarks of a good bill, do those earmarks have his brother-in-law’s name on them?
11. Does your candidate favor appointment of strict constructionist judges to the Federal courts, and if so, does he favor new regulations to insure strict construction of our nation’s bridges?
12. Does your candidate have the first clue of how much AIDS research you actually get for 10 billion dollars as opposed to, say, 10 million dollars?
13. Does your candidate fully comprehend that the global energy crisis has been resolved in toto through replacing all of Thomas Edison’s ideas with dim bulbs?
14. Does your candidate believe that human activities, such as revving the engine of your Corvette in front of your girlfriend’s house, are frying the planet to a crisp, and if so, will the green cheese which the moon is made out of melt?
15. Is your candidate aware of our national obesity crisis and does he support the creation of a new Cabinet-level department to monitor the caloric intake of every citizen?
Filling out this convenient format will enable you to choose wisely, so that a truly wise and inspired individual will put his hand into your pocket to buy a golden future for our children, or at least such issue as may survive the supersized global tuna melt, you know, the one with Al Gore’s picture.