November 2004

Notes from a politically challenged election

By Janelle Holden

Let me first apologize for writing about pre-election politics for post-election readers. Understandably, you may all be sighing a collective sigh that your phone lines aren’t ringing any more and political advertising is once more banished to the post-season, I mean, sometime in 2006. I’m with you on this one, believe me.

But I can’t help commenting on this election cycle. For one thing, I have little else to write about besides the Red Sox, and enjoying the suffering of insufferable Yankee fans. So, to spare you my sporting prose, I decided to focus on some of the near-laughing matters we’ve seen in this election cycle.

Could endorsing Bush hurt your sex life?

Apparently it did for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joked that his wife, Maria Shriver, withheld sex for two weeks because he endorsed President Bush at the Republican National Convention.

This is light punishment compared to what homosexuals will get if Bush is re-elected. His push to make gay marriage unconstitutional is one of the more bizarre tangents of this election. My home state, Montana, is carrying an anti-gay marriage initiative on the ballot this year. This is no surprise. We won’t even elect heterosexuals who displayed homosexual tendencies 30 years ago! In 2000, the Republican challenger in a Montana U.S. Senate race bowed out early because the Dems drummed up some 1970s footage of him in a leisure suit rubbing another man’s temples. Turns out the Republican candidate used to own a beauty school – not a resume item that appeals to redneck Montanans.

But “morality” seems to be a big issue these days. Our state representative came by the house to ask us for our vote and when asked what he planned to do if elected, well, “morality” was right at the top of the list. My suggestion: If he wants to do something about a real moral problem in our state, he’d work on changing the law that allows Montana drivers to drink alcoholic beverages while driving.

Battle of the Bulge

What was that weird rectangular item underneath President Bush’s suit in the first presidential debate? I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I liked the Republicans’ answer. “He’s an alien!” they joked.

That could explain a lot, but I think the Republicans aren’t giving us the full story here. We need answers. We need to know that whatever puppeteer might have been feeding Bush answers in the debate was fired for sheer stupidity.

But, if you’re into conspiracy theories, you might like the one about Bush not simply being mentally challenged, but suffering from pre-senile dementia or a stroke. These rumors were fueled by the president’s refusal to get a physical before the election, and tapes from his debate performances while running for governor of Texas. Apparently, just a few years ago, he could speak in complete sentences, leaving some doctors to speculate whether his decline is the result of pre-senile dementia.

The stroke theory came about because he developed some spittle on the side of his mouth during the third debate and didn’t move the area around his mouth and nose correctly. Some argue that this could have been from minor paralysis from Botox treatments. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

Moments of Zen

  • Jesse Ventura endorses John Kerry for President.
  • Students hitting commentator Ann Coulter with custard pies at a lecture in Arizona.
  • Wolfpacks for Truth.org, one wolf pack’s take on President Bush’s advertisement that linked wolves and terrorists. “George W. Bush incorrectly labeled my wolfpack as a terrorist threat. We are NOT terrorists. We do not associate with terrorists (unless you count that pesky wolverine) and FRANKLY, we don’t even like terrorists!”
  • Rapper Eminem putting politics into, er, song. . . “Let the president answer on higher anarchy/Strap him with an AK-47, let him go fight his own war/Let him impress daddy that way. . . No more blood for oil.”
  • And, drum roll, my favorite quote of this political season, from the Illinois Senate race between Barack Obama and conservative Alan Keyes. “Christ is over here, Sen. Obama is over there: the two don’t look the same,” Keyes charged. Well, Alan, you’re no Jesus Christ either!

My favorite Bushism:

“When a drug comes in from Canada, I wanna make sure it cures ya, not kill ya. . . And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it’s from Canada, and it might be from a Third World.”

Maybe he is an alien after all.

(Much of this column was inspired by the War Room, a political blog found on Salon.com. Many thanks to their fine reporting and analysis.)

Janelle Holden writes from Montana.