So I go to the GOP convention in NYC to see what I can see and where I can go without being run out of town on a rail. You know, just to see how the other half lives. I figured it would be fun to impersonate a Republican at the events, knowing that my usual work attire of business suit with Tricia Nixon pearls and tasteful but sorority-sexy footwear would stand me in good stead with the other GOP attendees. I was not to be disappointed, as my evil plan came together in ways I could only have dreamed—and also in ways that I could only have conceived in a nightmare.
I had earlier heard about the party thrown by David Dreier which apparently featured nearly-naked women hanging from trapeze-style rafters in a bowling alley-themed party, according to the breathless report I received. WHAAAAT?!?! Isn’t this the party of morals, manners and What Would Jesus Do? How would the Pat Robertsons of the party react to the news that their very own members were throwing a Pussycat Dolls-style show—to reportedly positive reactions from the faithful?! I was SHOCKED, I tell you! And these were the same people “disgusted” by the “theatrics” at Paul Wellstone’s funeral. The GOP doth protest too much methinks…
So, unwilling to miss another T&A affair, I attended the BAMPAC event, honoring Senate candidate Alan Keyes, and featuring Virginia Senator George Allen, in the hopes of seeing some hot girl-on-girl action. Dang. It was not to be. Instead, the room was a veritable who’s who of both African-American and Caucasian “serious” conservative glitterati. Armstrong Williams, Secretary of Education Rodney Paige, Texas Railroad Commissioner, the Chief of Staff to Dennis Hastert, not to mention Allen and Alan.
DC Mayor Anthony Williams also attended, and just narrowly escaped my hilarious attempt (as a DC resident) to make his life a living hell by interrupting any huzzahs for him with “Hey! Why don’t they pick up my garbage on time?! What’s going on at City Hall? Huh?!” I sort of feel for Mayor Williams, because the guy could cure cancer and show up to accept his Nobel Prize, and he would still face yuppie wieners like me saying, “Well, that’s all well and good, but my recycling hasn’t been collected in weeks! Are you asleep at the wheel?!’
So—getting back to the attempt to pass for a ‘Pub. It was all going so well, even without the naked chicks hanging from the rafters. I was clapping lightly for “limited government! Lower taxes! Sanctity of Life!” It was all good. And then it started to unravel. My first sign that things were going downhill was a “gentleman” who started talking to me at the bar, telling me that Barack Obama is a “closet Muslim” because Barack was the name of “Muhammad’s flying horse.” He rolled his eyes and couldn’t hide his contempt: “I mean, he SAYS he’s Christian, but his name is Barack; it’s like the most popular name for Muslims besides Muhammad. Who is he kidding? And, I mean, who rides a flying horse, right? That right there shows that the whole religion is a crock—and so is he.” Okaaaaaay. My first Compassionate Conservative.
And then Ambassador Alan Keyes gets up to speak. He is doing his as-expected dog-and-pony about the Illinois race, riffing on the glowing introduction provided by Senator Allen, offering platitudes about personal responsibility and self-reliance. I clapped politely. Then he offers his one sentence answer to the question, “Why should we re-elect George W. Bush?” And it mirrors exactly the Republican noise machine’s message: “If you want this country to survive the war on terror; if you want to be secure and to keep your families safe, there can be no choice for you but George W. Bush.” WHAT????!!! That is the living definition of “tautology” if ever I have heard it. You need to vote for the guy who started the war on terror in order to survive the war on terror, which was started by the guy who you need to vote for in order to survive the war on terror which you will not survive without voting for the guy who started the war on terror…. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he breached the prime directive of fair play in politics. He walked up to the line of common courtesy, of basic human decency and morality…and he leapt over it with gusto. He bolstered his “you have to vote for GWBush” argument with “because you can’t trust someone who went to Vietnam and then came home and dishonored every single brave man with whom he served. That is wrong and you can’t trust a man with your security who would do that to his brothers in arms!” Again: WHAAAT?!!!! I would think that the ONE PERSON who does get carte blanche for eternity to protest a war is the man who has fought it. Wouldn’t you? Where was “Ambassador Keyes” during Kerry’s time of distinguished service in Vietnam? Perhaps he was dishonoring the men who served by finding ways not to join them? Where was his sense of personal responsibility then?
So. How did my grand experiment as a Republican interloper end? As suddenly and as fanfareless as it began: I walked out. Disgusted. Sad. Sickened. Ready to get back to my own people. Ready to stop pretending that Choice is evil and that government is evil and that people who don’t support GWBush are evil. And ready to write another check to Kerry Edwards ’04.
Short Story Long: It is at first hysterically funny and then bowel-lurchingly scary to hang out with people who vehemently and vitriolically demand personal responsibility and morality in everyone’s behavior but their own…and who wield the power of the Supreme Court to make it happen. They put a happy, compassionate Laura Bush face on it, but theirs is a scary, scary party. If being a GOP mole has taught me one thing it is that Democratic failure in 2004 is not an option.