Man oh man oh man oh man. It’s what, FOUR months until the first primary and the Republican field has been bludgeoning itself like a bunch of  tweens at a razor party listening to My Chemical Emo-mance.

When we last met I thought it was the clash of the titans, more specifically, the clash of the V05 hair Product between Mitt Robotney and Rick Perry. But this was not to be. Rick Perry falls apart in debate!  His iron-clad hair shield has been tainted by the Massachusetts I mean Michigan I mean where does Mitt Romney live now anyway?

*answer: he lives in any one of the following states:  California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts
But he is another wealthy regular man-robot hybrid just like you and me.

I was disappointed by Perry’s recent performance. Sure the guy is dumber than a can of paint but he’s a canny politician with a long winning streak, and he was trounced by a guy who makes the GPS voice in your car sound authentic. And Mitt Romney, the most pretend of all pretend Republicans, attacked him from the right on immigration.

We’ve only lost one candidate so far, rendering the debates crowded and pointless. Nine people yapping on stage isn’t a debate. It’s a Facebook wall. And nine people times fifty-eleven debates is not doing anyone any good.

If Sarah Palin has taught us anything, aside from remembering to keep the receipt when we buy a half a continent sparsely populated by lunatics from Russia, it’s that constant media exposure may actually harm one’s chances for the presidency. The continued debates threaten to turn the candidates to caricature, aside from Newt Gingrich, who is a cartoon, and Ron Paul, who’s actually a character from an Ayn Rand novel.

Can anyone tell me where these audiences come from? Were they stocked entirely by Democrats working to make Republicans look bad? I’d say yes if a) Nixon were still alive and switched parties, b) Democrats were organized or c) James O’Keefe  would return my phone calls. This audience was the real deal. First the Republican pro-lifers cheer “Let ’em die” in a question about health insurance and second the Support Our Troops Pro Military party boos at a gay soldier after he asks about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

You can at least rest knowing that legally married gay partners of veterans are not allowed to receive pensions after their spouses die. As a personal note, I’d like to mention that my mother, who had been divorced from my dad for over twenty years, is still qualified to receive his Naval pension. Because straight divorce is all about American values.

Straw Polls Suck

These straw poles: enough. They cost the candidates a lot of money and time and they’re meaningless. Kind of like baseball’s All-Star game. Or the Move-on.org petition you just sent me.

On the plus side, the straw polls add some fake drama, because they let an unhinged outlier win something, so political journalists can pretend to write serious articles in which they imagine Herman Cain, who won the Florida straw poll, will take over the world until they notice that the Pizzafather has no money or endorsements. He does have a sweet tax plan though, which is abbreviated as 9-9-9, and is something as likely and sensible as the Nine Ringwraiths of Mordor playing Nine innings of baseball against Nine Inch Nails.

Mitt Romney won the Michigan straw poll, because that’s where he’s from. He’s also from Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri and the Moon.

Nothing more than a sad seventh place in Florida for my personal fave Jon Huntsman, who has said that he believes in crazy talk like global warming and evolution and at this point to garner any traction in the polls he’s going to have to set fire to Rick Perry.

The essential problem with straw polls is they  waste resources. The candidates owe more favors to party hacks in each state and need more money from new donors. I don’t mind the GOP blowing its cash on these things, and it serves their own brand of social Darwinism, the only Darwin they let into the room. Survival of the richest. But in a larger way these straw polls are bad for democracy. As much as I enjoy cataloging the village idiots who are on the stage, as an engaged citizen I’d like the guy in the Oval Office, regardless of political party, to be competent enough to do the job.

“Mr. President we’ve confirmed that terrorists have stolen nuclear material from Pakistan. The poverty rate hit 25%, bacteria have developed a resistance to TB drugs and a tornado has leveled half of Kentucky.”

“Is this when I get to abolish the Departments of Energy, Education and anything else that starts with E?”

“That’s not going to help. What should we do?”

“Nothin. Government is not the solution.”

“What about the nukes, sir?

“I’ll let the states handle that.”

Next time: Why President Obama needs a primary challenge.

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G. XAVIER ROBILLARD is a comedy writer, performer and novelist. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, Comedy Central and on NPR. Robillard is the author of the comic novel Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves (Harper Collins), and producer/writer/performer of the comedy album G is for Gangsta. You may entertain yourself with more of him at All Day Coffee and on Twitter.

10 responses to “Hustings Hustler: Straw Polls Suck”

  1. Art Edwards says:

    “I don’t mind the GOP blowing its cash on these things, and it serves their own brand of social Darwinism, the only Darwin they let into the room.”

    At some point, facts on our side have to be an asset, right?


    And hey, where’s the “Sister Christian” post?

  2. Ever since you pointed out that Huntsman looks like a baby wombat that’s all I can think about when he’s on screen. He might be referencing Nirvana, but all I hear is “baby wombat, baby wombat.”

    Also, NOW I know why Rick Perry refused to debate in the last gubernatorial election in Texas.

  3. Matt says:

    Dude, you forgot the thundrous applause at the first debate when Perry’s 240-something execution record was brought up. For a while there this run-off was starting to look like a video game, where the guy with the most points (read: kills) was in the lead.

    I’d really like to see the Baby Wombat set Perry on fire. Especially since Perry saying he’d like a VP candidate who’s a cross between Newt Gingrich and Hermain Cain to serve with him put the image of a monstrous Hermewt Caingrich half-breed creature in my head. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since then.

  4. I’m still! twenty years later amazed that there could really be a guy whose first name is lizard and last name reminds me of the Grinch.

  5. Gloria says:

    Have you seen THIS?

    I don’t follow the politicians, I just wait for the news about the politics. And then I try to figure out who’s lying. Don’t lead me astray, Greg.

  6. JohnO says:

    A fine bit of quasi-reporting, GX. Actually, newts are amphibians, a fact I only know because of PG Wodehouse and his character Gussie Fink-Nottle, noted newt fancier. I’d vote for Fink-Nottle in a newt-York minute (erm, sorry), though come to think of it I’d vote for most amphibians over the alleged humans in the Republican race as well.

    • I know the truth about newts, really I do and then I posted the comment and was all NOOOOOOOOOOO. But that happens sometimes.

      The thing is every once in a while the GOP gives me something to think about. John McCain in 2000, Jon-wombat Huntsman in 2012. But the guys who give me something to think about never get nominated. Note that McCain in 2008 was a pale shadow, rather older and more jackal-like, than his 2000 self.

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