.05T: Hey J, did you see the WaPo Democrat candidate article?
J: I read the article… I definitely disagree with it.
T: Right? Do they think the Democrats are chasing the rest home vote?
J: It seems that way… they’ve got four 70–plus candidates on there. Or they will be in 2020, anyway.
T: Actually, 70 + would be a frigging’ youth movement; three of the top four will be 80 by inauguration day in 2021, I think.
J: All three of the top ones would be 70+ at inauguration.
T: I exaggerated a little bit, but Granola Brown will be 82 on election day, Sanders 79 and Biden 78 shortly after.
J: The Democrats badly need some new blood, not the same old names that have been kicking around for the last 30 years.
T: No shit. I’d put my money on the second tier – Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. They all at least have to pay full price for pancakes.
J: I think it’s either Booker or Harris; Gillibrand isn’t as well known – although she’s definitely upped her profile recently. Harris would be a good one to carry the Sanders flag.
T: I don’t like Gillibrand’s profile much. She’s a political leaf, not quite for hire but a little too willing to adjust her ideology to the shifting winds. I’d prefer a more centrist, reasonable candidate, but it can’t be anyone with ties to the Clintons. Not this time. Gillibrand is way too close to the Clintons, and way too much like Hillary, another politician built out of ideological wet cement.
J: Harris came out for single-pay insurance, which is one of the Berniecrats’ pet causes. She would have solid liberal cred if she ran.
T: I think that’s right; single-pay will be a hot issue in 2020, along with fixing whatever negative fallout comes from the tax bill. Plus, you know – all that infrastructure remodeling after we get the shit nuked out of us.
J: There is that whole nuking thing. But yeah, the two hot-button issues are going to be income inequality and healthcare. If Sanders doesn’t run himself, he’d be smart to endorse Gillibrand.
T: I think he’ll realize – especially if McCain passes – that the country ain’t going to put an octogenarian in the White House.
J: The midterms are going to be really interesting if both Arizona seats are up. Flake’s not running, and if McCain dies, they’ll both be up. I think the Dems would have a solid shot at both of them.
T: Have you seen the latest 538 article? The current generic ballot has the Dems 12 points ahead.
Also, McConnell is all over Bannon, saying he blew a race in the reddest state in the country. Did you see that?
J: I saw the McConnell thing, and he’s got a fair point. Strange would have beaten Jones by double figures simply by not being Roy Moore. Bannon really screwed up that deal, and he’s on his way to screwing up some other races, too. If I was the national GOP I might put out a hit on him or something.
T: There’s a really interesting dynamic going on with the GOP and the Freedom wing. The Tea Partiers need to prove they can win, so Moore’s loss loses them a lot of face with the establishment wing. It’ll be that much harder to get national backing for the next right-wing kook.
J: We’ll see with the midterms. I think that redneck populism took a major hit when Moore got beaten, and the Bannon candidates in Arizona and Mississippi are just as weak. The national GOP wants nothing to do with either of them. I think a lot of those Tea Party guys are going to have a tough row to hoe in 2018, just because of Trump’s toxicity.
T: I’m not sure Trump is toxic to them – not yet anyway – but Alabama might be evidence that they simply don’t have the numbers to continue to fight logic, like the Trump campaign did.
J: I don’t think the Democrats should make the midterms a referendum on Trump, although the probably will. They should focus on their core issues and refine their messaging.
T: The Democratic party is in a rest home. They need a serious injection of fresh blood, fresh ideas, and – if possible – a large dollop of credibility.
J: I don’t disagree. The Democrats are pushing the same tired faces and names that they’ve been pushing for 30 years. Pretty soon they’ll LITERALLY be pushing them. They need fresh faces. Their recruiting has been very strong since Trump was elected, but it’s going to take time for the newcomers to make national names. What they need to do now is promote their middle-tier candidates.
T: There are two people in the country right now with the potential to unite us: Mark Cuban, and Oprah Winfrey. Maybe the Dems should get on their knees and beg Oprah to run?
J: She’s not exactly a spring chicken, either. She’ll be 65 in 2020.
T: Oprah’s a really young 65, though. Picking her in 2017 might look silly by 2020, but you know dammed well that she could win.
J: Well, she would have the same name recognition Trump does… of course, no one knows much of anything about her politics. But no one knew about Trump’s, either.
T: Oprah is probably Clintonesque, but she would be perceived as a fresher version, without all the baggage.
How sad is our political system? We just elected a reality show hack, and our best counter solution is to run Donahue with tits against him.
J: Donahue with tits might be a good porno, as long as the girl doesn’t actually look like Donahue. Or Jerry Springer. Just in case you had him locked and loaded.
T: You know me too well.
J: Cuban is probably the biggest wild card in American politics today, because of his money and his reach and his name recognition. I don’t know if he’d run himself or just back someone, but anyone he did get behind would have instant credibility.
T: How cool would Cuban be as the republican candidate? Heads would explode all over the GOP beltway.
J: It’d be cool, but I don’t think they’d ever go for it. I think they’ll tweak the rules after the Trump fiasco, to prevent that kind of candidacy again. Besides, I think Cuban is more of a natural Democrat.
T: I see Cuban as a centrist, closer to us than to either party. He might smell like a democrat right now, but I am about 80 percent sure he’s actually a registered republican. He’s an American Dreamer type – a mousetrap maker. Aren’t those types always republicans?
I mean, Shark Tank’s audience has to be about 90 percent GOP.
J: Cuban is a social centrist but a fiscal conservative; he’s said he would probably run as a republican if he did, but he was backing Clinton in 2016. It’s hard to say if that was because of philosophy or just out of his antipathy for Trump.
T: He backed Obama in 2012, too. I think he’s a lot like me, in that he is fiscally to the right of the establishment wing of the GOP, but socially a bit to the left of center. He claims to be an independent, and he’s offered to join both parties, but only in high positions.
His donation history is all over the place, with wild swings to both sides. I believe that shows he’s an independent in the most literal possible sense, making decisions based on logic and evidence, rather than lock-stepping behind the head goose on either side.
J: Anyone with that kind of net worth has to be taken seriously, if only because of the potential cost of alienating him. I’d rather have a guy with $10 billion in the bank inside the tent pissing out, rather than on the outside pissing in.
T: Well, how many billionaires are there? He’s not exactly J Paul Getty.
J: No, he’s not. For one thing, he’s not dead.
T: So he has that going for him.
J: Which is nice.
T: Remind me to send Bill Murray .6 cents, before he sues us again.
J: We need to stop using Caddyshack references.
T: Or at least stick to the lines from the dead guys. They don’t sue.
J: Or wear plaid.
T: Son of a bitch! Do we have a current address for Steve Martin?
J: Is he still alive?
J: Mark Cuban.
J: We were talking about Mark Cuban.
T: Oh, right. Well, he’s no Phyllis Diller.
J: Um, no. No, he isn’t.
T: But he is a republican.
J: If he’s a Republican, he’s what they call a RINO (republican in name only). He’s a fiscal conservative, true, but his positions on social issues definitely lean Democratic. There are lots of billionaires, but not nearly as many who have the name recognition he does, or are as politically active (at least publicly).
T: Well, he’s a celebrity billionaire. We make people on television into stars, regardless of their roles. Charlie Manson was a star. Hitler is still a huge superstar, one of the biggest stars in the world. Honey Boo Boo is a star.
We have to acknowledge that reality, whether we agree with it or not (I don’t, and I doubt you do, either), and factor it in as one of the countless wind adjustments needed to take aim at the political scene.
j: No, I definitely don’t agree with that.
T: So absolutely, Cuban is way up the list of moneyed influences, because he has a ton of money – probably more than Trump – a dominant personality, a sense of humor, natural charisma, and actual intellectual chops. There ain’t that many guys who have the full meal deal like that.
J: I should say I don’t like it; I agree that people are getting famous just for being famous a lot more than they used to.
T: Oh, I don’t know about that. Being famous for no real reason has been the same ever since Cain put out that expose on Abel’s eating habits. The conditions have changed a bit, though. Cain didn’t have a smartphone.
J: “You eat POTTAGE?!”
T: “Hey, pass me the pottage cheese, willya?”
J: That was Jacob and Esau, but still biblical. Also the first expose: “I am an hairy man, and Esau my brother is a smooth man.”
T: My favorite biblical mystery is the obvious one. A few years ago, somebody came out with evidence that Jesus was married.
My first thought was, “Cold Case Files presents: Mrs. H. Christ – unwitting victim, or willing co-conspirator?”
“Was the Crucifixion a fulfillment of the prophecies, or just a marital spat?”
“Film at XI.”
J: “X Central time.”
T: “On channel VII, your home for the NFL (National Flogging League).”
J: The married Jesus thing has been kicking around for a while. The biggest evidentiary argument in favor of it is that the disciples all called him “Rabbi.” Under the Jewish law of the time (and I think it’s still strongly encouraged today even if not actually required) rabbis had to be married; you couldn’t be single and be a rabbi.
T: Mary Magdelene, overheard in a bar: “I’m heading home to nail my husband.”
J: Mary Magdalene: “How do you like getting nailed?” Jesus: “Oh shut up, Mary Nagdalene.”
T: Mary: “Don’t cross me, you son of a bitch – your mother is a virgin like I’m a prostitute. Do you think anyone will ever believe that shit? Nobody is that stupid.”
J: I feel like this would be a good place to pretend I don’t know you.
T: Oh, I just got that. Mary NAGdalene.
J: Sure, Christ’s mother is a slut, the Bible is full of shit, but Mary NAGdalene is a groaner?
T: I didn’t call her a slut – Mary Magdalene did. But only after Joseph called her a whore. Haven’t you seen “The Real Housewives of Bethlehem”?
J: Betting the farm that there ain’t a Hell, are we?
T: If there is, they are going to hire me to run the place.
J: Fair enough.
According to the Bible, Mother Mary had at least four kids besides the late JC: there’s a verse that says, “Are not his brothers and sisters among us?”
Brothers and sisters, plural. At least two of each. Like you said, she only became a virgin later, after the Council of Narnia.
T: Wasn’t that the royal brothers and sisters?
J: You mean like Andrew and Fergie?
T: No, like, “are we awake?” and “I’m not sure. Are we black?”
J: Um, “Blazing Saddles,” right?
T: Oh crap, that’s right. Any chance Mel Brooks kicked off today?
J: I’d say no, but he is past 90.
T: Now I got you saying Narnia. Are we convinced?
J: No, it was when he was claiming to be the son of God, and the townspeople were saying, “Hey, wait a minute. We know this guy; he’s a carpenter, and his brothers and sisters are around here, too.”
I know it’s not Narnia, but you would have said it anyway. The council of Nicea.
T: The council of bluffs.
J: Was that where Radar was from?
T: No, that was Ottumwa. Do I send the money to Gary Burghoff, or Alan Alda?
J: Larry Gelbart, wasn’t it?
T: Oh yeah, right. Any chance he’s –
J: Yep, 2009.
T: Yes! I mean condolences.
J: You know this is some weak shit, don’t you?
T: I am aware. But I can’t stop now, it would take me a week to edit it all out, and I’d still owe Bill Murray .6 cents.
J: I looked it up: “According to Mark 6:3, Jesus had four brothers and two sisters: “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”
So yes, Mary had seven kids.
T: Wow, you took the long way around on that. I’ve seen dogs lie down more efficiently.
J: Well, we gotta pad our word count somehow.
T: I’ll stop magging you.
J: Speaking of weak shit.
T: Hell, I figured it was worth a shot.
J: Well … If your wife is really bad about nagging, would you call her a Nagnum?
T: You mean Nagmum?
J: Dammit, you’re right.
T: Or maybe a Nagapotomus. Who reads dirty nagazines.
J: Her breath could gag a naggot, but she has a nagmetic personality.
T: She can be nagmamanous.
J: She’s going to see the nagistrate.
T: “Presenting the Queen! Welcome to Downton, your Royal Nagesty”
J: “Mrs. Nagilla Gorilla.”
T: Have you seen the nagina monologues? This guy sits in front of a television set while a woman in curlers tells him the story of her life at the top of her lungs.
It’s a board game now; all you need to play it is a television and a loud bitch of a wife. If you kill her, she wins.”
J: How do I win?
T: You can’t.
J: Weren’t we handicapping the 2020 Democratic Primary?
T: Yaknow, I think we were. Where were we?
J: I dunno, but we wound up in Bethlehem, so that whole left turn at Albuquerque thing is getting to be a serious issue.
T: Well, don’t feed me red bull.
J: Here’s my Top Five:
- 5. Mark Cuban. Total wildcard, could just as easily run as a Republican, but I’m assuming here that his dislike of Trump will overcome his nominal party loyalty.
- 4. Elizabeth Warren. Has name recognition and she would motivate women voters, but has her own negatives.
- 3. Kirsten Gillibrand. Has raised her profile substantially recently, but is not as well known as Warren and would require a lot of introduction to voters nationally.
- 2. Cory Booker. Would appeal to the Obama wing of the party, but wouldn’t run strong in the South because 1) he’s black, and 2) he’s gay.
- 1. Kamala Harris. Probably the best bet for a unity candidate between the various wings of the party. She makes all the right liberal-sounding noises, is from California so would help the party out West, and would run strong with the Sanders wing because of her support for universal health care.
T: Here’s mine:
- 5. Kamala Harris. She’s new to the Senate, so 2020 is probably too early for her, but she has the kind of across the spectrum experience that might be palatable to both sides of the aisle.
- 4. Bernie Sanders. He’s ancient and way too liberal for my tastes, but he’s as transparent as they come and a Sanders presidency would give Larry David a chance at a third massive career vehicle.
- 3. Kirsten Gillibrand. She’s Hillary Jr., but without Hillary’s baggage.
- 2. Oprah Winfrey. There are only two people I can think of who might have the ability to unite the country. Oprah is one of them. She is the ultimate character candidate – beyond reproach.
- 1. Mark Cuban. Cuban is the other one. I put Mark ahead of Oprah because he has shown the most interest and demonstrated the most aptitude for the job. I’d be ecstatic to get either one of them.
J: Cuban certainly knows enough to get the best people around him, and not just to hire all his friends and family members. That’s where he’s smarter than Trump; he’s smart enough to know what he doesn’t know and to get people around him who would help him get up to speed.
Trump didn’t do that, whether out of lack of intelligence or just ego I don’t know, and that has contributed significantly to the problems he has had.
T: You know who Cuban is? Mark Cuban is what Trump’s voters think Trump is. Wouldn’t you love to get a pair of those Trump-colored glasses to wear while you’re making love to your wife?
J: I think I follow you, but I’m terrified if I’m even a little wrong.
T: I get that a lot.
J: I see we have a couple of names in common. Right now, I think Sanders is the front-runner for the Democrats, simply because he’s been there before. His main negative is going to be his age; I think the whole “socialist” thing got played out last time, and wouldn’t do him any more damage.
T: I’d much rather see Bernie endorse one of the up-and-comers. That would be more valuable in terms of party unity. Sanders has three weaknesses, I think. Age is one (duh). I’m not sure it’s his largest weakness, though. His almost socialistically liberal ideology would make it hard to win a national election unless he was running against Trump. That’s number two.
But his biggest weakness – the weakness that cost him the nomination in 2016 – is that he’s not a Democrat. The party will only get behind him if they are forced to. They don’t want to back a socialist wolf in democratic clothing. They want an actual democrat.
J: There’s some truth to that, but he does have a considerable (and fanatically loyal) constituency. His endorsement would be very, very helpful to someone.
T: Oh, he’s going to wield one of the biggest hammers at the 2020 convention.
J: Definitely… but who does he give the hammer to?
T: Yaknow, thinking about it – we came pretty dammed close to a race between two independents in 2016, didn’t we?
J: We really did, thinking about it that way.
T: Remember when Granola Brown used to run for President all the time, back when he was nailing Linda Ronstadt? He was the country’s resident Bree-chewing, Merlot-swilling liberal of the 1970s.
J: Someone had to be. It was Jerry Brown, and then it was Ted Kennedy, then Al Gore, and now Bernie Sanders.
T: I don’t know if I would give Al Gore that spot – he came 537 votes from winning. That, to me, almost precludes giving him any sort of radical title. But then again, he was the balance that sold the Clintons to the liberals in 1992, wasn’t he? The Clintons were – and I think still are – fundamentally centrist.
J: Yeah, Gore definitely strengthened Bill’s liberal cred.
T: You have Kamala Harris on top. Gimme your Kamala pros and cons.
Let me rephrase that.
So, do you think we are going to elect a Gandhi-Ganja chick President?
J: Harris’s pros: she’s a black woman, appealing to the diversity wing of the party, and has already endorsed universal healthcare, which would win her over some supporters among the Berniecrats.
Cons: she’s not well known nationally, so there’s work to be done as far as name recognition, but that’s not insurmountable; Obama wasn’t well known, either. She’s also pro-choice, which won’t sit well with certain segments of the electorate.
T: I think the pro-life movement is silly, but that’s just me. I mean, who really cares about abortion? I mean cares enough to know what the current rules are, and what the respective sides advocate? I bet my personal views of abortion are miles to the left of the unthinking masses who think they are with the pro-choice GOP, and the actual laws are miles to the right of where conservatives think they are.
Basically, pro-lifers think their pro-life congressmen want to disallow all abortions, and that pro-choice means aborting teenagers. In other words, they think care deeply about a subject that they won’t lift a dammed mouse finger to research for themselves.
Pro-choicers mostly think they want to allow abortions up to about 3 months, which is several weeks earlier than the present laws allow. In other words, they think they care deeply about a subject that they won’t lift a dammed finger to research for themselves.
Abortion has always been left alone for (1) the poor and (2) those who are less than 20 weeks along, as long as they are (1). This has been the norm for centuries. Anti-abortion forces always rise up when people with money start getting convenience abortions, but the rest of the time abortion is in the don’t ask – don’t tell morass of moral indifference. Nobody really gives a fuck what happens to poor children, from fetus to prison.
Nobody cares about 12-day old fetuses unless some hand-wringer is yelling at them to care. Nobody cares if a single mother chooses to abort a 3-month-old fetus she can’t afford to feed, unless some handwringer is yelling at them to care. We do care when a woman with the means to take care of a child chooses not to, and we do care when an abortion is performed on a mature, or “quickened” fetus. The lines are usually drawn at the poverty level and about 20 weeks.
J: Are you done?
T: Sorry, I tripped over a soapbox.
J: You should stop leaving those things lying around.
T: In Harris’ case, specifically, I doubt being a pro-choice democrat is that big a deal personally, because, well – most democrats are pro-choice. But it’s a legitimate point to make, they way you made it, because part of her appeal is that her law and order background might help her snag some votes from the right.
J: It will at least help her get a look.
T: I want to get one more point out about Harris, who I would vote for. Hell, who I would marry, except I’m pretty sure the restraining order won’t allow it.
J: How many soapboxes away from her do you have to be?
T: Her ethnicity is fascinating; she’s part Indian and part Jamaican, which would lead you to believe she’s to the left of Bernie in many ways, but her background is in law enforcement.
J: She was California’s attorney general before she went to the Senate, so she does have a strong law-and-order background.
T: Based on her Wikipedia page, her profile is that of a sleeves-rolled-up legislator, maybe not so much brilliant like Obama, but logical and to the point. She is certainly intelligent, and she is glib – she speaks in words the public can digest. I see this as a huge part of her skillset, a tremendous advantage.
Hillary could never learn how to speak plainly, and as a result it was ridiculously easy to mock her words. I don’t think it will be so easy to mock Harris. She has Truman’s ability to create word-brands, I think.
In other words, so to speak, she gets to the fucking point.
J: So she ™ her words.
J: Trademark. alt+0153.
T: How do you do that?
J: Alt+four numbers; I don’t remember which ones I hit that time.
T: So, just alt+4 random numbers?
That’s pretty cool.
J: Well, until you do alt+0666 and summon Satan.