Betty Bowers on the 2004 Election

Dear Fellow Cultural Warrior:

Goodness me, I woke up this morning and America had left without even a note. Once I got over this appalling rudeness, I was somewhat mollified to realize that she'd simply participated in a new surreality TV show called "Decision 2004." It appears to be an attempt to go through the motions of "The Swan" – only, this time, in reverse.

Indeed, switching metaphors more seamlessly than Mr. Bush switches personalities in debates, our once secular republic has resourcefully capitalized on the manure-rich soil of carefully cultivated fear to blossom into a surprisingly self-indulgent theocratic plutocracy. Throw in some sand and, verily, America's become the Middle East. Only without the burkas and oil -- or, it seems, the half-hearted effort to get along with each other. Indeed, how long will it be before Mr. Ashcroft is forced to erect a security fence, strung tight and tense along the testy boundaries that bristle where Blue abuts Red, simply to keep out self-destructing liberals yearning for their homeland?

After any battle, when the napalm clears and the teenage carcasses are stealthfully shipped to Dover, the aspect of war I enjoy best occurs. I am, of course, referring to the passing out of the jewelry. (I think the military willfully insists on still calling them "medals.") Some still plagued by the disloyal powers of observation might point out that we Republicans enjoy ridiculing and besmirching men who receive medals for little more than nourishing foreign soil with their blood-type while serving their country more than 100 miles from their local dry cleaners. That is only because we realized a long time ago that those who actually go to war are shirking their more important duty to stay home and declare one.

With this in mind, I, in association with Tiffany (note the absence of an "s," my fellow red-staters), would like to confer lovely platinum broaches to signify that the following are entitled to "Friends Of Our Lord" awards for service to the GOP during the 2004 election beyond the call of either duty or reason.

Osama bin Laden.

Truly, where would the GOP have been this year without the complicity of this foreign fellow and his local access TV show that is so frequently on hiatus? The George W. Bush – Osama bin Laden pairing is more symbiotic than Lennon and McCartney, more boozy and grating than Martin and Lewis. Not since Liza Minnelli teamed up with David Guest has one odious creature done more to boost the popularity of someone so bereft of talent. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Bin Laden have cottoned on to the same mutually accommodating truth: Every extremist needs an enemy. If you don't have one, make one up. And if you do have one, make him worse. And if you want to invade Iraq, make him someone else!

Beer Buzz.

While swill-gotten gains from it may not have helped the fabulously extreme Pete Coors, beer certainly played a pivotal roll in this year's GOP triumph. They say that most Americans vote for the man they would most like to sit down and have a beer with. Fortunately for us, when most Americans pulled the lever (or placed a greasy index finger on one of Diebold's placebo touch-screen ballots), it never occurred to them to reflect upon the fact that it was unlikely that our handsome President would be able to stop at just one.

Culture – And the Striving for the Lack Thereof.

Well beyond the Liberal Elites' most literately annotated nightmare, we Christian conservatives have been successful at turning our nation's cultural clock back. It seems, however, we became so distracted by someone we hate that we neglected to say "when" as we fleetingly slipped passed 1776 into a time with less pernicious enlightenment and no Constitution. When I last looked in (at just after ten this morning), we were skirting the more shady side of the Dark Ages. But remember, for those of you worried about frown lines: it takes more muscles to show concern for the direction our country is headed than it does to glibly gloat over an election result!

Blond Bimbos for Bush.

No, not Anna-Nicole "Meth, Baby!" Smith. Outside of a patrician nursing home, she's harmless. I'm thinking more along the lines of that woman who looks like one of the Spy vs. Spy characters in Mad magazine after a rushed eye-job. Andrea Mitchell. Andrea never allowed her husband Alan Greenspan's job security to temper her enthusiasm for all things Republican – even in commenting on a debate that mentioned Mr. Greenspan by name.

While Fox says, with a lovely coy wink, that it is fair and balanced, it is for the other networks' more naïve embrace of this concept that I am most grateful. In actually trying to appear balanced (recoiling in writhing terror when called "liberal" like an aging Hollywood sexpot being called "motherly"), the nonofficial GOP organs jumped with alacrity to broadcast Mr. Roves' talking points. Mercifully for us, given their accuracy, the time ABCNBCCBSCNN spent scrutinizing statements of purported fact from our GOP operatives was usually as brief as the time a Stouffer's Salisbury steak rests before hurriedly retracing its steps up Ann Coulter's esophagus.

Mary Cheney (known at home as "Daddy's little deferment")

Goodness me, it is a selfless gal indeed who not only takes one for the team, but doesn't even care if it's her own team. Would that all of those horrid gay people could remain as silent as Mary, leaving her parents a broad berth to give 65,435 satellite interviews about Mary being a lesbian to say how outraged they were about people talking about Mary being a lesbian. It's like Lynne told me, "If anyone's going to score some cheap political points off of that little Dennis-the-Menace looking bulldagger, it's going to be me and Dick!" Lynne's wonderfully mercenary use of Mary (who appears to be not only a lesbian, but a deaf mute), called to mind the wise words of my Sister-in-Christ Patsy Ramsey: "When it comes to a mother's tricky relationship with her daughter, I've always believed that when push comes to shove, you better make sure that you are the one at the top of the stairs leading to the basement."

Radio Shack

During the debates, we discovered that George W. Bush is truly the Ashlee Simpson of politics: at his best when prerecorded. While it may be disconcerting to know that our handsome President can't get through 90 seconds without Karl Rove whispering not-so-sweet nothings in his ear, I suppose we should be grateful that Mr. Bush's transmitter didn't pick up a police scanner. Imagine the look on Charlie Gibson's face had Mr. Bush interrupted talk of his glorious "I came, I saw, I conjured" victory in Iraq to alert the nation of the impending apprehension of fecklessly famous crack whore by the local police.

"Voters, Get Out!" Efforts.

Of course, any GOP gal worth her American flag pin in semi-precious stones knows that elections are won long before the so-called voting even gets underway. We in the GOP are not known for our introspection. In candor (another dangerous treachery we wisely eschew), there is an unassailable reason for this. Frankly, there is nothing remotely edifying about the unflattering realization that your candidate can only win if you can stop people who want to (and are entitled to) vote from getting their little troop-hating hands on a ballot. Nevertheless, I am proud that my party isn't one to sulk, lugubriously obsessing on how possibly repellant Mr. Bush is to colleges, both Yale and Electoral, and, instead, proactively goes about running interference between as many citizens and their polling places as possible.

The Diebold Is Cast

The election, emulating my Personal Savior, was officially up in the air last night and threatening a fiery denouement without any apparent results. Impatiently tapping my crocodile Jimmy Choos while waiting for a second, recalcitrant Xanax to finally kick in (after asking myself, "What Would Laura Do?"), my friends at Diebold told me to go to bed early. I hit my Pratesi sheets sanguine in the knowledge that Diebold would use stay-the-course algorithms to perform the election miracle or rendering walked-in votes lame, digitally deleting in seconds what had taken us hours of frenzied ballot-shredding to accomplish in 2000. As a conservative Christian, this is about the only type of progress I can embrace. And just like Jesus strolling on water, Diebold leaves no unsightly footprints. Glory!

Freedom: It's Like Catnip to Terrorists.

Mr. Bush told us that terrorists "hate us for our freedom." Since we Republicans are powerless against the allure of hate, President Bush has turned his attention to the freedom part of the equation. The administration clearly believes that if we have less freedom, those crazy foreign people will correspondingly tone down their hatred a notch or two. If this holds true, mark my words: after Mr. Bush has been in office for eight long years, the terrorists will develop enormous crushes on all of us.

Things truly fair and balanced.

As it turns out, when one disqualifies marketing gimmicks by upstart networks, it is only the gods (ours with a typographically significant capital G) who are fair and balanced. The Ying of Fundamentalist Muslims ignoring Mohammed has now been fully complemented by the Yang of American Christians ignoring Jesus. And all is right with the world – unless, of course, you happen to find your name on the exhaustive litany of people we of unbridled faith take time to hate and declare war upon. And there is little reason for anyone to feel left out: if we Christians don't hate you, your chances are rather favorable that the Muslims will, dear.

Republican Exorcists.

Throughout the nation this year, Republican office holders and their minimum-wage seraphim have hovered over voter registration rosters and tirelessly called out the demons of democracy – that is, Democrat voters. As if by miracle, names have disappeared quicker than Martha Stewart's on Upper East Side invitation lists. Why, in Colorado, just to be safe, Secretary of State Donetta Davidson declared a state of emergency to get around federal law because she was called by Jesus to purge felons from the voter rolls even though, annoyingly, they are entitled to vote in Colorado.

Christians Willing to Give the Finger to Jesus for Bush.

A country that unctuously likes to think of itself as too busy to hate was able to rework its schedule this election year. Take, for example, Sadie Fields, president of Georgia's Christian Coalition. Like most evangelical Christians, Fields showed an admirable willingness to ignore what the often-inconvenient eponym of our faith actually said (some fiddlefaddle about not judging others and loving them instead) to focus entirely on two things Jesus never cared about: abortion and homosexuality.

Verily, where would American Christianity be without those with the vision and determination to junk Jesus' teachings in favor of issues they consider more important than Jesus' nattering? Not atypically, Ms. Fields, like the former President of Concerned Women for America Sandy Rios, so selflessly toiled to protect the sanctity other people's marriages, the busy little dear seem to have overlooked an opportunities to protect the sanctity of their own: she is, as Tammy Wynette might tactfully say "D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D." But thank the Lord our Gladys Kravitz zeal for protecting the sanctity of marriage only applies to other people, as I wouldn't trust many newlyweds, much less philandering pastors and congressmen, to pull the lever making divorce constitutionally verboten.

A First Lady Who Doesn’t Let Suffrage Go To Her Head.

When asked her thoughts on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, first lady Laura Bush said she sees it as an issue that people want to talk about. "I'm not really sure about it," Laura said, "I think it's important to have the debate."

You tell 'em, Pickles! Or, ur, don't. Or, whatever. Yes, the weather is considered nice by some today. Or not. But it's always fun to talk about the weather. But not everyone feels that way, which I can understand. I just think it is worth talking about -- unless you think it isn't. God bless America.

Surreality TV.

In the end (as Bill O'Reilly would have been forced to reply in a deposition), there is one thing that almost hurt our righteous efforts in the 2004 election more than anything: our old nemesis, something secular people refer to as "reality." Seemingly billions of dollars spent to paint Mr. Kerry out to be a bumbling, incompetent scaredy-cat, were turpentined down the toilet by Mr. Kerry being sneaky enough to have stellar performances in all three debates. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is better suited to scripted comedy than reality TV. He is better at "approving" a taped message rather than venturing into the more treacherous terrain of trying to articulate one live. At the debates, stripped of a script and relentless adulation, our handsome President showed a snarling impatience more commonly expected on the mugs of the hourly help at Gucci than the Leader of the Free World. As we've learned from Victoria Gotti (that dreadful cross-pollination of Nancy Sinatra, John Belushi, Donatella Versace and a longshoreman), if the goal is to be respected, some people are simply not meant to have a reality show. And our handsome President was never meant to let reality show. Fortunately for us, as the growth of the evangelical movement has proved, Americans have never had much taste for that "reality" nonsense.

Political Pep Clubs

In the past fifteen years or so, American politics has completed its shift from being somewhat about the people running and their ideas to being completely about supporting your team with a ferocity that countenances no halftime repose to reflect upon the merits of the opponent's, much less one's own mascot. The enthusiastic, blind faith once lavished only on sports teams now provides joyous cover for each party to trot anyone out for public office, no matter how incompetent or corrupt, secure that its loyal legions will not only be disinclined to voice criticism, they will lustfully shout down anyone else who does.

As such, we Republicans are able to count on enormous swaths of middle class voters without succumbing to the niggling compunction to provide them with any benefit or advantage other than allowing them to publicly align themselves with the winning team. I would like to say to both Demoncrats and Republicans this: might it not be more productive to put aside our "Rah Team!" blind-faith approach to partisan politics for a moment and actually look at the facts and decide if a contrary viewpoint has any merit? Oh dear, what am I say? It must be the giddiness from trouncing the pinko America-hating libtards once again! Forget about that dangerous idea. Go team!

So close to Jesus, I sample His voice when I rebuke,

Mrs. Betty Bowers

America's Best Christian

In this world of polarization and disagreement over something as public as bedlam in Iraq, it comforting to see two people able to agree on something as personal as the size of our handsome President's manhood. After all, there are some things you don't want to have to send in Hans Blix to verify. Granted, the President may exaggerate (as is his wont) but it appears that both Mr. Bush and the First Lady agree within the margin of error from a Gallup pole poll taken of a statistically significant sampling of now-retired Tijuana barflies and modestly-priced hookers.

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