Wait, what? It's a presidential election year again? You've got to be kidding me. I mean, I just put on my smoking jacket and lit my pipe. I was leaning back in my easy chair and thinking: OK, we've got a new president. Let's see what this fellow is all about.
Four years? Seriously?
I don't know where the time goes. It seems like just yesterday Hillary Rock 'em Clinton was plucking a nose hair so that she could shed a solitary tear in front of a stunned crowd somewhere in New Hampshire. It doesn't seem very long ago that one John Edwards, with perfectly feathered hair, like one of the Partridge boys, was telling the world that as a devoted and loving husband, he'd make an excellent president. And after a quick stop at the hotel, he'd be back to tell us all how he planned to do it.
Four years. You don't say.
It passed in a blur. If asked just yesterday, I'd have guessed that it was a month ago that John McCain celebrated his 150th birthday by naming some stunner from Alaska as his running mate. Sarah something. Pretty lady. And smart. She even knew where Russia was in relation to her backyard pool. And what a family! So tightly knit and charming.
But, really. Four years, huh? It's been that long since that guy in the coffee shop told me we'd never — no, not ever — elect a black president. And surely not one with a name like Obama. Never happen. Not in a million years. Do you want cream and sugar in that?
That was a race though, wasn't it? More like a sporting event than a campaign. Or a drinking game invented by people who are already drunk. I saw friends become enemies in 2007-08 over differences in politics. Half the world seemed horrified that our next leader might be a black Muslim who didn't have a birth certificate or any qualms about going all socialist on our collective rump. The other half worried that the next vice president of these United States of America might be a — and you'll forgive me if I'm getting any of the political terminology wrong — a dimwit.
The 2008 presidential campaign marked the first time ever that I found myself remotely interested in an election. I remember standing back and taking in the whole political process — the rallies, the debates, the scandals that unearthed or manufactured by mad genius strategists — and thinking: "Holy cannoli! The greatest, most civilized country in the world is full of crazy people."
Good times. And I was happy when it was over. All that screaming and fighting and mud slinging. . . . It was like watching pornography, frankly — entertaining as hell at first, but after a while, you know. It just gets kind of gross.
So we elected a president and I went about my business. Oh, there was still hollering. Does health care reform ring any bells? Even good things, like the capture of Bin Laden or the end of the Gulf War only generated more slap fights and credit hogging. But for the most part, you didn't have to hear it around the clock, on every channel, in every bar and on every Internet forum where you were just trying to get a little feedback on the dirty limerick you wrote.
The relative silence was nice. So was the opportunity to turn our attention to other things, like the rise of Android and the Charlie Sheen meltdown. The Sheen meltdown looked a lot like the 2008 campaign, inasmuch as it involved a drunk blowhard who claimed he was winning all the time, but there was no chance that he'd gain control of the nuke-ular arsenal and do something stupid. As far as we know.
So, yeah. It was a nice four years. We hardly heard anything at all from Hillary and, lately, the only time John McCain appears is when he's taking a break from punching himself repeatedly in the face as punishment for that stupid, stupid, stupid thing he did back in '08.
Relative silence. But now it's over and the 2012 campaign is heating up. Some guy named Sanitorium is babbling on about how, yeah, Barack Obama might be a Christian. But he's not the right kind of Christian.
Mitt is out there in his crisply ironed shirts and $8,000 haircut bragging about how he saved the Olympics. Newt is asking the Sanitorium guy to get out of the way so that he, Newt, might more effectively crush the Democrats. The Democrats, for their part, are going about the business of running a once-great country into the ground and turning over the tattered remains to foreigners (correctly pronounced "fawners"). This I know because most of my friends are conservatives and they tell me so all the time.
Me, I'd really like to just ignore it all this time around. But sooner or later, someone is going to ask my opinion on the whole, sordid mess and I don't want to just stand there with my mouth open because that look doesn't go well with a smoking jacket.
I'll have to start paying attention to Fox News and John Stewart, but never on the same night because that can cause seizures. I'll have to find out the correct spelling of that Sanitorium guy's name and learn what he's all about. I may even need to figure out what a Super Pac is and whether or not one can be downloaded onto my smartphone.
In the meantime, though, I just wanted to get my one mandatory political column out of the way. That and maybe get some opinions on this dirty limerick I wrote. Seriously, if you have a spare minute and can give it a quick read, I'd really appreciate some feedback.