Oh for Pete's sake.
(Pete being Pete McCloskey, the last good Republican.)
Tell me that at the Republican Presidential Debate the other night Brit Hume didn't really ask the candidates a question along the lines of "If a plot line that was rejected by the writers of 24 as being too contrived and outrageous even by the show's usual nightmare world standards somehow replaced reality and you had only 30 seconds to save America before the next commercial break would you get all personally Jack Bauer-ish and torture every brown person you can lay your hands on?"
Guess he did. Tom Watson heard him.
What was the follow up, what game platform will you have installed in the Oval Office, Wii or PS3?
Now there's a question that would have separated the boys from the bigger boys and brought the crowd of arrested adolescents who make up half of all that's left of the Republican base to their feet.
The other half of the base is mostly Right Wing Christians of an apocalyptic bent. What a party. Half of them think they're the heroes of a movie adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel and the rest think they're living in the End Times. The Big Tent. Whatever mass delusion you're a victim of, you're welcome here!
And did Mike Huckabee really make a beauty parlor joke about John Edwards? Mike Huckabee, the guy, who if life really was like high school, would be the candidate most likely to get a daily wedgee called Edwards a sissy?
Recently, the New York Times revived the old Democrats are the Mommy Party, the Republicans are the Daddy Party journalistic trope----in the coverage of politics, a journalistic trope is anything that allows a reporter or pundit to substitute a lazy caricature of a candidate or an issue for actual thought. The "idea" behind this one is that the Democrats are warm and fuzzy, the party you go to when you've got a boo-boo that needs a kiss and a Band-aid, the party that will pick up after the mess, while the Republicans are stern and earnest, they will tell you no when you need to be told no and tell you to shake it off and take it like a man when you need to be told that, and you go to them when you need someone to come out on the front porch and chase away the bullies and the neighbor's scary dog.
The Democrats are the party of comfort and good housekeeping. The Republicans are the party of discipline and standing tall.
The Democrats are the party of girls and mamma's boys. The Republicans are the party of men.
I don't know what kind of upbringings the journalists and pundits who have embraced this trope had but the fact that they think the models are realistic suggests that they grew-up over-indulged and over-identified with their mothers and in constant fear of their fathers' disapproval while desperately seeking their attention and applause.
Probably it says nothing about them except that they're happy to have found an easy way to sound thoughtful and objective while insulting Democrats (and mothers) and sucking up to the Republicans---although come to think of it this very act suggests "issues," as the pundits try to separate themselves from their mothers and seek in vain for Dad's approval.
No matter. The last Republican President who acted like a real father, which is to say, like a grown-up, was Eisenhower. Reagan did a fair job of acting like everybody's favorite TV dad. In reality he was a removed and clueless father to his own children, overly-devoted to and dependent upon his wife, whom he tellingly called "Mommy."
Since Ike, the Republicans have given us three Presidents who suffered from serious to the point of emotionally crippling daddy-issues. I don't know about George Herbert Walker Bush's relationship with Prescott Bush. Nixon's father was a nasty son of a bitch who probably despised all his sons. Reagan's was an emotionally and physically absent alcoholic. And we're living through George W. Bush's acting out of his twisted feelings towards his dad.
Actually, I think there's a history of the Presidency to be written about the how their daddy issues affected many of the men who've occupied the Oval Office. Washington and Jefferson both lost their beloved fathers when they were boys. Lincoln's father was an ignorant, belligerent, emotionally abusive man who must have made the sensitive young Abe wonder, hopefully, about his mother's fidelity the year before he was born. FDR's father was an old man when he was born and young Franklin definitely grew up his mother's son. And on and on.
All I'm saying here is that, as usual, image doesn't match reality and and whatever else we need or want from our political leaders, they are not people we should looking to as parental role-models.
The Republicans have never been the Daddy Party, nor have the Democrats been the Mommy Party, but over the last decade the Republicans have increasingly behaved even less like fathers then ever. In their bullying and swaggering, in their irresponsibility when it comes to money, in their treating the world as if it was America's playground and telling everybody who doesn't let us make the rules that we will either beat them up or take our ball and go home, in their it's all about ME attitudes towards every issue (They hate us for our Freedoms!), in their certainty that the rules and laws don't apply to them, in their You're not the boss of me contempt for anybody who tries to hold them accountable, in their solipsistic inability to distinguish between their self-aggrandizing dreams of personal glory and their real lives, in their refusal to do their homework, in their belief that they can skate by without paying attention in school, so to speak ("Global warming? That won't be on the exam, will it? Unfair!"), in the happy way they substitute insults and bullying for argument, in their unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything ("It's Clinton's fault!"), in their sense of entitlement and privilege, in their self-pitying world view ("Why won't you tolerate my intolerance?") they have become the Party of the Arrested Adolescent.
It's not the Mommy Party versus the Daddy Party.
It's the Grown-ups versus the neighbors' spoiled teenage son.