As a child, I thought myself quite the prodigy for reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, which I’d discovered in my dad’s pornography collection. Dale’s assertion that people love being addressed by name stuck with me, but sometimes, as with persons with names I’m not sure I’ve heard right, or am pronouncing correctly, my desire to charm in this way causes me much distress. Such was the case yesterday when the head of the Republican National Committee phoned to invite me to lunch. I think his name is Rinse Previous, but I wasn’t sufficiently confident about that to address him as anything other than sir, which was very uncomfortable in view of his addressing me as John more relentlessly than a previously-owned automobile salesman might have.
We met at one of those old-fashioned steakhouses of the sort I didn’t imagine existed anymore, one in which silver-haired fat cats with paunches sit in red banquettes washing down very rare steaks and creamed spinach with multiple martinis, and calling the waitresses, hired in substantial part for their cleavage, honey. Rinse was charm itself as he told me how much my candidacy delighted him for having already made The Discussion so much livelier. “I mean,” he said, starting his third vodka gimlet, “I deplore your ideas, but your having expressed them makes for lively debate, and lively debate is the oxygen of a vibrant democracy.”
I sent my onion rings back, as they were soggy. Since becoming addicted to the Food Network, I’ve been a very demanding restaurant patron. I pointedly didn’t call our server honey. I could see the gratitude in her eyes, and Rinse and I got down to what the British so love to call the nitty-gritty. The Republicans had spent literally billions of dollars since the Reagan years selling stupid Americans on the idea that if they just tolerated being the patsies of the rich with sufficient forebearance, they would themselves become rich one day. My railing with rare eloquence against income inequality stood a slim chance — but one The Party was disinclined to take — of that tiny minority of the electorate that pays attention to stop voting against its own best interests.
“So?” I asked, smirking Bushily, feeling every inch a Republican wheeler-dealer, and hating myself for it, “what have you got for me?” Had one of the cuter servers walked past at that instant, I might have pinched her ass, and then loudly demanded, “Whatsa matter, honey, you a lesbo or something?” if she protested.
“Wow,” he said, draining his gimlet, “you’re tougher than I’d expected.” He snapped his fingers to get our server over, ordered a fourth gimlet, and revealed that The Party was prepared to offer me the job of Gov. Bush’s running mat, or Sen. Cruz’s, or even Gov. Palin’s, if I would “play ball” — that is, repudiate all the beliefs I’ve expressed to this point and pretend that I regarded Gov. Bush, San. Cruz, or even Gov. Palin not only as someone who shouldn’t have been drowned in infancy, but as a viable political leader.
I told him I’d think about it, but I was lying. Lying is what we political candidates do, as witness my earlier reference to my dad’s porn collection My dad didn’t really have such a collection, at least one that I knew about.