American Politics Special: Republican Idol

In today’s dispatch, Rita enjoys the latest US reality show…

There are two hit shows on American television so far in 2012. One is a fantasy, Downton Abbey, in which we learn how the British handled their 1% a century ago. Apparently they imprisoned them in big old houses, forcing them to wear ridiculous costumes and to speak in strange, strangled accents – specifically so that future American viewers wouldn’t be able to understand a word. Maggie Smith is especially good at this. The Downton 1% think they rule the world, but viewers are let in on the secret that the jailers, known as “servants,” are really in control and having all the fun downstairs. They will inherit the earth while the 1% will slide into a fatal irrelevance. Americans probably love Downton Abbey because right now they are trying to figure out how to deal with their own 1%.

The other hit is a reality show, American Idol – Republican Candidate Edition. It works just like the original American Idol except that, instead of singing, the contestants compete in a series of debates. Instead of a sneering Simon Cowell there are sneering members of the Mainstream Media.

The goal is to come up with the most convincing argument for why the 1% should continue to have it all. Extra points are awarded for persuading the 99% to cling to their guns and religion rather than demand economic fairness. Contestants can double their score at any point by throwing in a new line of attack on President Obama. This is getting more of a challenge, as European Socialist, the Antichrist, and Born in Kenya have been used so often.

At the end of each episode TV Talking Heads pronounce winners and losers, but Republican voters have the last word. This year they’ve been an especially fickle audience, voting some contestants off the podium only to welcome them back in a later episode. There is a special podium reserved for a contestant known as Not Mitt, but nobody can predict who will show up there from week to week.

I’m addicted to both shows and I can tell you that there is far more sex and violence in Republican Idol. The denizens of Downton Abbey may enjoy a few clandestine kisses behind the skeletons in their closets, but they have nothing on the Republican debaters, whose serial adulteries and indecent wealth are barely concealed behind a diaphanous veil of sanctimony and “family values.” I can’t wait to see what happens next in Downton Abbey, but I’m really terrified of the final plot twist that Republican Idol may unleash upon the nation.


Rita Byrne Tull is an ex-pat librarian who lives in Maryland.

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About Author Profile: Rita Byrne Tull

Rita Byrne Tull is an ex-pat librarian who lives in Maryland.

11 thoughts on “American Politics Special: Republican Idol

  1. Worm
    February 1, 2012 at 11:37

    I did have to chuckle last night watching Mit Romney commiserating with some people who’d lost their houses in the credit crisis, a man who must own literally dozens of houses himself.

    All credit to the yanks though, only they could have created a man called Newt Gingrich

    February 1, 2012 at 16:36

    The poor old GOP is in a similar position to the Tories after Maggie. They have not one electable face amongst them. Look at the selection of losers and deadbeats the Conservative party fielded against Labour over Tony’s terrible terms.
    Oh wait…. it does seem that most of them are right there at Cameron’s side. So the Republicans can take heart. Eventually enough time will elapse that ALL shit can be laid at the incumbents door and nothing will be their fault. Then and only then will Newt pass muster. Not this time though chaps, not this time.

    February 1, 2012 at 19:38

    This is savage Swiftian satire at its best!

    It is a brilliant, spot-on skewering of the twee, earnest, but withal self-regarding personal viewpoint segments that twee, earnest, and self-regarding National Public Radio listeners come up with. You know the type: NPR-listening, PBS-watching, New York Times-reading, Huffington Post-perusing, soi-disant “liberals” and “progressives” who believe that the heart-of-darkness of our nation’s interior (“interior” meaning anything more than, say, 25 miles inland from either coast) is peopled by knuckle-draggin’, Bible-totin’, and (of course) gun-totin’ hillbillies. Yee-haw!

    And here’s the pay-off that makes this piece of satire priceless: these “liberals” and “progressives” actually believe (I am not joking!) that they are “tolerant” and “broad-minded.” In fact, they will argue till they are blue in the face that this type of piece is, in fact, evidence of their own “tolerance” and “broad-mindedness.” They will claim that it is “just a joke,” and that they really do love and understand Americans.

    Bravo! You have given the NPR/PBS/New York Times/Huffington Post crowd “the what for”!

      February 1, 2012 at 20:12

      I live within 2 miles of the east coast and believe me we are adequately supplied with knuckle-draggers, bible thumpers and gun toters. I guess ‘hillbilly’ is more a state-of-mind than a funcion of distance above sea level.

      I’m going to the bathroom now where I will be able to read American Rifleman as I move my bowels. I find it help enormously

    February 2, 2012 at 13:54

    I’d just like to note, for balance, that I think Obama’s approach to foreign policy has so far been abysmal.

    February 2, 2012 at 20:30

    A plague on both their houses.

      February 2, 2012 at 20:33

      Although I add also that Prez. Obama is up to his knees in Goldman Sachs advisers and he and his cronies are very much a part of the “1%”, indecent wealth n’all.

      And his foreign policy is indeed abysmal.

      • Worm
        February 2, 2012 at 21:21

        strange how someone so loquacious in the run up to the election could since become so taciturn

          February 2, 2012 at 21:58

          Obama is slow to learn from mistakes, but eventually he does (sometimes). There was a period when he was never off TV, or at least it seemed that way. Many major policy initiatives were accompanied by a one hour “address to the nation.” Health care, this spending bill, that stimulus bill, etc.

          It was rather bizarre- a bit like being in the USSR in the Brezhnev era, where the Boss Man comes on and tells you how it’s going to be.

          The funny thing was that each time Obama did this, whatever policy he was stumping for lost support. It also had the effect of revealing that he isn’t that awesome a speaker. Surrounded by cheering crowds, maybe. But staring into the camera and droning on, like some pompous professor at a community college somewhere in the Midwest, no.

          I don’t think he’s made a serious stab at ‘taking it to the people’ since that incredibly tedious squabble between D’s and R’s during the summer over borrowing vs. cuts. Didn’t work for him then, either. I don’t watch much TV these days, so I can’t say for sure but he seems to have fallen relatively quiet.

          The funny thing is that Democrat talking heads then come on TV and explain how the policies are MAGIC but the message just isn’t getting through. Simultaneously they proclaim Obama as an amazing communicator. Or at least they used to.

          In order to deal with the cognitive dissonance they ascribe nefarious powers to the diabolical Republicans, led by the hapless Boehner. And then of course there is the dreadful Masonic conspiracy of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc.

          And when all else fails, they call the voters stupid.

          That’s entertainment!

            February 2, 2012 at 22:00

            Assuming you were referring to the Big O, Worm- and if not, there’s my tuppence worth anyway.

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