Campaigning is a draining business, and maybe the candidates are tired, or maybe they’re just getting cranky, but the debate in Jacksonville, sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network, was one, big, fat dysfunctional Christmas dinner with the relatives: you know the kind: the one you swear every year you’re going to skip but you go because you feel obligated and by the end you just feel tired and bloated and wish everyone would shut the hell up.
Just like an old married couple, Mama Newt and Papa Mitt spent the night quarreling over the same old, tired issues they always have and whining about hurt feelings:
Papa Mitt: You think I’m ‘anti-immigrant?’ ME? How can you say I’m anti-immigrant? My FATHER was an immigrant…blah blah blah…that’s repulsive; I’m offended!
Mama Newt: Oh yeah? Well quite frankly your language deeply offends me and is repulsive, so there!
Papa Mitt: Ha, sooooo typical! You know, you’re just a Fannie Mae lobbyist, that’s what YOU are! ‘Always have been!
Mama Newt: How DARE you! I voted ‘no’ on giving them any money and you know it! My contract specifically said, “No lobbying! No lobbying!” How many times do I have to say it, geez! You NEVER listen!
Papa Mitt: Oh don’t play coy with ME…you were CLEARLY promoting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the tune of 1.6 million dollars!
The shock sinks in as the old couple continues to quarrel about who was offended and hurt the most, as Little Ricky, their wide-eyed son caught in the middle, spends the night wishing everyone could for once just get along:
Little Ricky: Can we pleeeeassse forget that Newt was a member of congress who used his skills to advise businesses? That’s not the worst thing in the world…and that Mitt is a very wealthy guy because he worked hard and made a lot of money and can we pleeeeaaasssee PLEASE focus on the issues finally, GOSH!
Just then, wacky Uncle Ron looked up from his latest edition of Kumbaya Foreign Policy Weekly long enough to poke his own stick at the hornet’s nest:
Wacky Uncle Ron: What do YOU know, kid, huh? Who asked you about South America anyway? Are you old enough to be up this late?
But before Little Ricky could respond, In-law Blitzer had to get his two cents in. Blitzer was one of those typical meddling In-law types who just couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie – there always had to be something juicy going on:
In-Law Blitzer: Oh Uncle Ron wants to speak, (yawn) – so tell us, Uncle Ron, do you think Mama Newt and Papa Mitt should pay back all that money they earned with their investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?
By this time, Uncle Ron was getting pretty annoyed at all the attention on Mama Newt and Papa Mitt and their infernal fighting about the same things over and over and over….
Uncle Ron: I don’t really give a hoot about what they did, okay? Let’s talk about me for a change!
Uncle Ron wanted the spotlight for just one friggin’ minute but as usual In-law Blitzer just loved watching the married folks fight, so once again, Little Ricky and Wacky Uncle Ron were seen and not heard as Uncle Mitt droned on about Mama Newt’s antics with Freddie and Fannie about a zillion years ago, blah blah blah…Mama Newt just wished he were on some wonderful moon colony, and to pass the time, Wacky Uncle Ron imagined what he would say if Fidel Castro ever called.
Suddenly, cranky, know-it-all Aunt Elizabeth showed up and started complaining about everybody:
Cranky Aunt Elizabeth: Hey, what about Puerto Rico? When can Puerto Rico become a state, hmm? Tell me that…you never want to talk about Puerto Rico, all you want to talk about is yourself! Well, Puerto Rico counts, damnit!
Oh, here we go again, everyone thinks, and a few try to pacify her, but what’s really on everyone’s mind is, Listen, Aunt Lizzy, no one cares if Puerto Rico becomes a state right now, alright? There are other things going on right now. Stop it. It’s not all about you, gosh…”
Meanwhile the old folks went right back to quarreling like champs until Papa Mitt misquoted Mama Newt about making English the official language of the country and meddling In-law Blitzer called him out on it:
Papa Newt: Did I say that? I’m not sure. Perhaps my people said it. Is that what the ad said? Did YOU say that? Oh I don’t know anymore….
At one point Mama Newt tried to make nice with Papa Mitt by offering a truce but Papa Mitt wouldn’t have it:
Papa Mitt: I’m so sick of you just traveling from state to state and promising people exactly what they want to hear! That’s exactly what got us into trouble in the first place!
Everyone in the room thought Papa Mitt’s comment was very clever but then Mama Newt said:
Mama Newt: Oh, excuuuuuuuuuse me…I thought what we were SUPPOSED to learn
about different states and the issues related to them and offer solutions – DUH….
And everyone seemed to think that was rather clever, too. Even so, all the arguing was giving Mama Newt a headache. Mama Newt really needed to put Papa Mitt in his place to finally break free of him, but it just wasn’t happening the way it should have.
Wacky Uncle Ron actually had a good night. He laughed and made jokes, and even got some good points in about domestic policies and everyone enjoyed Uncle Ron, especially since meddling In-law Blitzer didn’t make him talk too much about foreign policy, which is how ‘Wacky’ Uncle Ron got his nickname.
Pretty soon the egg nog was gone, folks were tired and the evening descended into a stilted conversation about who had the best wife.
Mamma Newt wrapped it all up by reminding us that beating Obama will take an election that includes all Americans who want independence and jobs over dependence and food stamps, and everyone felt warm and fuzzy inside.
Little Ricky was happy, too, and probably had the best night out of everyone. Although he didn’t say much, what he did say was clear and good and everyone knew that he was nice.
A bunch of dinner guests from Florida were there, and although they were grateful to have been invited, they left unsatisfied because In-law Blitzer had Mama Newt and Papa Mitt arguing over so much stupid stuff that there was no time to discuss what interested them.
Mama Newt, Papa Mitt, Little Ricky and Uncle Ron didn’t understand; from the beginning, they had all tried to impress the Floridians by saying Spanish names like, “Mario Diaz-Balart,” “Susana Martinez,” and, “Marco Rubio,” but it didn’t help much.
In the end, they all started arguing over whom the Floridians liked the best, but the Floridians were still unsure.
“We’ll let you know on January 31st,” they said. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”