Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Secret Handbook

If you’ve been following the Republican leadership race (and who hasn’t?), you’re probably wondering how the various candidates are able to consistently stay on message. You’re probably also wondering why there is so little difference between their positions. The answer lies in an unknown, recently-leaked manual called "The Secret Handbook for Republican Presidential Candidates." Here are some of its entries:
Age, Sex and Race
The Republican Party prides itself on being an equal opportunity elector. We don’t care whether you’re young or old, male or female or black or white. Heck, we don’t even care if you’re Hispanic. But the one thing we do ask is that you be rich....really, really rich. Electoral politics is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for those light in the wallet.
It’s really pretty simple; Christ must be your personal savior, preferably in the context of a fundamentalist strain of Christianity. No exceptions. Sorry Joe Lieberman. We try to be as flexible as possible on this matter which is why we’ve kind of looked the other way for that Mitt Romney fellow. But, truth be told, we’d be more comfortable with an out-and-out born-again Baptist.
Affairs (the Newt Gingrich Rule)
It’s OK to have an affair so long as it was in the last century and you’ve shown at least some remorse. Recent affairs, however, or ones lasting longer than twelve years will be fatal to any candidate unless she’s a woman. After all, we’re not Democrats.
Brain Freezes (the George W. Bush Rule)
Good ole boy impressions are perfectly acceptable. So, too, are the occasional malapropism and slip-up. But beware of lowering your perceived IQ under the political Mendoza line (as of today, about 90). One or two brain freezes won’t necessarily be fatal unless followed by a double mistake on who can vote and when. We’ve added a Rick Perry Corollary this year, also known as the Two-drink Maximum Rule.
Taxes (the Grover Norquist Rule)
This one’s pretty simple. No new taxes. Period. Fullstop. Exclamation point. Don’t even waffle on this one (are you listening Jon Huntsman?) or say "Read my lips." And don’t forget; ‘no new taxes’ is just the minimum position. If you actually want to win the nomination, you have to propose lowering taxes, especially for the wealthy. Acceptable positions include "a flat tax", "no tax" or even "9-9-9," whatever the heck that means.
Gun Control (the Charlton Heston Rule)
Republicans like guns. And we like others to like guns, too. That’s why we support the right to bear arms and, if necessary, arm bears. Whatever it takes to keep freedom ringing loud and clear in our streets in the middle of the night is fine by us. If you absolutely, positively have to waffle on this issue, you can always claim to be a bit of a moderate and propose personal limitations on small, handheld nuclear weapons.
A Mexican Fence
When it comes to immigration, the minimum acceptable position is a fence along the Mexican border. What kind of fence or how tall is entirely up to you. Ten feet, twenty feet, wire mesh, concrete, electrified. Be creative. How about an alligator-filled moat or a tourist-themed Great Wall of Texas?
A Female Candidate (the Sarah Palin Rule)
If you wish to be the first female Republican presidential candidate, stay out of the race. That way you can’t screw up and, with any luck, by the time the convention rolls around, there’ll be no one left to run except for you. This is also known as the anti-Michele Bachman Rule.
Libertarians (the Ron Paul Rule)
We welcome libertarians into the Republican Party. We’re just not that keen on having them run as president. Let’s face it; every party needs a little comic relief and Ron Paul is both little and comic, kind of our version of Dennis Kucinich. But there’s no point in making the next election any easier for Obama than it has to be.

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