MY MOTHER IS the source of endless amusement and frustration. She’s a 67-year-old right-winger, conservative Rush Limbaugh listener, and born-again Christian who — I kid you not — has eight-by-10 glossies of George W. and Laura Bush sitting above the family computer beside a Ronald Reagan portrait. She’s the kind of person who bonds with her doctor by reading Sean Hannity’s new hardcover in the waiting room and argues, without a hint of irony, that the Fox News Channel is the most unbiased television station on the air. When I went to the Republican National Convention last August, she had three requests: buy her a George W. Bush bobble-head doll, bring her back a Zell Miller T-shirt, and be sure to get inside Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night — to see Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View speak. (I did none of the above.)
So yeah, that’s my mom. And so, whenever I need a litmus test for the right-wing crazies, I call her. Like last night. It seemed to me that Bush’s aides handed him a list of 10 simple phrases to parrot, and that’s what he did. He seemed annoyed, aggravated, wincing uncomfortably like a guy who had just eaten bad sushi. John Kerry isn’t a hot piece of ass, no, and both his Eric Stoltz–in–Mask face and his functioning brain are going to hurt him with the superficial, American dumb-ass demographic. But Kerry offered clear, intelligent, reasoned arguments. How could anyone not see that?
So I called my mom. And of course, my mom couldn’t see that. Didn’t you think Bush just keep saying the same things over and over? I asked.
I thought it was the other way around. If Kerry said "alliances" any more, I was going to vomit!
Yeah, but Bush kept saying "hard work." It’s "hard work." Everything’s "hard work."
Yes, but it is hard work!
I think Bush said "hard work" more than Kerry said "alliances." (Turns out, Kerry said "alliances" 10 times and Bush said "hard work" 11 times. I win.)
Well, Bush isn’t a perfect man. He used to drink too much, but I give him credit for turning his life around. He loves the Lord and isn’t afraid to say it.
Did you see that Teresa? She isn’t a lady. She has a bad mouth. Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush would never say the things she says.
She’s her own woman. She’s a fireball. She’s kind of sexy, I think.
If Kerry doesn’t win — and I pray every day by the grace of God he doesn’t — I give that marriage a year. He won’t be a senator, and she’ll have no use for him. She’ll throw him to the curb. And she always looks rumpled. Did you notice that?
She did kind of look like she’d just woken up from a nap.
Your brother said that she looked like she’d just had a few shots — I called him after the debate — and that Laura’s every inch the lady, while Teresa’s every inch, well, I won’t repeat what he said.
C’mon, repeat it.
And do you know what else your brother said that was so funny? Did you ever read Joe Klein’s book Primary Colors?
Well, you should. Apparently, James Carville, he used to run around the campaign office waving his thingy.
That’s gross, gross. So we were talking about Clinton, and I told your brother that Carville used to run around flashing his thing, and he said — get this — "It’s gotta be better looking than his face ..."
It is. Well, you know, Camille. I’m glad you called. But I’m just going to keep praying that you start to see things clearly.
And I you, Mom. I hope you do too.
Issue Date: October 1, 2004
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