Life in cartoon motion

Politics and ohter mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  January 30, 2008

Welcome to the Public Broadcasting System’s new show, What Were You Thinking, You Idiot? I’m your moderator, Homer Simpson, moonlighting until the writers’ strike ends.

As highly educated public TV viewers, you’ve probably already guessed this program is part of PBS’s desperate attempt to connect with mainstream America, after the unfortunate failures of NASCAR and National Issues, hosted by fitness guru Richard Simmons, and Who Wants To Shoot An Endangered Species? with Dick Cheney.

Tonight, I’ll be examining stupid things politicians do, and I’ll be aided by a panel of animated experts, including our crime-fighting consultant, Batman; our youth-culture authority, Eric Cartman; our specialist on dodging tough questions, the Invisible Girl; and Maine Governor John Baldacci, our master of state finances.

Hey, we tried to get Jennifer Rooks, but it turns out she’s a real person.

Let’s begin with a bill introduced by Democratic state Representative Hannah Pingree of North Haven, which calls for legalizing fusion voting. I don’t have a clue what that means, so we called in somebody who lives with fusion every day. Welcome CatDog.

Thank you, Homer. I’m Cat, and fusion voting allows a candidate to be nominated by more than one political party. For instance, a debauched Democrat — sorry for the redundancy — might appear on the ballot as the nominee of his party as well as the Keg Party. A particularly uptight Republican might earn the endorsement of both the GOP and the Prissy Prigs Party. It’s a chance for insignificant factions to exert disproportionate influence. Which brings us to my own insignificant faction: Dog.

Hi ho diggity. This legislation is like something ripe I found in a trash can. It stinks, because it doesn’t accomplish anything, except to make the political process more complicated. Hey, Pingree, don’t you have a fiscal crisis or something you could be working on? Back to you, Homer.

Thanks, CatDog. Now, we turn to news that Michael Heath, the executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, has rejoined the Republican Party after a two-year absence. To cover the return of one prodigal son, we call on another. From King of the Hill, please welcome Bobby Hill.

Gosh, Mr. Simpson, I can’t figure this out. A couple years ago, Mr. Heath took time out from trying to ban sinful stuff like The Da Vinci Code and lingerie shops with live models to announce that Republicans were “not clear and strong in their condemnation of immorality.” Now, he’s gone all squishy, praising the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe nobody told him Reverend King was a bigger philanderer than President Clinton. Or maybe Mr. Heath forgot, when he was comparing the civic league’s fight against abortion and same-sex marriage to King’s fight for civil rights — something even a kid like me can see is really stretching an analogy — that while King was facing police dogs in Selma, the league was supporting the white-supremacist government in South Africa. At my age, I’m struggling to understand issues, like race, sex and hypocrisy. This sure doesn’t help. Back to you, Mr. Simpson.

Thanks, Bobby. Regards to your fairly odd parents. Anyhoo, it’s time to turn our attention to a new proposal from Laurie Dobson, independent candidate for the US Senate. I guess she’s an independent because she couldn’t even get one of those fusion parties to endorse her.

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