Nerd Date: The Love Vote Jan23

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Nerd Date: The Love Vote


a blogumn by Clark Perry

jamesmaryI don’t know how James Carville and Mary Matalin do it.

I mean that literally. How do they, y’know … do it?

I guess you can look at them and conclude that nobody else wants to do it with them. But does that explain the attraction they obviously feel, a love that — gasp! — transcends politics?

These big-time Beltway advisors come from different sides of the political aisle. Hell, they’re not even under the same roof most of the time. The drawl-happy Carville made his name as Bill Clinton’s main strategist and attack dog in the 1990s. Given his serpentine nature in both action and appearance, he’s more aptly described as an attack rattlesnake.

The shrewd and shrill Matalin rose to power and fame as an assistant to George H.W. Bush, then later advised Vice President Dick Cheney. Most recently, she hitched her hopes to Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, that Law & Order actor who seemed to care less about his own campaign than anybody else ever could.

This married couple is quite a pair, to put it mildly. Whenever I see them together, I’m too stunned to do anything but stop and stare. Visually they are unlike anyone else on the planet. Put a ruffled bone ridge on Carville’s forehead and you’ve got a killer Star Trek villain. And poor jug-eared Mary looks like Pat Buchanan in drag (even beating out Pat’s fugly sister Bay for that title).

So yeah, let ’em have sex with each other. I don’t see anybody else lining up for them, do you?

I’ve been thinking about Carville and Matalin this week, not because they’ve chimed in on cable news channels (I thankfully missed them if they did), but because it’s a new political era in America. For eight years we tilted too far right, after (some believe) we tilted too far left for eight years, so now it’s back to the left for a while … and so on.

I’ve contemplated penning a column where I explain to my frowny-faced Republican friends how I mentally coped during eight years of the worst presidency in TIME ITSELF, and provide tips on how they can prepare for eight years of the best. But I realize that, despite my pride in figuring out that shit on my own, the last thing they want is some welfare handout program to help them through hard times. So I nixed that column idea, opting to silently serve up some of that cold, hard, Ayn Randian conservatism they love so much (but which will never love them back).

Looking at President Barack Obama’s high poll numbers, it’s clear that most Americans support him. But we’re still a divided nation in many ways and it’s likely that some couples new and old reflect that division. So my question is: how do they pull it off?

At first thought, I have no damned idea. I’m lucky to be dating someone whose politics reflect, at least to some extent, my own. More important than that, her open mind reminds me to keep my own cranial vault aired out in healthy fashion.

But what if I was dating someone who voted for John McCain? Who thinks Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican party? Say, a foxy lady who counts herself among the 22 percent of brain-dead Americans who believe the disastrous Bushie did a heckuva good job? (Hey, I’m a science-fiction fan, I can indulge in these flights of fancy.)

For pointers, I look at the prime public example of such an unlikely union, Carville and Matalin. They couldn’t disagree more on basic issues if they tried. Now, of course there’s an element of showmanship to the whole thing. They live their lives on the public stage, their paychecks and reputations depend on it. They know they’re something of a political freak show and it’s entertaining in a Greek theater kinda way.

But did you see how they broke down and sobbed during a televised tribute to late newsman Tim Russert last year? I’ve no doubt they were close to Russert and his sudden death hit them hard. But their public display of grief felt anything but authentic. It was so shameless I bet those tears dried up the second they cut to commercial.

And yet, despite their vast differences, Carville and Matalin somehow fell in love and got married. They have two children so apparently they even have sex (or they managed to at least twice). So what do I know?

In all honesty, I can’t imagine dating someone whose politics don’t resonate at least somewhat with mine. I love good debate and conversation, but why would I want to risk every brunch and dinner and happy hour turning into Fox News Screaming Head Match? How could I learn to love and respect someone whose views veered away so sharply from my own? How could I go down on somebody who believed in upholding the sodomy laws of the 19th century?

I play scenes in my head to try it out. They all end in disaster.

Her: “I hate sushi.”

Me: “Hey, food is negotiable.”

Her: “Sci-fi is stupid.”

Me: “Now you’re getting personal.”

Her: “I support torture because the fictional Jack Bauer proves that it works in fictional scenarios.”

Me: “But I thought you didn’t like sci-fi. Look, if you’re really into torture, I’ll just sleep with one of your friends and she can tell you what you missed out on. Look, your cab’s here.”

Few other subjects raise hackles as much as politics, especially in the aftermath of an election year like we just had. But the fact is, no matter who you’re dating, you’re gonna disagree with them on a thousand points, from politics to pizza toppings. Any worthwhile relationship requires acceptance, reason, and an agreement to disagree. Not to mention a healthy sense of humor.

Ann Coulter lacks all of these qualities. She’s single. ‘Nuff said.

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