October 22, 2018

THE GOP HOKEY POKEY . . . by Will Durst

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Be very careful, because it’s getting crazy out there. You don’t want to end up collateral damage accidentally straying into the path of the newest dance craze sweeping the Republican Party. Closely related to the St. Vitus Dance, it is characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerky movements and commonly referred to as the Donald Trump Two- Step.

It’s pretty simple really: swing your arms back and forth, take one step forward, turn right, turn righter, take one step back. And repeat. Kind of like the Twist meets the Mexican Hat Dance meets the Hokey Pokey, with a heavy emphasis on the Pokey. The goal is a lot of movement without any discernible directional advancement.

There’s an election coming up, and the threat of a Blue Wave is spooking conservatives like cobwebs in a closet with the lights out after midnight. So this spasmodic twitching is the direct result of pressure being applied from behind as well as the front, the left, the right, the in and the out. Candidates are suffering from the dreaded Trump Sandwich Effect.

The dilemma is whether to be caught in a clinch, slow- dancing with the president, which works in some red districts or to waltz away so far, the Chief- Executive can’t even be seen due to the curvature of the earth- the norm in almost every swing district. There’s a third option, the stutter- step of trying to have it both ways leading to the tortured choreography that a passing priest might describe as demonic possession.

This is a problem similar to what Democratic office- seekers experience with Nancy Pelosi. The difference being, she rumbas a little more under the radar. Unfortunately the president thinks he’s John Travolta and can’t help discoing into every single spotlight event – whether he’s asked to or not, including hurricanes.

Florida GOP senatorial candidate Rick Scott, fox trotting in a dead heat with incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, was forced by his state’s demographics to disown the president’s statement that his enemies inflated Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico to make him look bad. Paul Ryan said there is no reason to dispute the numbers. And he’s not even running for office. You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way this wind is blowing.

Each and every GOP candidate has to make the decision whether to risk insulting Trump’s base or the intelligence of normal ordinary human beings. Hence the development of this dance of dishonor. Samba of shame. Hypocritical hula.

Whenever Mister Trump shoots out a crude tweet, says something demonstrably false or acts with an oafishness normally attributed to drunken grizzly bears, his loyal backers gravely announce being mildly offended and issue a statement that sort of, but not really, criticizes his behavior. Then claim to be totally satisfied with his intention to make amends, even if he hasn’t said anything to that effect.

It’s the Donald Trump Two- Step, where you bounce up and down and move in and out, bopping and weaving so you never assume a single position long enough for any to get a bead on you.

The good news is this slam- dance marathon only lasts another 7 weeks. The bad news is many will drop either from exhaustion, confusion or by tripping over their own feet. Or to be more precise, the Oval Office rug cutter’s size 12s.

Copyright © 2018, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former file clerk in the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee’s Administration Building. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, including 5 of the next 6 Tuesdays @ the SF Marsh, please visit willdurst.com.

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