The GOP Soap Opera

By Will Durst

It’s been more exciting than a zip-line over crocodile-infested streams watching the Republican reality TV show currently playing across the nation. Specifically talking about their grueling marathon gladiator contest where the last person voted off the island becomes Red American Idol and wins the opportunity to oppose Barack Obama in the grudge match this fall, not to mention grab all the money they can from the Koch Brothers’ secret PAC account money machine. Let’s Make a Deal.

This entertaining miniseries has proven to be a huge ratings blockbuster. But like a typical J.J. Abrams production, murky and confusing. What with Osama bin Laden dead and the steady improvement of the economy, the GOP plot line has meandered more than a scampering toddler in the horse barns of the North Dakota State Fair. Think third year of Twin Peaks. And make it foggy.

Another stumbling block has been the format. What exactly is this thing? It sure ain’t the Super Bowl. A game show, a mockumentary, or a sit-com sponsored by Planters to capitalize on all the mixed nuts involved? Perhaps Procter & Gamble should throw their name onto the proceedings because of how deep we’ve entered soap opera territory.

Think about it. Lots of talk. Not much action. Consider the story threads to which we’ve been treated to so far. Accusations of sexual harassment. Money hidden in off-shore accounts. Extramarital affairs. Closeted husbands. Open Marriages. Gaffes and feuds and quarrels and family discord. Keep waiting for an evil twin to show up. Although, you could say Rick Perry was George Bush’s evil twin. Okay, eviler twin.

Michele Bachmann provided some comic relief, always just a bit off. Went to New Hampshire and talked about how excited she was to be where the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” was fired, but that was Concord, Mass., 70 miles away. Close but no cigar. Then in Iowa she said, “It’s great to be here in the birthplace of John Wayne,” but the town in which she was speaking had once been the home of John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. Demonstrating how sometimes close, can be so very far away.

In flashbacks, we’ve seen the “disputed” account of how Newt Gingrich presented his first wife with divorce papers while recovering from cervical cancer surgery: then left his second wife after she was diagnosed with MS. Makes you wonder how sick America has to get before he leaves us alone? Cough. Cough.

Mitt Romney has locked down the billionaire matriarch villain role, announcing he is not concerned about “the very poor.” Problem is, the rest of the cast suspect his definition of “the very poor” consists of anybody without a permanent pastry chef on staff. Then to drive the point home, the very next day he publicly hugged Donald Trump. Perhaps a bromance sub-plot spinoff?

One thing about Mitt, he’s definitely thrown a whole “Upstairs, Downstairs” spin onto the proceedings. Which presumably puts Ron Paul in the kitchen as the muttering maid. And Rick Santorum as the sneaky chauffer out by the garage pretending to wash one of the Bentleys. Watch out, Mrs. Romney!

Unfortunately, we’ve already lost a lot of really good characters; but then again, in soap operas, simply because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t rejoin the narrative. Maybe at the convention in August, Mike Huckabee will emerge from his Tampa hotel shower and like the eighth season of “Dallas,” we’ll realize this whole last year was nothing but a dream.

Will Durst
Latest posts by Will Durst (see all)