Now that Iowa and New Hampshire are over, there is a definite sense that fatigue has settled in. I don't mean the candidates. I mean us.
We have been bombarded with a seemingly endless list of things Republicans don't like: health care, Lady Gaga, birth control, the East Coast (except New Hampshire!), the West Coast, Jimmy Kimmel, nontraditional marriage and vegetables with more than one syllable. Republicans certainly don't like me, and they probably don't like you. So perhaps you've wondered: is there anything Republicans do like?
Quite a lot, actually. The demographic has long been a favorite for market analysts pitching everything from shampoo to bad television. This is scarcely surprising; how else could Walker: Texas Ranger have survived eight seasons?
A less professional but much more entertaining list appeared recently on Tumblr, a repository for memes capturing the zeitgeist of the decade -- or at least of the last week. Stuff Republicans Like is a gentle reminder that, however much we disparage them, our red state cousins are people too. Just like us, except perhaps a bit... well... processed.
Republicans love in-ground sprinklers and above-ground pools, triple-ply toilet paper and Taylor Swift. This catalogue of their affinities has a mad logic to it, like a private museum for the quietly insane. Some are obvious -- re-enactments, WW2, the Old Testament -- while others make one question whether there might be a little Republican in us all (Wet Naps in the car, who knew?). The best are those that instantly call to mind our conservative friends and family, whom we love, but.... Among them: seasonal flags, unlimited peel-and-eat shrimp, crown molding and men wearing XL shirts regardless of their actual size.
This list just made my day. We are back in what President Obama once called the "silly season" of American politics, except it has become a silly year. And it hasn't really begun. Watching the Republican candidates berate one another is like watching early-alert hurricane coverage: right now the storm is blowing off roofs in San Juan, but sooner or later it's bound to come our way. Having weathered the last election with only minimal damage to my friends list, I have come to dread sentences that begin with "How can you say that..." But before we accept the image of the tricornered Tea Partier or, worse, Rick Santorum as the standard bearer of the GOP, it's nice to be reminded of that tucked-shirt wearing, neck pillow-loving silent majority.
So go ahead, invite a Republican over while you still can. Better yet, get yourself invited, and stretch out together on the microsuede sectional, crack open some onion dip and watch Hope Floats.
After all, it's the American way.