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Shaun Casey Headshot

Hey Republicans, It's Time for Some Old Timey Politics

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The problem with the modern Republican party is that, along with being sadistic, callous and evil, they look, well, sadistic, callous and evil. And they are reaching for a base that isn't there and sentiments that aren't relevant. Nobody wants to go back to getting jiggy with things, Michael Steele, not to mention that this song was never popular with blacks or whites. Steele had the concept right, but the wrong time period. The party needs to go back to a time when gentle, hairy strangers roamed the landscape and shared stories about how good it was back in the day, their wispy Mark Twain style mustaches gently blowing in the wind under an old willow tree. It's time for republicans to go even more old school. REALLY old school. It's time for some Old Timey Politics.

In the early 19th century the British discovered the easiest way to conceal their grotesque appearance and not scare the natives was through an intricately groomed and coiffed combinations of beards, mustaches and sideburns. This is where the party's rebranding efforts need to begin. As it stands the entire front line of the Republican party (Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, etc.) is starting to meld into a hairless caricature of Emperor Palpatine that looks like he is pregnant and retaining water, without the jedi powers or political astuteness. (Let's see Cheney take control of the imperial Senate through emergency powers during a time of crisis! Oh wait, he already did that. My bad.) Like Clinton's mantra during his run to the White House, ("It's the economy, stupid!") the Republicans new chant should be, "it's the mustache, ugly!"

With a little experimentation, the right combination of sideburns and a well groomed upper lip can take you from an insidious, hawkish war criminal to a Colonel Saunders-esque mustachioed favorite uncle, ripe with old timey charm. You know, the kind that took you to the penny candy store for some sasperilly and salt water taffy on Saturday afternoon, then to the double bill at the talking pictures? What's that? You never had an uncle like that? Of course you didn't, but you sure can picture how swell it would be to have one right? Yeah, that would be alllll riiiight. Slap some old timey cookie dusters on the lot of them, with some cooky sideburns to boot, and so begins the Republican climb back to trustedness and respectability.

Similarly, it becomes increasing difficult to cast anyone as diabolical undoers of everything honest and good during a hoe-down. Get some Boss Hogg all white suits with bollo ties, a fiddler, and "MC Rove" to start calling square dances at leadership conventions instead of rapping. All the sudden the party convention is starting to look less like a secret society of black magic war-locks run by people who look like marshmallows thrown into a campfire and more like a good old fashioned good time jamberoo. You are conjuring up images of good times people never had, but have always secretly longed to. Mmmm, that's good-old-timey.

The language and tone of the party's message needs to change as well. Bring in leadership with soft, cuddly names like like Grover or Teddy or Gentleman Jim, and do away with aggressive sounding names like Rush or Dick. If anyone asks about previous regimes, the new leadership needs to act surprised and outraged by previous antics, add a statement of disbelief, and finish the sentence with something vague and tinged with religious piety while not actually atoning for the party's previous actions or promising to change them, in a country twang, e.g. "Geezm crow, how in tarnation did those boys get any votes at all? They stole them? Well don't that just beat all. Well, we'll see about that. And the good lord knows that to be true."

Once you get the image and language down, you can start to work the political side of being old thymey. You can always reflect on a time that was better than the current situation, even if you weren't alive or had anything to do with it, and say how much more like that situation things should be. This implies that somehow you have the ability to create this nirvana that never existed. Even saying "I remember a simpler time, when x was x and y was y" sometimes suffices. You can also refer to your opponents using terms that sound respectful like "my gracious and esteemed opponent" while trashing them about everything from their appearance to their infidelity with their wives, even if you are guilty of the same sins. Bottom line, nothing sticks to a honey dripping southerner in a searsucker suit.

To get elected, all you have to do is promise that you will ensure that nothing changes. Old timey politicians like things just the way they are, thank you very much, and so will your base of constituents. If challenged, use mixed metaphors and passive aggressive pronouns that sound like you like the person, while telling them to f*** off. Example: "Friend, you aren't from around here are you? we don't like just anybody coming in and trying to tell us how the horse should be milked. We've been milkin' it just fine for years. That's not how we do business around here. but I thank you kindly." People will agree with the sentiment of the metaphor, even if they don't understand it, especially if you are polite. And that's all you need.

So get out the mustache wax and dust off that rustic vernacular, it's time to take people back to a time that people don't remember why white men were always in charge, and how awful it was. You know, the good old days.