11/09/2006 01:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Party of Morals Learns a Moral

Once upon a time, there was a President who went around his country telling cheering crowds a week before the election that his party would win. He ridiculed his opponents about prematurely measuring their new offices for curtains, and with laughing bravado reminded his audience how his opponents had expected to win the White House two years earlier, but look who's there now. And he and his crowds laughed and laughed.

What the President overlooked was that two years earlier when he had won, his approval rating was perhaps 60%, but now it was only 35%. What the President overlooked, as well, about his adoring crowds was that he wasn't addressing a cross-section of his country, but rather giving the speech in his home state and on the back porch of his close friend Tom Delay. That's preaching to the convicted.

And still the President went on puffing, laughing why his party would win. Big talk. Big swagger. Big deal.

Moral: When you joke about your opponents measuring for curtains, you may discover that it turns out to be curtains for you.

Once upon a time, there was an evil magic vizier named Karl who advised his crowned head of state. Karl roved across the land, and when troubadours heralded the news that more people admired Karl's enemies than liked his royal sovereign, Karl disagreed and cast a magic spell, waving his hand, and saying "They have their numbers, and I have the numbers."

And upon his words, some people saw the sky become dark, and became frightened. However, the sky was dark only in their minds, for in truth Karl had no numbers at all. It was but bad voodoo magic. And bad voodoo magic is no magic at all. One day, two brave souls showed up at the castle to voice their preferences, and the sky was indeed bright and shining after all.

Moral: Bluffing with your hand can sometimes win the pot, but in the end even a pair of twos beats no King.

Once upon a time, there was a Grand and Old party of revelers. The party was famous for being able to get a great many people to show up at the last minute. If another party was gathering at the same time, the Grand and Old Party made a "Get Out the Folks" effort that brought more members to their party than the rival party. They didn't even worry about putting together a good party, they knew they could just "get out the folks" to come. And so they danced and reveled and got drunk and bribed others to show up and became depraved and started a really big fight, and the party got a terrible reputation.

Then one year, they went to "Get Out the Folks," certain that this would be the Grandest Old Party ever.

But they ignored three things. The ignored that the other party had started to "get out the folks," too. And that many of their former revelers had gotten upset at how bad the party had become and decided not to go out that night. And that many folks who did decide to go out that night, decided to go to the other, more enjoyable, party instead.

Moral: Just because you've gotten people to come to your party in the past doesn't mean they'll keep showing up if the food becomes tasteless, and you change the music to something they hate.

Once upon a time, the Republican Party liked to pretend it was the party of morals. It convinced many people of this because "the party of morals" sounds noble and holier than thou. When they talked about morals, however, they really only meant sex and ignored the morality of keeping people out of poverty, providing an education to children, making sure everyone's health care was ensured and tolerance for their fellow men and women.

And then it happened that they weren't really as moral on those few things they preached about either. Their moral leaders got caught heavily gambling, abusing children, covering up that abuse just to win votes, lying about felony drug use and prostitution and about what they hypocritically preached to others was deviant. They were indicted for bribery, indicted for putting defenders of America at risk, and convicted of illegal influence. And for all their morality, they allowed a city to be wiped off the map and did little to help the destitute.

In fact, it was revealed that all their claims of morality were just a cynical effort to win the blind support of those who they actually called "nuts" behind their backs. They ignored their faith-based promises. And in the end, they lost much support by these people who would have otherwise followed them into the fires of Hell.

Moral: If you want others to see you as holy, make sure that your morals aren't full of holes.