Like the Red Queen, a political satirist must run swiftly to stay in place; today's parody becomes tomorrow's reality.
A while ago, I advocated political realignment, replacing the Republican and Democratic parties with two new parties, The Fools and the Knaves. My purpose was to mitigate voter confusion by making all office seekers state unequivocally whether they were fools or knaves.
"I find myself saying, 'Senator X is either a fool or a knave, but I am not sure which," I wrote. "With realignment, I would know for sure. I vote no longer vote for someone thinking he is fool, only later to discover he is a knave."
A decade later the parties have implemented my suggestion. They have realigned themselves with the Democrats becoming The Fools and Republicans The Knaves.
Consider the Obamacare rollout. To integrate and coordinate this complex computer system, any sensible person would have chosen IBM, one of the biggest and certainly the best-known systems integrator. IBM might have done the job right but if they failed, the administration could have deflected most of the blame.
Instead somewhere in within the Obama administration the following conversation transpired:
First Fool: Who should coordinated and integrate all the systems that will comprise the Obamacare website?
Second Fool: Marilyn Tavenner, the head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She's computer savvy. I understand she has her own Facebook page.
Third Fool: Great idea. She's a computer genius. She showed me how to join LinkedIn.
Fourth Fool: Stealing the top people from Google, Amazon and Apple should be a slam-dunk for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They can slot experienced systems engineers as GS-10 Step 4 and pay them $62,500
The four are neither corrupt nor malevolent; they are well intentioned. They are simply Fools. Had the Knaves been in charge they would have split the systems integration contract between their largest campaign contributor and Halliburton.
The President himself has embraced realignment. Explaining his role in tapping Angela Merkel's cell phone he said, "I am not Knave. I did no know what was going on. I am simply a Fool."
On the other side of the aisle, Republican are terrified of facing a primary opponent more Knavish then themselves. They fear the accusation of being compassionate, considerate, sensitive, humane or merciful. Thus they shut down government, vote to curtail health care, food stamps, and social security, denounce the poor, and abjure any action that might reveal tolerance, sympathy, understanding or intelligence.
I do not despair. I predicted that realignment would bring benefits. "Realigning the parties into Knaves and Fools will improve political advertising," I wrote. "We would stop being assaulted by negative TV ads featuring grainy photos of an opponent, seemingly picking his nose, while an announcer intones:
Jack Jones says he favors prescription drug benefits for the elderly...but he voted against a bill to grant seniors eternal life. It's time to ask Jack Jones why he wants to kill your mother...and why he enjoys sex with small ruminants.
Instead candidates could tersely state, "My opponent, Jack Jones is a Knave. Vote for me; I'm a Fool.'"
I await 2014 elections with optimism and renewed conviction.