Food for Thought

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If you’ve ever watched Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you know the inevitable lead-in to every show: a harried restaurant owner bemoans the fact that he’s losing customers by the dozens, but is always quick to point out that his food (invariably self-described as nothing less than fabulous!) could not possibly be the cause of the decline in business.   They will blame their wait staff’s laziness, the chef’s inattentiveness to detail, even a poor choice of china, flatware, and decor.  But the food, they will insist, can’t possibly be the problem.

And so it now goes with the GOP, who – after what passes for thoughtful introspection and intelligent discussion among its PTB (cue laugh track here) – have determined that the fare they are selling to the voting public is as tasty and nutritious as ever, and the lack of loyal customers is simply a matter of failing to promote the same old/same old menu items they’ve offered up for decades.

“It’s not the platform of the party that’s the issue,” stated Reince Priebus, the recently thawed-and-reheated RNC chairman.  “In many cases, it’s how we communicate about it.  It is a couple dumb things that people have said.”

No offense to Mr. Priebus – who is probably no better at math than he is winning elections – but by my count, the dumb things said by Republicans during last year’s presidential campaign alone numbers in the hundreds.  And “dumb” hardly describes some of the statements made, which were more in the category of baseless, fact-free, easily debunked lies, with a side order of bullshit.  But to be fair, the bullshit is always served on an all-you-can-eat basis, offered up on pristine white china that may be old and cracked, but deemed still serviceable by management.

“We don’t need a new pair of shoes; we just need to shine our shoes,” opined West Virginia national committeewoman Melody Potter, the idea being that if you serve shit sandwiches on carefully polished plates, the world will beat a path to your deli counter.

Of course, the Republican party’s strict rule has always been no shoes, no shirt = no service, and the shoeless and shirtless (i.e. women, minorities, welfare and food-stamp recipients, veterans, the disabled, the homeless, the sick, etc.) have traditionally been turned away due to a lack of available seating, while “Reserved for Old White Men” placards grace every table.

“The principles are sound,” said former RNC chairman, Mike Duncan. “Enlarging the map means reaching out to a lot more people and having a consistent dialogue with those people… It’s inviting them in. It’s communicating with them in the proper forums: it’s not just language but where they’re reading. It’s explaining the values to them.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket, Mike.  It’s time to start inviting in the very people the GOP has dismissed as takers-not-makers, parasites whose only sustenance comes from suckling at the government teat, the minorities who have been told their place is in the kitchen scrubbing pots, and the women who have been permitted to dine alongside their male counterparts so long as they STFU and allow the men to not only dominate the dinner conversation, but choose which menu items the ladies will be allowed to eat.

“We can stand by our timeless principles and articulate them in ways that are modern, relevant to our time and relatable to the majority of voters,” said Priebus.  “That, I believe, is how we’ll achieve a Republican renewal.”

Despite the GOP’s claims that they only need some new signage out front and a more pleasing font on the menus, the fact remains that the “principles” they believe they should be explaining to the citizenry are not principles at all.  They are the same long-held policies – on everything from immigration to healthcare, from education to a woman’s right-to-choose – that are so far past their expiry date, they are not only unpalatable; they are likely to cause ptomaine poisoning.

“When it comes to young people, when it comes to new African-American leaders, Hispanic leaders, we really have done an incredible job over the last few years,” Preibus continued.  “We’ve just done a lousy job bragging about it.”

Yes, Reince, you’re right.  You should be doing a lot more bragging about how the African-American and Hispanic voters couldn’t wait to be served at the Democratic Diner down the street rather than chow down on your piss-poor fare – served pipin’ hot from the garbage bin in the back alley behind the Repub Restaurant, with some chitlin’s and jalapenos thrown into the heap just to lure “those no-account coloreds” into supporting  the party that cares nothing about their interests, but is more than willing to pretend to do so in order to garner votes.

Well, in the spirit of bipartisanship, allow me to offer the GOP a few serving suggestions that might assist in their bound-to-be-fruitless attempt to reach out to voters:

The diners you consistently threw out of your eateries for years are not about to suddenly line up at your door, especially when you’re flogging the same old past-its-best-before-date menu items as nouvelle cuisine.

No matter how you frame it, phrase it, fold, spindle and/or mutilate it, the fact remains that no amount of ‘splaining is ever going to convince a pro-choice woman that her access to birth-control or an abortion should be left to the whims of religious fanatics.  Regardless of how hard you try to dress mutton as lamb, there is nothing that will convince the very people you have ignored, insulted and dismissed out-of-hand that what you’re offering is a substantial meal – and not the usual lip service when it comes to defending their rights.

There is nothing you can say that will explain away the ignorance, hypocrisy and downright lies your party has been dishing up for years, served with all the cold, greasy fixin’s only low-IQ voters would even attempt to partake of.  There are no words that will persuade anyone with a modicum of intelligence that the “dumb things” spewed by countless Republicans, and their on-air mouthpieces like Limbaugh, Coulter and the idiots who populate Fox News, are not completely reflective of the stupidity of your party and its leaders.

Discerning palates know the difference between fresh product and decades-old leftovers – defrosted when convenient, and popped into the microwave when politically expedient.  The well-informed know the difference between filet mignon and pig-slop, and aren’t fooled by those who equate one with the other – any more than they are taken-in by phrases like “good family values” or “Christian morals,” prepared by chefs who have neither.

For the GOP powers-that-be to insist that their fare is perfect as-is and just needs better advertising is, to put it mildly, as funny as a stomach-pump, and just as distasteful.

As long as Republicans continue to believe that their old white men know whereof they speak – and continue to stand, immovable and totally unapologetic, behind that dish – the Democrats can rest assured that their all-inclusive menu will continue to attract a wide range of customers, recognized for their contribution to the nation’s table, openly invited to share in the diversity of cuisine that only the Democratic palate can savor and appreciate.

Despite all claims to the contrary, the GOP menu continues to be what it always has been, and always will be: a bland concoction of tasteless, unrecognizable edible-oil-processed cheese-food-product heaped on stale white toast, served grudgingly by wait staff who don’t know the difference between a ham sandwich and a ham-fisted attempt to pass off  bigotry and stupidity as some form of new-found patriotism.

In closing, my final piece of advice to the Republicans would be this:  Get yourselves some well-designed “Out of Business” signs.  I’ve no doubt you’ll get your money’s worth from the investment.