Thursday, August 4, 2011

"The Perfect Candidate"

I can see this as a front-page headline, especially in a paper hostile to the president’s chances for re-election:

Poll Indicates Obama Can’t Beat Nobody

Though I am seriously skeptical about the polling process in general , I am certain that this poll is, at least currently, correct.

Obama can’t beat nobody.

Let’s go in for a close-up on this polling indication. When the headline asserts that “Obama Can’t Beat Nobody”, we are not dealing with a grammatical atrocity. The headline writer did not mean, as some lesser-educated partisan might opine,

“Dat boy caint beat nobody!”

Therein being disrespectful to the president by calling him “boy”, a particularly touchy descriptive to the African American half of the Commander-In-Chief’s composition. And therein claiming, incorrectly, that there’s nobody the sitting president would be able to beat.

That is not what that headline means, though it might offer false hope to detractors disinclined to go deeper. If they did, they would discover polling numbers, indicating that President Obama has a lead over all of the announced Republican candidates. But if the people who were polled were offered, as an alternative, a theoretical, “Generic Republican” candidate – as opposed to a specific, existing Republican candidates – then the president would lose.

“Generic Republican” is not an actual human being. It’s a “Generic Republican.” Call it, a “bookmark” candidate. The people polled are unhappy with Obama. If the Republicans nominated the right candidate, their responses suggest that a majority of them would vote for the Republican.

So who’s the right candidate?

The poll helps us narrow that down. Somewhat. The right candidate is not, the poll numbers suggest, any of the Republicans who have, to date, thrown their hats into the ring. I am not up to date on how many that is, half a dozen or so. The polls say those six, or so, candidates are not the guy. Or the gal.

The front-running Obama beater is somebody else. A fabrication labeled

The “Generic Republican.”

Or, in other words – when you’re talking about people who actually exist –


Hence, the headline:

“Obama Can’t Beat Nobody.”

He can beat everybody else, according to the poll.

But he can’t beat nobody.

He cannot defeat “Generic Republican.”

Why is “Generic Republican” so popular? Or at least more popular than the current Republican candidates, as well as the president?

Here’s why:

“Generic Republican” is not a Mormon.

“Generic Republican” never cheated on their spouse.:

“Generic Republican” was never a former governor or Congressperson with a record that can be held up to scrutiny.

“Generic Republican” has no prior strongly-held positions on which they subsequently flipped-flopped.

“Generic Republican” never mangled their history, by proclaiming that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to eradicate slavery.

“Generic Republican” does not have a half-million dollar rolling credit account at Tiffany’s.

“Generic Republican” never posted pictures of themselves on the Internet, decked out in the latest underwear ensemble from the Victoria’s Secret Holiday Collection.”

“Generic Republican” is not old, unattractive, short, bald, or suspiciously ethnic. “Generic Republican” does not speak with a lisp. “Generic Republican” is not a picky eater. “Generic Republican” has never said, “Macaca.”

“Generic Republican” has never done anything. So it’s impossible for them to have done anything wrong.

No wonder they’re so popular. What’s not to like about “Generic Republican”?

Hey, I’m a registered Democrat, and “Generic Republican” sounds pretty good to me.

What pops to mind is a line from a Jimmy Durante movie, where they’re discussing a new writer they’ve just hired for his show, and it’s suggested that the new writer is a genius.

“They’re all geniuses,” reports Durante, “until they write something. Then, they stink up the place.”

That’s why “Generic Republican” has not declared themselves as a candidate.

Why mess with what’s working right now?


angel said...

My apologies for asking this question here. I just saw Cowboys and Aliens and I wondered if you had and your thoughts on it. I immediately thought of you as I was watching it, since you are a BIG lover of Westerns. If you haven't seen it and don't intend to, carry on... :-)

Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; Mr. Durante may be a bit too old-timey for many blog readers but his assessment is spot on. We're all genius right up to the point we prove we're not. Even some geniuses.

-z said...

Thanks so much for this article, pretty useful material.