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Wait, Wait, and The Party of the Psychotic No

The Republican Party needs an intervention.


When a comedy news quiz show makes them apoplectic with rage, I worry that their stressors to try and remain relevant – big movie trailer voice here – “in a world where only 20% of the people identify with them …” are overloaded to the breaking point.

As a recent mini-stroke survivor, I’ve become evangelical about diet, exercise, and reducing stress. I’ve lost 50 pounds since November. I exercise and run four-to-six times weekly and, being on a strict, medically supervised program at 51, feel fitter and healthier than at any other time in my life.

By contrast, Republicans are overloading on Cheetos, moose burgers and Red Bull. They need to seriously chill.

Headlines abound with them lining up to defeat President Obama’s as yet-unnamed Supreme Court nominee to replace David Souter. Former vice president Dick Cheney will not shut up over torture, thus creating the impression he is either completely deranged or embarking on a defense strategy so brazen as to actually think he has backed Team Obama into a corner, daring them to prosecute him.

While I normally enjoy indulging the paranoid fantasies of the American Right, this could be a sign an intervention may be needed.

The right wing blog burst a vein behind their eyes yesterday when Obama senior advisor David Axelrod joked that he was not involved in the Obama family selection of Bo the dog until the final three. His vote was to name the dog Miss California – she of the “opposite marriage” pageant blunder who’s now more famous than any 10 major policy Administration announcements.

The actual Miss USA pageant winner – Quick can you name her? The answer is at the end of the post and you need more than just the state. No Googling! – seems to be in the Witness Protection Program because of the headline-grabbing Carrie Prejean. Her globally covered press conference this week with “The Donald” was broadcast live around the world as we all clung to the edge of our seats worrying if the poor thing would keep her title.

Was it ever really in doubt? Trump loves attention and on Larry King Live he boasted of the new pageant contract with NBC and the fact that the next Miss California pageant won a national cable television contract for the first time ever. As graduates of his PR school understand his philosophy is “call me anything you want, just spell the name T-R-U-M-P.”

Prejean was thrown into the deep end of the pool by Perez Hilton three weeks ago and, like a true media Jedi knight, she learned how to use the medium. She’s even learned a trick or two from politicians. The excuse, “the deceitful cameraman caught my titties in a sudden burst of wind” was classic political doublespeak. Divert attention from your own behaviour and call out the media or opposition in a giant plot.

Democratic Plot Exposed!
Axelrod’s quiz answer evoked hilarious laughter, a sheepish grin from the Puckish bad boy and complete outrage from the right! Let’s look at what exactly are they so upset about.


National Public Radio has a weekly quiz show in Chicago called "Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me." Every Sunday morning the podcast arrives in my iTunes mailbox and I spend an hour on the treadmill at the gym laughing at the brilliant writing built around the week’s news headlines.

This week, the program took a road trip to the campus of George Washington University. Wait, Wait opened a Twitter account recently @waitwait and asked for questions from their audience for Axelrod in advance.

This show is ubiquitous in Chicago, so much so that even Senator Obama was a guest answering questions from host Peter Sagal. Show announcer Carl Kassell has become an iconic cult hero as call-in players compete weekly to win public radio’s prize of prizes, Carl’s voice giving the welcome recording on their home answering machine - something I am still seeking if only they would call Wales and let me play.

Carl is the perfect radio foil for Peter as he reads limericks, creates news category questions, participates in the weekly News Quiz “Who’s Carl this Time?” and other bits of news frivolity. The programme has singularly re-ignited the comedy careers of Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca, P.J. O’Rourke, Roy Blount, Jr., Tom Bodett and others as frequent celebrity guest panellists.

So here’s how bad the Axelrod drama actually was!

PETER SAGAL, HOST: So, let’s take the President’s dog. Obviously, that was focus-grouped, you really wanted to appeal to the Portuguese-American community with the choice. Seriously, do you, is it part of your job to worry about that, how things will play politically. How they’ll look, how they should be framed?

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DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: I only, I only got called in for the final three on the dog.

SAGAL: Really?

AXELROD: I wasn’t there at the beginning of the process.

SAGAL: Seriously, were you consulted?

AXELROD: I was not consulted.

SAGAL: Really?

AXELROD: I was not consulted.

SAGAL: Really?


MO ROCCA: But who were the other two? Were there really two others?

AXELROD: One was Miss California. (Audience applause and laughter)

SAGAL: Dude, you just lost the carelessly topless demographic for 2012.

It was this that sent the right wing blogosphere nuts. Here’s a word of advice: Republicans, if your party ever wants to come in from w-a-a-y out of the wilderness, you need to lighten up, suck it up and shut the hell up for at least a few weeks while you figure out your strategy or your numbers will drop to the teens.


While that prospect would normally excite most progressives, I want the benefit of two-party debate and discussion like in the good old days of 25 years ago when we had something called a political middle ground. Wait, wait.

Oh. Did you know the answer to who is the reigning Miss USA? She is Kristen Dalton of North Carolina.

Denis Campbell

Denis Campbell publishes the e-magazine, where this article first appeared.