Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Regional Misadventures of Some Republican Candidates

Two stories I think are entertaining. One concerns Sam Brownback, inexplicably "fumbling" (you'll see why that's an awesome joke in a second) a chance to score with Wisconsin voters. The other involves Rudy Guiliani, and how he continues to be nationally favored in spite of being locally reviled.

The Kansan and Wisconsin
My mom's side of the family is from Wisconsin. In their fierce devotion to the Green Bay Packers as a team and Brett Favre as a quarterback, I think they're representative of Wisconsinites generally. It made me laugh, then, to read about Sam Brownback's campaign problem in Wisconsin today.

According to, the (very) conservative Republican tried using a football metaphor to describe his notion of the importance of conservative family values:

This is fundamental blocking and tackling.

Okay that's silly, but he knows they're football fans up there so he's trying. He gets in to trouble extending the metaphor:

This is your line in football. If you don't have a line, how many passes can Peyton Manning complete? Greatest quarterback, maybe, in NFL history.

Whoever researched "Wisconsin" for him didn't get far enough to realize that, yes, they like football, but they worship the Green Bay Packers. The crowd started booing him, and he apologized. Given a second chance, though, he tried connecting with the locals by name-dropping Packer Hall of Fame Quarterback Bart Starr. That doesn't work out, either. So, Brownback had to punt and get off the field, as it were.

Let's take Favre then... The Packers are great. I'm sorry. How many passes does he complete without a line?... [Heckling from the audience]... I'm not sure how I recover from this... My point is we've got to rebuild the family. I'll get off this.

I would love to see video of this fiasco.

The New Yorker and the Rest of the Country
The latest issue of Vanity Fair (June 2007) has an article by Michael Wolff. Wolff is writing about how the people who knew or followed Guiliani in New York City (prior to 9/11/2001) are completely incredulous at his national popularity because the guy was such a corrupt lunatic as mayor. There's a lot of stuff in the article, Guiliani is described as "actually crazy," but the funniest part is this transcription of his side of a conversation on a radio show with a ferret owner about the city's ban on domesticated ferrets:

There is something deranged about you.… The excessive concern you have for ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist.… There is something really, really very sad about you.… This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.… You should go consult a psychologist.… Your compulsion about—your excessive concern with it is a sign that there is something wrong in your personality.… You have a sickness, and I know it's hard for you to accept that.… You need help.


Fox said...

Whenever I see a politician heading towards a sports or pop culture analogy, I grab the armrests and thing "please don't, pleeeease stop now!". They almost always never work.

bryan h. said...

I agree. I shouldn't make fun of someone else's bad luck or public speaking abilities but I think there's also something condescending about such metaphors. "My political positions are too sophisticated for you midwesterners, so let me put it in terms you'll understand." On the other hand, though, I guess the sports and pop culture make it more interestin for the speaker and the audience. Still, Brownback didn't even have to say anything political; he would have gotten a standing ovation in Wisconsin just for saying "Brett Favre." That's a big thing to get wrong.