Maybe it’s just the miasma of a Friday afternoon, but as I read Jake Sherman’s obscure piece in Politico today about the intense discussions among House Republicans concerning their agenda and message going forward, I kept getting the giggles. This line got me guffawing for real:
“I think that we need to make being fiscally conservative cool,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), chairwoman of the Administration Committee and a close ally of Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Wonder what that means? Hire a rapper? Finance a “fiscally conservative” TV sit-com, maybe a Family-Sitting-Around-the-Checkbook version of Two Broke Girls?
Then when my laughter subsided, I saw this graph:
According to a source present, one meeting in Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office featured GOP strategist Karl Rove floating a plan for every single Republican to give a floor speech on the same topic with the same message, in a bid to grab headlines.
If message discipline doesn’t work, there’s always message bondage, I guess. Now Rove has always reminded me of the geeky kid in the old Far Side cartoons who spent a lot of time frying insects with a magnifying glass. But the idea of the Boy Genius orchestrating identical speeches for House Republicans brought back a different memory: Thomas Pynchon’s novel The Crying of Lot 49, in which a character who had taken far too much LSD became obsessed with the idea of getting the whole world to simultaneously say the words: “Rich, Chocolatey Goodness,” after which God would appear or something.
I’ve never been a big fan of the idea that the basic task of political communications is to blot out all nuance and diversity and just hammer voters over the head with something so simple and artfully crafted they’d march to the polls in a state of rhetorical enchantment. But I’d far more likely vote for “rich, chocolatey goodness” than anything emanating from today’s House Republican Caucus.