The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

Oct 2

As an addendum to your cogent and well-reasoned response to Michael questioning our support of the bailout, I'd just like to add that we're currently experiencing the negative corollary to Ronald Reagan's trickle-down economics, namely, shit rolls downhill. And not only does it roll downhill, it picks up speed as it goes. Speaking of shit, as the father of young children, you would know more about this than me, but it strikes me that the debate over the media training that Sarah Palin is currently undergoing is reminiscent of another kind of training, namely, learning how to go potty. With potty training, as you well know, there are different schools of thought. On the one hand, some experts declare that learning to use the toilet is part of a child's natural progression and they'll signal when they're ready by dropping their diapers on their own and taking a dump on the ficus in the corner. At that point, you break out the training toilet, and as long as you put it where the ficus used to be, you're probably good to go. The parallel with Palin is the "let Sarah be Sarah" crowd. Rather than bottling her up and only letting her out in public with an empty bladder and bowels, or a super-absorbent spin operation, just let her be herself. If she accidentally shits the rug or endorses Hamas, so be it. Then there's the crowd that embraces "infant toilet training." The theory, apparently, is that you need to condition the child through a rigorous process that you poop and pee during scheduled seat time and only during that seat time. The children are effectively trained to ignore their natural instinct to shit and piss whenever the mood strikes, and exercise some bowel/bladder discipline. Thus far, the McCain campaign has been utilizing this second method, sitting their VP candidate on the can for an extended cram session as she tries to force a lifetime's worth of geo-political knowledge under that up-do. The strain appears to be showing since every time she opens her mouth something worse than crap seems to come out. It's just like forcing potty training on a child too soon can cause them to actively fear the toilet and drive them to use that bucket you keep in the garage for used motor oil instead (Surprise!), Palin is possibly chaffing at being overhandled, and when it comes time to perform, she just lets out a couple of half-hearted grunts without any following splashdown. The new new strategy is apparently a combination of the two. We're going to let Palin loose, but only in places like Hugh Hewitt's program where the governor could drop a massive stink bomb and Hewitt would coo over it like it was precious treasure. This strikes me as probably the soundest strategy going forward. They can't hide her away completely, Cheney-style, but neither should they let her loose entirely. It's kind of like knowing the kids aren't ready to eat in public for fear of what they might do in that Olive Garden bottomless salad bowl, but you're more than willing to take them to grandma and grandpa's.

TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner

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