No joy in Mudville for Red State conservatives

Red State/ Blue State • DAVE SIMPSON & GREG BEAN

Dear Greg: There’s no joy in Mudville for Red Staters these days, old friend, as even ardent supporters of John McCain predict big trouble come Election Day. I heard James Carville say of McCain the other day, “Stick a fawk in ‘im. He’s done.”

Try not to cackle, old friend. It doesn’t become you.

It’s time for you to bone up on being magnanimous in victory, like I was in 1984 when I was the only Reagan fan in the newsroom on election night. Remember that night, Greg? One of your liberal friends expressed wonder that I didn’t do an end-zone chicken dance when Reagan won 49 states. But I just wanted to avoid the tar and feathers, so I kept my trap shut.

I’ve read with interest your repeated attacks on Palin, and I’ve wondered if things would be different had McCain picked someone else to be his running mate. Given the financial crisis that has rocked Wall Street, Mitt Romney comes to mind, and I have to admit that prior to Palin, I was rooting for Romney.

But, as I recall, you called Romney “Willard” and were almost as dismissive of him as you have been of Palin. As I recall, you thought all of the Republicans were knuckleheads, and you had funny names for most of them. So, other than picking Barney Frank as his VP, there wasn’t anything McCain could have done to win your vote.

That said, let me tell you about something I read last week by Peggy Noonan, about a guy from your old hometown of Casper, Wyo.

No, Greg, relax. I’m not talking about Vice President Diabolo Beelzebub Lucifer Cheney, Root of All Evil. I’m talking about scrappy Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who it turns out was born in Casper.

Noonan quoted “the increasingly impressive” Coburn in her column last week, saying this about the financial meltdown:

“The root of the problem is political greed in Congress. Members … from both parties wanted short-term political credit for promoting homeownership even though they were putting our entire economy at risk by encouraging people to buy homes they couldn’t afford. Then, instead of conducting thorough oversight and correcting obvious problems with unstable entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, members of Congress chose to … distract themselves with unprecedented amounts of pork-barrel spending.”

Bottom line: They’re in it for themselves.

I don’t know why I admire plain-talking guys from Casper so much, but I just do, Greg, even you. Maybe smelling refineries in your formative years does something to enhance common sense.

As you can see, I’m working overtime to find the pony in the pile of manure during these dark days, and it might just be Casperite Tom Coburn. I’m sure you’ll find something awful about Coburn, but I think he’s dead right about the financial crisis.

I’m girding myself for whatever happens on election night, Greg, and thinking of my dream ticket for 2012: Palin/Hasselbeck.
Your old, undaunted pal,
Red State Dave

Dear Dave: You know, I looked up Sen. Tom Coburn, but on his official Web site it says nothing about him being from Casper. Another site mentioned that he’d been born in Casper, but I don’t get the sense he stuck around long.

Therefore, I’d give his Wyoming bona fides about the same credence I gave Sarah Palin claiming she had foreign policy experience because she could — maybe — see Russia from some undisclosed location in Alaska. In other words, close but no cigar.

I will practice being magnanimous in victory, old friend. And you won’t hear a single

neener, neener, neener from this corner.

But I do have a couple of observations, just for the sake of polite ( neener) discussion.

First, I am glad your buddy John McCain picked Sarah Palin and not Mitt (Willard) Romney (I wasn’t making fun of him when I called him Willard, because that’s his real name).

As you know, I have some trouble with Willard’s religious affiliation, having grown up in that same sect and developing some distinct ideological differences. That alone might have been a deal breaker for me, but I also thought you can’t trust the guy. He’s too much like John McCain for my money, flip-flopping like a beached carp and changing his stance depending on his audience. When he was running for governor of liberal Massachusetts, for example, his stance on choice was much more accommodating than when he was running for president and campaigning in the Red States.

I’m happy as a peach orchard bear at pickin’ time that John McCain drafted Sarah Palin and not Willard. If he had picked Willard, he might have stood a chance about winning this thing, but once he picked know-nothing Sarah, who can’t string a coherent sentence together, he was ready for James Carville’s fawk stickin’.

I’ll also note that I’m glad that in the last weeks of the campaign every time McCain spoke in front of a camera, he looked like he’d just swallowed a mouthful of lemon juice.

If he hadn’t come across as some grumpy old coot yelling at the neighbor kids to stay off his lawn — if he’d acted like the guy who showed up at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York on Oct. 16 and made everybody laugh — I think we’d be looking at a much closer outcome Nov. 2 than the one nearly everybody is predicting. (My favorite line in those speeches was from Obama, by the way, when he noted that from the doorstep of the Waldorf Astoria you can see all the way to the Russian Tea Room. McCain also made me laugh when he said, “I can’t shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me.” Dramatic pause. “I’m delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary.”)

As a matter of fact, this campaign would have been more bearable if both candidates had used a little humor (especially the self-deprecating kind) once in a while. Sort of like you and I do, except I’m much funnier.

You know, old friend, magnanimity isn’t so

easy, after all ( neener).

Your nearly ecstatic friend,
Blue State Greg