No senator left behind, plus hectoring the converted

It’s so cute how Republicans and Democrats fight over an independent like myself. The bickering however makes me feel less like the prettiest girl at the prom and more like the kid in a custody battle.

Along with all the e-mails I get from both parties I also receive a lot of paper mail, mostly in the form of surveys. On the survey front the Republicans are the more aggressive - I’ve received two in the last two weeks. My original intention for tossing my address their way was to get a good idea of how both sides are thinking. Predictably the thinking has become exhausting, so I wind up throwing most of the mail away before reading it. Maybe it was the nice weather or the extra hour from leaving work early, but the survey du jour actually made it out of the envelope.

You have been given a tremendous responsibility today. You are among a select (emphasis theirs) group of Republicans chosen to participate in this high priority Republican Senate Leadership Survey . . . (inappropriate ellipses theirs)

So high is the priority that we didn’t bother to find out if you actually are a Republican. I guess being young and Hispanic puts me high on the survey list. I don’t like responsibility, but who am I to argue with Elizabeth Dole and the NRSC? The first question is a hum-dinger: In general, are you pleased with the job President Bush is doing?

Not seeing an option for “Only so far as I’m pleased with the job Ken Lay did at Enron,” I went with the far less cynical “no.” The next question asked me to rank the importance of the usual talking points (unfortunately marksmanship was not one of the points). I chuckled at the thought of their reaction to a “not important” vote on the War on Terrorism (dig the capitalization - we swear, we can win this like WWII and make sure terrorism never happens again anywhere ever).

The first question under the heading “Economic Agenda” struck an odd chord.

Do you agree with liberal Democrats who want to reverse President Bush’s tax cuts? It’s the L-word! How can a Republican possibly say no when you use the L-word? The chord grew odder.

Should the Republican Party push for additional tax cuts to further stimulate the economy?

I guess tax cuts as economic stimulus is a foregone conclusion for the GOP, but the question still felt a tad leading. Simpler tax code, government-run health care (seriously, do you want THIS government in charge of your health?), foreign oil………… sorry, even recounting it made me drowsy. Do they need to create a survey for this? Here was a good one. Watch for the rockin’ good grammar at the beginning

As the world’s most powerful nation, President Bush (good, he can rule himself then) believes that the United States has a special responsibility to help make the world more secure. Do you support President Bush’s vision for protecting our nation that includes both opposing and preventing violence by terrorists and outlaw regimes, as well as fostering an era of good relations among the world’s great powers?

How can you possibly say no to that? It doesn’t actually mean anything. Besides, who has a better track record than Bush to foster an era of good relations among the world’s great powers? It’s obvious why so many people still aren’t catching the administration’s power of semantics - they treat their own constituents with the same condescension as everyone else. More loaded questions and questionable sentence structure:

Do you support President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” act - which is an absolute commitment to closing the achievement gap so every child can receive a quality education and the act is producing real results? (emphasis mine, run-on sentence theirs) How can I possibly not support it - it’s producing real results! And the clear, efficient prose was so convincing. Apparently the achievement gap is most pronounced at the NRSC. Seriously, try to diagram that sentence.

The survey goes on in much the same way. I wondered exactly how accurate a result they were hoping for with such leading questions. Then I woke up and realized that the purpose of the survey was just as likely to be a talking point mill, much like every press conference held by an administration official. That’s probably the only way to explain questions whose answers should be pretty obvious to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of conservative special interests.

No surprise that a survey from a political party should end with a suggested donation. My choices were to either participate in the survey and fork over the cash; not participate but return the survey and fork over the cash; or not participate, not donate, but return the survey along with $11 to “cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing my Survey.” Incidentally a giant Philly cheese steak at Jersey Mike’s runs about $8.99, plus tax and tip. Guess who’s getting $11 tomorrow.

Was Martin Lawrence not available?

Isaac Hayes apparently can’t take a joke. Tom Cruise is, well, you know. When exactly did John Travolta, the star of Battlefield Earth: A Sage of the Year 3000, become the sensible Scientologist in Hollywood? That all depends on your opinion of one of Travolta’s upcoming projects; he’ll play the role of Edna Turnblad in a remake of Hairspray, a role first played by draq queen Divine in the John Waters original.

Though I’ve rarely been a fan of John Waters’ mondoness, I understand that most of his movies have their own unique appeal that his fans hold closely to heart. His fans however are few no matter how loyal, and Waters’ attempts at mainstream success, Hairspray included, have been disappointing. I can only guess that the presence of Travolta and Queen Latifah - the only other actor currently attached to the project - plus the involvement of a more conventional director (Adam Shankman, whose credits include the most mainstream Cheaper by the Dozen 2) is meant to be a more reasonable entry for Waters to penetrate Hollywood proper.

Or (more likely) the potential of Travolta in curlers and a muumuu vamping through lines like, “It’s the times. They are a-changin’. Something’s blowing in the wind. Fetch me my diet pills, would you?” will prove to be another opportunity for Travolta to make yet another comeback.

I say if Travolta is aiming for something like courage in casting, let him take the Divine role in Pink Flamingos - that last scene (or most any other from the film - I’ll leave you the joy of searching if you know not of what I speak) will make everyone forget about his entire non-Pulp Fiction/Get Shorty oeuvre.