All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Electing Dinner Guests

Dinner parties are a favorite way to spend an evening. I enjoy getting together with friends, sharing a night of laughs, good food and good conversation. The best of these affairs is one that someone else has gone to the trouble of throwing. My job is simple, show up, eat, laugh and try my darnedest to win whatever game the hostess dreamt up.

Inevitably, what comes around goes around. Decisions need to be made. What are we serving, doing for entertainment, and who are we inviting? That last one is the hardest. Who to invite? If we have the Texan over, he’ll dominate the conversation with funny tales. If the Old Farts come, will we hear all about the latest bowel surgery?

The task of planning a dinner party isn’t complete until with perfect mix of guests is selected. Mostly the guest list is a fixed affair. If we have the Texan we invite the Plumber but never the Preacher and the Old Farts. The most tenuous decision in this process is including a new couple in the mix. Which group do we put them with, do we want them at all?

Every four years we throw a national dinner party. We don’t call it that. We call it the Presidential Election. We elect the President with the same criteria we use to pick dinner guests.

  • Eisenhower: everyone invites the pastor, it’s respectable

  • JFK: classy wife and you know he’d be a hoot

  • LBJ: occasionally you get a stinker

  • Richard M: a Republican that hangs with Teamsters, might be fun

  • Carter: after Tricky Dick, a gentlemanly farmer is a step up

  • Reagan: quick one liners, sharp wit, lots of laughs for an old guy

  • Bush I: Reagan’s quite friend, nice fellow

  • Clinton: Bubba, everyone's bass fishing and beer buddy

  • GWB: coffee shop pal, not banging the waitress, likes BBQ.

That, my friends, is how the greatest nation on earth selects its Chief Executive. It has nothing to do with policy, intelligence, or who the best man for the job is. We play a nation wide reality TV game. It’s like Bachelor or American Idol, it’s shrill, its caddy, and mud will be slung by contestants and audience members alike. Everyone knows the candidates are talent less whores, but you'll still pick one to hang with.

With the next dinner two years away, the professional party planners are gearing up to get their guest invited. That’s all precampaigning is, guest list talk. Will the Lizard Queen run? Cheney was the Old Fart, then he shot a lawyer, could be a contender. When it’s all said and done the next President will be as useless as tits on a NOW activist. The one thing he will be is a master of charades and other party games. Just like real life, the guest list is mostly a fixed affair.

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