It’s a legitimate question.  Short answer:  Because I agreed with him enough of the time that I was willing to put up with a lot of crap I didn’t like.  “Put up with” in this case = eye-rolling and deep-breathing exercises, as opposed to face-punching.

It’s like what happened this morning when I came downstairs and found the remnants of my husband’s midnight snacking on the floor by the family room couch.  I really don’t mind so much that my husband eats on the family room couch.  I’m not a couch nazi.  I just wish he’d put the stuff away afterward.  Today actually wasn’t so bad.  Not like when he eats Runts and Lemonheads in the middle of the night and leaves the still-half-full bag out where Elvis can find it in the morning and finish it off before breakfast.  But I digress.  I would really prefer that my husband didn’t do that stuff, but I’m not going to punch him in the face over it because we’ve never actually had a deal that he wouldn’t eat on the couch and leave the dirty dishes and leftover food on the floor, and at least he’s not drinking heavily in the night and leaving the empties and the still-half-full beer cans and vodka bottles out where Elvis can find them and finish them off before breakfast.  That wouldn’t do at all–not only because it’s irresponsible but because when you marry a Mormon guy, you have the right to expect that he won’t drink at all, let alone heavily, and on the sofa to boot.

That’s George W. Bush, eating bagels and prosciutto on the couch at midnight, maybe downing a bottle of Perrier and not cleaning up after himself.  Annoying, but I married him.  And he’s very good with the children.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, came knocking at my door last November, promising not only that he would eat full meals on my family room sofa, but that he would also drink heavily and relieve himself on my kitchen table.  Also, he intended to buy a dog.  I was not down with that.  Some women are, and that’s fine–totally not my business–but it wasn’t for me.

It’s not a perfect analogy.  But I enjoyed writing it.

The thing is, George W. Bush was never a small-government conservative.  He talked about smaller government, occasionally, but from the beginning he sold himself as a “compassionate conservative,” which being translated means “big-but-not-too-big government conservative.”  From my perspective Bush’s fatal flaw was that he thought he could stave off accusations of cold-hearted evil if he spent enough money on social programs to prove that he wasn’t one of those meanie-head Republicans who want Grandma to eat cat food and lose her foot to diabetes because she has no health insurance.  What he didn’t seem to get was that when it comes to spending money on social programs, there’s no such thing as “enough.”  Never.  This is doubly true if you’re cutting taxes while simultaneously spending.  That’s just irresponsible, not only because it makes for a pretty deficit but because that money that’s being kept by people who earned it really ought to be going to entitlement programs instead.  There’s just no excuse for that kind of behavior–unless you’re married to an enabler like me, who says, “Well, at least he’s not relieving himself on the kitchen table.”

I’ve been accused of having low standards.  I don’t deny it.

To go back to imperfect analogies, let the election of Barack Obama be likened unto a banquet, where 53 percent of those in attendance are meat-eaters and the other 47 percent are vegetarians.  Some vegetarians are stricter than others.  Ron Paul, for example, is a vegan who only eats raw food.  John McCain eats eggs and cheese (lots of cheese).  Orrin Hatch stays away from red meat but likes to indulge himself in some wild salmon every so often–he especially likes the way Ted Kennedy prepares it, with lemon-butter and basil, very tasty (if not technically vegetarian).  Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins eat chicken, pork and beef, but they still sit with the vegetarians because…well, no one knows why, but they do.

Anyway, Barack Obama is taking everyone to dinner–not just members of Congress, but all the American people.  The vegetarians really don’t want to be there because it’s a steakhouse–not a surprising choice of venue, as Barack Obama has oft declared his love of steak–but all the other restaurants have closed and the vegetarians have no choice, so there they sit, all sullen and contrary.  A few talk about going on a hunger strike, but they’re just making noise (except for Ron Paul and his friends, who insist they can survive on the vitamins and minerals in the table cloth–mostly we ignore them).

Pres. Obama has taken the liberty of ordering for everyone, and surprise! we’re all having steak.  Not just any steak, but filet mignon, and not just a little filet mignon, but 72-ounce filet mignons.  You didn’t even know they made filet mignons that big, but they do and there they are.  A small but not insignificant portion of the meat-eaters say, “Woah, that’s quite a bit of meat, isn’t it?  I really didn’t want this much meat.  Actually, I’m not all that fond of beef in the first place.  Don’t they serve chicken here?  I thought Pres. Obama was going to order us all a nice roasted chicken breast.  I like chicken.  Why didn’t you order chicken, Mr. President?  I could have sworn you said during the campaign that you didn’t eat red meat.  What gives?”

At this point one of the vegetarians stands up and screams, “SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!  HE NEVER SAID ANY SUCH THING!  HE’S A STEAK EATER, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A STEAK EATER AND HE PROMISED TO ORDER US ALL STEAK JUST AS SOON AS HE GOT ELECTED, AND HERE HE IS DOING IT, JUST LIKE HE SAID HE WOULD, AND YOU’RE COMPLAINING!  WORSE THAN COMPLAINING, YOU’RE SURPRISED!  IT’S YOUR FAULT THAT ALL THESE COWS HAD TO DIE, YOU PATHETIC CHICKEN-LOVERS!  DAMN YOU!  DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!”

After the hysterical vegetarian is escorted from the building and order is restored, Pres. Obama says, “Look, I inherited these dead cows from George W. Bush.  So naturally I decided to slaughter a trillion more cows so that we could at least get a decent meal in this country, for once.  Not because I believe animals should be killed for food–I don’t!”

At this point the vegetarian who was previously escorted from the building breaks back into the building to scream, “WHAT THE HELL IS HE TALKING ABOUT?  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?  IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!  SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY–GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!  DON’T TASE ME, BRO!”

(And let’s just say there are no further interruptions from that vegetarian, and get on with our silly analogy.)

“So,” Pres. Obama continues, “as you can see, the 72-ounce filet mignons were really the only way to go.  I mean, if we’re going to do this thing, let’s do it right.”

At this point one of the meat-eaters says, “Well, not that I don’t appreciate this very large filet mignon, Mr. President–it’s awesome–but I think what is really needed is a 120-ounce filet mignon.”

VEGETARIAN #1:  That’s ridiculous!  Seventy-two ounces of filet mignon is bad enough.  I can already feel my arteries clogging, and I’m not even planning to eat this awful carcass.  Just having it here on my plate is making me ill.

MEAT-EATER #1:  Yeah, whatever.  We didn’t hear you complaining when George Bush was frying up chitlins for breakfast.

RON PAUL (inaudible, as no one’s listening to him):  I complained!  Chitlins are unconstitutional!

JOHN MCCAIN:  I never ate those chitlins.  Not a single chitlin, not once in my 27 years in the Senate.

ORRIN HATCH:  Look, none of us approves of chitlins, but sometimes you have to fry up some chitlins if you’re going to make a hash.

VEGETARIAN #2:  What does that even mean?

OLYMPIA SNOWE:  Those vegetarians who opposed the chitlins were just being unrealistic.

VEGETARIANS #3-16:  Shut up!

BARACK OBAMA (tapping his glass with a spoon):  Now, now, everyone just calm down.  Obviously the vegetarians are upset because they don’t enjoy food and don’t think anyone else should either.  They would have us believe that this dinner isn’t necessary.

VEGETARIAN #17:  That’s not what we’re saying at all.

RON PAUL:  It’s what I’m saying!

BARACK OBAMA (ignoring everyone):  Some would have us believe that it’s impossible to eat meat while simultaneously embracing vegetarianism.  I reject that false choice.

RANDOM VEGETARIANS (murmuring):  What the hell…?

MEAT-EATER #2:  Hear, hear!  It’s about time we had someone in office who understands the complexity of these issues.

MEAT-EATER #3:  Speaking of complexity, would it be possible to get my steak wrapped in bacon?

BARACK OBAMA:  Just be patient, we’ll get to the bacon.

VEGETARIAN #18:  And now he’s promising bacon!

BARACK OBAMA:  Now hold on, I did no such thing.  Garcon!  More bacon, please!

VEGETARIAN #19:  He did it, he just ordered bacon.

MEAT-EATERS #4-27:  He did not, you fascist!

BARACK OBAMA:  So as I was saying, it is absolutely crucial that we start eating this meal as soon as possible, so that we can digest it and get our gastro-intestinal systems working properly again.

VEGETARIAN #20:  We’re never going to be able to digest this meal!  Our grandchildren will have to digest it for us!

BARACK OBAMA:  Don’t believe everything Rush Limbaugh says.  If you start eating now, it will be fully digested by dessert.  I hope you’re all saving room for dessert.

RANDOM MURMURINGS FROM VEGETARIANS AND MEAT-EATERS ALIKE:  Did he say “saving”?!?

RON PAUL:  Dessert is unconstitutional!

VEGETARIAN #21:  Look, I get it, you’ve already slaughtered the cows.  The steak is on the table.  But could we at least have a vegetable to go with it?

BARACK OBAMA:  You have vegetables.  Every steak comes with a baked potato.

VEGETARIAN #22:  Well, technically, potato is a starch–

BARACK OBAMA:  Perhaps you’d prefer corn on the cob.  Garcon!

VEGETARIAN #22:  Well, actually–

VEGETARIAN #23:  Are we still talking about complexity?  Because I could go for a complex carbohydrate about now.  Maybe some whole-wheat dinner rolls…

MEAT-EATERS (in unison):  Food snob!

VEGETARIAN #24:  Seriously, what happened to the arugula?

You know, I just realized that I could go on like this forever, and the reason is that I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.  So I’m going to eat some cereal.  After that, I will probably not be in the mood to discuss politics or food.

Advertisements