So, it was the summer of 2008 and I was on vacation with my abundant (read "annoying") family at a Republican retreat outside Phoenix when I walked past an open door in my hotel and got all warm inside thinking I heard my young nephew yelling out "Uncle! Uncle!" Trouble was, when I turned back, it wasn't my nephew yelling at me, it was actually John McCain on the phone screaming "Uncle! Uncle!" to Barack Obama. Now, sure, it was July in the desert so whether some version of this event really transpired or it was just a goddamnit-my-brain's-melting-induced complete fantasy I'll have to leave to the few in my family who'd recognized "It may be 120 but it's a dry 120" as the gold-plated tourist BS it was (and still is) and had seen something before they'd gotten the hell out of Arizona and back to Death Valley or wherever the hell else it was sure to be cooler with their memories more intact.
But looking back, it probably wasn't a total hallucination as I also recall finding a very real and quite pissed-off Mitt Romney sulking around the pool (his "sulking" performances are quite good these days if you've missed them; the resentful ones, Oscar worthy) 'cause he didn't get the nomination that year not really understanding the honor doesn't automatically go to the guy who has a lifetime of really, really good grooming. Sadly, being the Republican George Hamilton hadn't been enough for him that year or in 2012 when he could've at least beaten Trump (at something) for being the first prez to deliver a personal tanning bed into the WH executive bedroom (my God, retrospectively, I bet that kills him).
Imagined or not, these "memories" only really matter 'cause they fuse together a theme I vividly remember even twelve years later: Republicans being crap, weak candidates and losing. So many times you could easily see clear passage to an R presidential win but still we'd wind up delivered to a level of hell Dante's down elevator hadn't ever ventured to before. "Sure, Senator McCain, fly back to DC and demonstrate for everyone your financial skills in the middle of the Great Recession" (which were, as it turned out, just about the same as folks whose pics wound up landing in the "Lottery Winners Who Committed Suicide" coffee-table book) when all people really needed from you was a few verbal grenades tossed at Saddam or Muammar or maybe a particularly good "war arm" wave to remind folks how you went to Vietnam while Obama was perfecting the art of the couch potato to win.
And Mitt? If you wind up in a presidential debate again (ha! I just had to disable my Mac's new "stupid, ridiculous crap" auto-delete function as it wouldn't stop attacking this concept), just remember this one protocol that exists in all polite contests of this sort: THE MODERATOR SHUTS THE HELL UP AFTER ASKING THE QUESTION!! You might've wanted to argue that while Candy Crowley was emasculating you in front of the entire globe and costing you the election last time.
But why is it we Republicans always produce such Champions League invertebrates? I tried approaching Rick Santorum, John Kasich and Jeb Bush for comment but even with the collective backbones of a single mollusk none of them could make their way under a door to spin why my premise was false. Sadly, the truth is, that just like one of my crappy NY Mets seasons that simply bleeds into the next, the atrophying of a real Republican fighting spirit continues each year with the regularity of fourth- and fifth-generation Kennedys trying to make a political splash and going ass up instead. Sadly, it's just become habit for Rs to be pusses.
So, as we approach this seminal election where the Dem opposition seeks to destroy our entire system and the values we've cherished for almost a quarter millennium (and by "destroy" I mean --remember the vids of how they'd bring down all the old-school high-rise Vegas hotels turning ones like the Stardust into simply... "dust?"; they wanna bring us down that), maybe some Rs might want to channel their inner-Trump and forget inclinations to be polite and ponder what these highly motivated jag-off Jacobins might be capable of doing to win this contest given they weren't too shy over the past three years to:
1) Steal their own primary from one of their own candidates in 2016 (Part Deux having just run in theaters).
2) Accuse a Supreme Court nominee of serial, gang, drunken rape with zippo evidence but only in front of his two adolescent daughters and on global TV. Every night for a week.
3) Demonstrate to the world one can study, work and apply oneself to reach the zenith of American business and political life and still suffer the unrelenting bloodlust of an immoral party that'll fabricate impeachment charges against you 'cause you had the temerity to beat their best-buds-with-Harvey-Weinstein-and-Jeffrey-Epstein (that's right, both of 'em) candidate in 2016.
In other words, this time around we need to find a way to go Dresden on these republic-be-damned-we-just-want-power decency abolitionists and refusing to make eye contact in the congressional dining room doesn't do it. Calling them "prevaricators" after they've appeared on Meet the Press (and flat-out lied about us) or sliding into one of them spikes up at the annual congressional baseball game ain't enough either. For Chrissakes, we have to remember these guys came this close just 3-1/2 years ago to convincing the world we needed to conspire with the Commie Grand Poobah to defeat the most vile American presidential candidate in history. So, let's take the light at the end of the tunnel seriously this time knowing to blow it again means R irrelevance (three "coulda-been, shoulda-been" loses in four elections). A choke so big Bill Buckner will send us a check. And during it all (let's not get cocky) let's finally steel ourselves knowing our weak candidates are finally in the past and for once, FOR ONCE, the Dem-plorables seem to have the sacrificial lamb. It's them who have the I-can't-believe-it's-true-but-it-is-(it-is!)-true-they're-really-running-that-guy candidate we've been waiting years for. That's right, while we were biding our time, now it's BIDEN time!