Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pudding wrestling, the Antichrist and the breakdown of a winnowing system

Brian (who blogs on television and society at Ultrasonic Remote) sent the following example of winnowing processes gone awry by the always sharp Gail Collins. Collins seems to doubt that the GOP primaries are selecting their strongest candidates:
Pretend you’re the Republican leadership in a smallish state with an open United States Senate seat. The opposition is running a popular, longtime officeholder whose sense of inevitability was shaken by recent revelations that he had referred to himself as a Vietnam War veteran when he isn’t one.

Your own options are:

A) A well regarded former congressman who is a decorated Vietnam War veteran.

B) A political novice who made her fortune building up an entertainment business that specialized in blood, seminaked women and scripted subplots featuring rape, adultery and familial violence. In which the candidate, her husband and children played themselves. Also, the family yacht is named Sexy Bitch.

Well, obviously, you go for the yacht owner.

Yes, this week the Connecticut Republican Party chose Linda McMahon, the former C.E.O. of World Wrestling Entertainment, to be their Senate candidate. Her main opponent, the former Representative Rob Simmons, packed up his war medals and went home.

“You can’t argue with arithmetic,” he told The New London Day.

The math in question is $50 million, the amount McMahon claimed she was prepared to spend on her campaign. Connecticut has just under two million registered voters, so maybe she’ll just invite everybody in the state to a nice dinner at Red Lobster.

So far this season, the Republicans have offered two new models of their future. One is the Tea Party vision, in which outsiders full of spirit and excitement overthrow the old order. In North Carolina, there was so much spirit and excitement that voters gave the top spot in a Congressional primary to a former drug addict who, according to court documents, once referred to the United States government as the Antichrist and claimed to have personally located the Ark of the Covenant.


“One good thing has come from her run: Vince McMahon putting out an edict that there will no longer be any cutting of your foreheads with razor blades,” said Superstar Billy Graham, a retired wrestler who contracted hepatitis from a bloody competitor. “He has actually stopped wrestlers from cutting their heads with razor blades. This is a big deal!”

Still going better than California.

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