I have a great idea for a T-shirt, one that I feel captures the current situation in Colorado Springs, our wacky neighbor to the south. It's a picture of Ted Haggard, the shamed former head pastor of New Life Church, on all fours -- and mounted firmly behind Haggard is Focus on the Family lead singer James Dobson, in classic doggy-style fashion, just gay-fucking the brokeback right out of that mountain. They're both sweaty and rocking black leather chaps, with deranged, euphoric expressions on their faces, and Dobson's snorting a mound of meth off of Haggard's lower lumbar region. Above the entangled lovers appear these words: "Follow the Leader."
Because nothing's more fun than kicking a family-values bigot when he's down.
Unfortunately, practical matters -- such as how to produce a T-shirt -- completely escape me. As far as I know, T-shirts are grown on a farm somewhere in the Amazon and harvested by howler monkeys, the smartest of which courier the wares to America. So the best I can hope for is to find one of these monkeys chain-smoking outside the T-shirt shop before catching a plane back home, and convey my idea directly to him through shiny trinkets and dancing.
Fortunately, a few savvy shirt-smiths in Colorado Springs have their shirt together, and their "Let Ted Moo" model is selling like hotcakes to the leftist hipsterati down there. All five of them. The slogan is a play on a campaign this past summer that promoted Referendum I, which would have extended benefits and protections to same-sex couples. The ads featured a dog named Norman who'd moo instead of bark. It was just the way he was born, the ads explained: Let Norman Moo. Many people found the spots cute (you can still see them at www.borndifferent.org). But not Dobson. Focus on the Family responded with www.no-moo-lies.com, a "straight" puppy site with a pooch named Sherman, who barked as biology intended.
And then Ted Haggard, a close associate of Dobson's, started mooing.
At first, Dobson was going to be one of the triumvirate of pastors counseling Haggard out of the darkness and back into the light. But he's since backed off, distancing himself from the scandal. Because Dobson is a winner, goddammit, and as a winner, he cannot afford to be associated with any losers. Like the Republican Party.
"The unfortunate thing is that Republican leaders still don't appear to get it," Dobson sounded off after last week's elections, probably as he jerked off to kiddie porn. "Dick Armey emerged from four years in the wilderness to blame conservative Christians for Tuesday's defeat. They were, he said, 'too involved' with the party. He can't be serious! Someone should tell him that without the support of that specific constituency, John Kerry would be president and the Republicans would have fallen into a black hole in '04."
That's a ridiculous claim. Jeb Bush would never have allowed Kerry to be president.
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But there's much more at play here. The Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the conservative Christian batshits, while the conservative Christian batshits are trying to distance themselves from the Republicans! Mommy and Daddy are fighting! And just listen to what they're saying: Republicans have learned that they can't rely on Old Testament scripture to drive a 2006 agenda, and the crazy Christians are threatening to walk if the Republicans abandon those dysfunctional family values. It's kind of like how Britney and K-Fed are all, "This marriage ain't EVEN working out, and y'all just gonna have to choose which side you gonna be on." Meanwhile, all of America is like, "Britney and K-Fed, you want me to choose, you selfish halfwits? I'll tell you who I choose: Christina Aguilera. Her new album, Back to Basics, is the balls! And she's against the war in Iraq."
But Dobson isn't listening. As he droned on last week, he dropped this: "Values voters are not going to carry the water for the Republican Party if it ignores their deeply held convictions and beliefs."
Although I wanted to believe Dobson's threat, wanted to imagine a less ideological Republican Party and a distraught army of Focus on the Family cows marching in a different direction with no viable candidates, I had to remember that while the Republicans got served like the Colorado Buffaloes in the 2006 elections, so did gay rights. And then I realized that while this little squabble between the Christian right and the Republicans is absolutely adorable, it will not be a long-lasting separation. Because they're all part of one big, unhappy family.
But it sure will be fun while it lasts.