The Republican candidates for president have been tearing up the airwaves these last few months with debate after debate, bringing a plateful of entertainment to reality TV’s normal menu. Political fisticuffs have always been fun viewing, whether it’s watching the old black-and-white clips of Nixon and Kennedy where Nixon’s 5 o’clock shadow appears to be growing right before your eyes, to the match-up of Joe Biden and Sarah Palin four years ago, a competition full of anticipation not seen since Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding prepared to duke it out on the Olympic ice.
But voters are admittedly getting a little weary of politicians in boring suits standing shoulder to shoulder, with the same questions coming from commentators. Illegal immigration, blah, blah, blah; growing national deficit, ho-hum; a nuclear Iran, so what? At this stage of the game things need a little shake-up and where better to go for ideas than the actual reality shows?
So, who do you think would do the best pasodoble on “Dancing With the Pols?” Don’t we want a commander-in-chief who could spin Angela Merkel around the dance floor and perhaps do a couple of overhead lifts? I’m thinking Newt, chubby as he is, could nonetheless do a cartwheel reminiscent of Jackie Gleason and Ron Paul looks like a waltz kind of guy.
Not into dancing? Well, how about “What Not to Swear?”
This reality show would look not at the faux pas of wearing white shoes after Labor Day, but instead examine the flip-flops (OK, we still have a fashion theme going) of the candidates. Think Mitt and his swearing to help people battle the health insurance monster when he was governor in Massachusetts, but today calling for a dismantling of Obama’s healthcare plan.
Borrowing from yet another reality show involving clothing, we could have a campaign season of “Say Yes to the Press.” This would be a little like the Sunday morning news shows but in between the weighty discussions of winding up the war in Afghanistan or whether a pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is a good idea, what do the candidates prefer in a wedding dress — a mermaid style, or a ball gown? A tiara or a simple veil?
“Cupcake Wars — the Race to the White House Edition,” would have the candidates strategizing military scenarios on a table using cupcakes to represent the armies of various countries. Red velvet would be the Russians, lemon with a key lime filling represents an uprising in the Caribbean and a cupcake featuring milk and honey would be Israel, contemplating a strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
The Food Network is ripe with other possible rip-offs. “Chopped” is a special favorite of mine where contestants are provided with a series of baskets containing secret ingredients that they have to use to prepare an appetizer, entree and dessert. I can see the baskets containing situations that the candidates have to work with in order to keep the country running.
“Chopped” host Ted Allen will boom: “Please open your baskets. Inside you will find that a massive power outage has darkened the East Coast, the European Union has been dissolved, a scandal involving you and your kids’ nanny has been uncovered and the nation’s sportswriters are asking who you favor in the Super Bowl. You have 20 minutes to show us how you would get everything right or you will be chopped.”
Although at this point in the process I’m staying neutral on my choice for president, I can’t help but fantasize on the ultimate reality show should Newt Gingrich head to the Oval Office and follow through with his pledge for a moon community by the end of his second term. What a great place for “Survivor.”
— Nancy Luse is a free lance writer living in Frederick, Md. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.