Once upon a time there was a lovely young co-ed called Goldilocks. She almost never read the newspaper because she couldn’t even get all the reading for her classes done, so when was she supposed to read the paper? She never watched TV news because what kind of loser watched the news when she could be watching re-runs of Sex and the City? She didn’t listen to radio news because who the hell listened to that besides her dad? Even her mom was cool enough to listen to music instead of all that yammering in the car.
But one day while Goldilocks was on Facebook, she stumbled onto a conversation about politics. Because one of the participants was this really hot guy in her sociology class, she decided to do a little web surfing outside her usual circuit of celebrity gossip and fashion sites so she could impress him. Here is what she learned:
There was one candidate who was way too rich. She found this quote from the candidate’s opponent on Politico:
Somebody asked John McCain, ‘How many houses do you have?’ And he said, I’m not sure. I’ll have to check with my staff. True quote: I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff …the answer is: John McCain has seven homes.
Nobody should be allowed to own seven houses when other people are homeless, Goldilocks decided. She would definitely not vote for Papa Bear.
There was another candidate who was just too low-class. She said things like “You betcha” and talked like those hicks in Fargo. Goldilocks found this post by Bob Cesca at the Huffington Post:
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is, by all indications, a bonafide hooplehead . . . she’s excusing her embarrassing television interviews and farcical candidacy as an historical breakthrough for “normal Joe Six-pack Americans.” . . . Do we really want a “normal Joe Six-pack American” sitting in the Oval Office?
Joe Sixpack indeed, said Goldilocks to herself. I don’t think so! She would not vote for Mama Bear either.
Then she found a candidate who liked arugula instead of beer, who shopped at Whole Foods instead of Wal-Mart but only owned one house. Sure, the house might have six bathrooms, but, well, at least it was only one house, right? Most of her girlfriends were going to vote for him, and more importantly, so was that hot guy in sociology. And speaking of hot, well, he was, sort of, if a guy in his forties can be hot. Anyway, hot or not, she had made up her mind: she would vote for Baby Bear.
When Goldilocks went home from college for a long weekend, she was excited about impressing her dad with how much she knew about politics. He ate, drank and breathed politics, and was always trying to get Goldilocks interested, but without success. Would he ever be surprised!
“So let’s get this straight,” her dad said. “John McCain with his seven houses is too rich to be president, but Sarah Palin with her white-trash, Joe-Sixpack family is too low class? We don’t want someone just like us but we don’t want someone who isn’t like us either, because he doesn’t understand where we’re coming from. Like George H. W. “Silver Foot in His Mouth” Bush, he doesn’t know the price of arugula at Whole Foods. Like John Kerry, he had the bad taste to choose an heiress for his second wife. Maybe a ketchup heiress is okay but a beer heiress isn’t. Or maybe it’s an older, plainer heiress that’s okay and a younger, sexier heiress that isn’t.”
Who is Joe Kerry, wondered Goldilocks, and what does ketchup have to do with any of this?
“There’s this very narrow band of ‘juuuuuust right’ between Six-Pack Sarah and Diamond John McCain,” her dad went on. “And thank God we can turn to Barack Obama, who is just right, with his big house – but only one house – and his wife’s big salary – but not big enough that the cost of those cute kids’ piano lessons don’t pinch their pocketbook..” He picked up his coffee cup and took a drink, and for a minute Goldilocks thought he was finished, but no such luck. “You know who else was ‘just right’ in terms of money and class, according to the new rules?” he asked.
Of course she didn’t, and what kind of crack had he been smoking to think she cared?
“Richard M. Nixon, that’s who,” he continued. “ And you know who was just too damned rich and out of touch to be able ever to understand the American people? John F. Kennedy, that’s who. And we all know that Tricky Dick was an infinitely better president than the Prince of Camelot, right? We all know that the well-bred and wealthy Franklin D. Roosevelt was a disaster for the country, as that out-of-touch multi-millionaire from Arizona would no doubt be. We know too what a terrible president was Harry S Truman, who didn’t have a college degree, even from a jerkwater school like Sarah Palin’s alma mater.”
Hairy-ass who? Never mind, she thought, I won’t ask, or he’ll never shut up.
“People made fun of the Trumans for their lowbrow tastes just they way they do the Bushes,” he went on.
Goldilocks could see he was just getting warmed up, and sorry, but she just couldn’t take it anymore. “Whatever,” she said, tossing her golden locks and flipping open her cell phone to see if the guy from sociology – whose name turned out to be Hunter – had texted her.
Election day came, and Goldilocks voted a straight Democratic ticket, then texted Hunter proudly to tell him. Election night came, and Keith Olbermann couldn’t have been more excited reporting the news if he’d had an MSNBC intern playing “Monica and Bill” under the desk. Goldilocks and Hunter did play “Monica and Bill” in a bathroom during an election night party.
Papa Bear flew to the nicest of his vacation homes, poured himself a very dry martini and tried not to think about what might have been.
Mama Bear took off her Valentino jacket, put on her L. L. Bean parka and went back to Alaska, flying commercial again and thinking maybe she shouldn’t have listed that state jet on e-Bay after all.
Baby Bear sat down with Harry Bear and Nancy Bear and got to work on a tax package that would spread so much wealth around it would make old Diamond John’s and Six-Pack Sarah’s heads spin.
Uncle Joe Bear said, “What’s the matter with you people? Can’t you count? There are four bears, not three. Four, four, FOUR! There’s a four-letter word for you people: s-t-u-p-i-d.”
Baby Bear told him there was an important funeral in Uzbekistan he’d better get ready for.
April 15 came, and Harry Bear and Nancy Bear and Baby Bear spread a lot of Goldilocks’s dad’s wealth around. When the lease on the BMW convertible Goldilocks drove was up, her dad said he couldn’t afford to lease another one, and she’d have to drive the old Corolla the housekeeper used to drive. They’d had to let the housekeeper go, and from now on Goldilocks would have to do her own laundry, clean her own room, and help her mom with the rest of the housework.
“Oh well,” she shrugged, “I’m not home that much anyway.” But that was going to change too, since some of dad’s wealth that had been spread around included the tuition money for Goldilocks, and they were “too rich” to qualify for financial aid. She would just have to transfer to the state college nearby and move back home.
As Goldilocks was packing up her dorm room, she saw Hunter walk past the open door with a gorgeous brunette. No, Goldilocks thought, not her! It couldn’t be! She raced to the door and looked out. The brunette smiled at her. It was her – the president of the College Republicans. What on earth was Hunter doing with that right-wing harpy? Hunter grinned a little sheepishly, shrugged, and walked off with his arm around his politically incorrect but anatomically impressive new friend.
Goldilocks was putting the last of her boxes into the Corolla’s trunk when a poster on a bulletin board nearby caught her eye. It featured a smiling picture of President Obama. Goldilocks walked over, pulling a sharpie marker out of her purse. She glanced around to see if anyone was watching, and quickly crossed his eyes and blacked out two of his teeth. “You son of a bitch,” she said. “You cost me a Beemer.”
And she lived resentfully ever after.