Cope continues to feel overcome by the sheer volume of stupidity and viciousness coming from America's right, so I've agreed to do one more column for him. In the meantime, I got the goof to admit he needs a conservative sidekick--Red's replacement, if you will--to whom he can turn for explanations whenever leading Republicans pull one of their more incomprehensible stunts or statements. But he agreed only under the condition that auditions be held for the position and that I help him choose the eventual winner. I put out word of the auditions in likely locales, and on a recent afternoon, in an abandoned Elks hall, Cope and I listened to several sidekick wannabees give us their spiel. I report here on the general trends and substance of those interviews.
"Next!" Intense, unshaven man enters from hallway wearing camo pants and a hand-lettered shirt reading "The Tree of Liberty is Permagreened by the Blood of Tyrunts."
"Name?" Man bristles: "What the hell you wanna know that fer?" Cope pipes up, "So we know what to call you." Man thinks, then gives us his Internet handle. "Just call me 'pickettscharge2.'"
"Yes then, Mr. Charge2, have you ever been to a Tea Bag protest?" (As it develops, I ask most of the questions while Cope sits there and diddle farts around with a ball-point pen.)
"Ah goes to a Tea Bag protest ever weekend except fer when the Broncos is playing at home. Then ah goes tail-gaitin' instead."
"I wasn't aware there are so many Tea Bag events going on, Mr. Charge2."
"When there ain't one planned nowheres near, I throw ma own. Ah supplies the poster board and the Obama caric'tures, but ya gotta bring yer own stick."
"I see. Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States?"
"No f**kin' way! He were born in that Africer place, an' ah kin prove it!"
"Goddam right ah kin!"
After he'd left, Cope says, "He seemed about right, huh, Bob? Just the right mix of irrational rage and stupefying ignorance. Besides, that limp of his made him sort of sympathetic, don't you think?"
"Cope, that wasn't a limp. That was a Chinese assault rifle duct-taped to his leg. Next!" Large-ish woman enters from hallway, talking on a cellphone and carrying a placard of President Obama with a Hitler mustache, captioned "Take Your Public Option and Shove It, Boy!!!" She can't possibly weigh an ounce under 250 pounds or be a day under 60, yet she wears Sarah Palin glasses, Sarah Palin hair and a Sarah Palin leather skirt. "Gotta go now, Betty," she says into the cell. "I'm here."
"Name?" She answers: "Mavie Marblehead, and this is the very same poster I carried up the statehouse steps for the big 9/12 revolution. And before we get started, I just want to say, I'll be the hostess with the mostess!"
"Ma'am, we're not looking for a hostess. Should you be chosen, you would appear three to five times a year in Mr. Cope's column, and I assure you, he will do his best to make you seem as dense as is humanly possible."
"Oh, that's fine by me. It's like Glenn Beck says. 'There's no such thing as negative exposure. It's all good!'"
"Ms. Marblehead, could you give us your definition of 'socialism'?"
"I am so glad you asked. Socialism is where the big government liberals thinks they can dip into my Medicaid any time they needs to hand out money to sick wetbacks who come up here and join that Acorn outfit so's they can indockernate my gran'childrens with their Muslimistic lies. I believe the original socialism was in that apple what Satan fed to Eve, and it spread from there. Old Hitler used it to kill off the Jews and then the hippies decided to snuggle it to America, stashed away in the shorts of homosexuals, so's they could molest our sacred Constitution. And if us real Americans don't stand up and ... "
"Uh, yes, Ms. Marblehead, I think we've heard all we need." The moment I tell her she can leave, she's on the phone again. "I'm done, Betty. I think they liked me."
"You think you could work with a woman?"
"Gee, Bob, I don't know. Most of 'em, yeah. But I don't believe that one would ever stop talking long enough for me to mention what a moron she is."
"Next!" Cocky, college-aged, Young Republican-type enters, sporting tie and blazer. "Name?" He sits confidently with his hands on the table, a sneer on his face, as though he is testifying before Barney Frank in a congressional hearing. "James Jerkie, the 3rd."
Cope says, "You're not James Jerkie the 2nd's boy by any chance, are you?" The young man stiffens, aware he has been teased, and while Cope snickers into his armpit, I ask, "Tell me, James, why would you want to be Cope's sidekick?"
"Because he's such a hypocrite, like all liberals. He talks and talks about how ignorant we Republicans are, but his columns don't even make sense half the time. He's always writing some crazy, illogical stuff that doesn't have anything to do with anything, and if he's such a big liberal, why is he always calling us names and making fun of us? I thought liberals were supposed to tolerate everyone, isn't that the way it's supposed to work? But I guess I'm not blaaaack enough or gaaaay enough for him to tolerate, since I'm just a regular Jesus-loving white guy. That makes him a crummy hypocrite and there's nothing worse. That's why I hate liberals so much. They're never acting like they're supposed to act."
"And you are willing to place yourself at Cope's disposal whenever he feels the need to ridicule the stereotype you represent?"
"What's in it for me?"
Thirty seconds later: "So? What about him?"
"Seems like a bright kid, Bob, with a lot of room for ridicule. But gosh, I'm not sure I could work with someone who makes me wanna puke."
"Next!" Red enters. Cope gasps: "Red?!"
Cope will have to tell you how it comes out. I'm headed back to the hills. Got a new hobby--stomping through the woods playing my banjo whenever there are wolf hunters around.