A Republican Reality

My wife and her mother were watching the finale of The Bachelor the other week. I don’t understand this show, but that’s not important. I don’t understand a lot of the things that other people like.

This season’s Bachelor made some news by announcing that he was going to wait until marriage to consummate his love for the woman he met on a dating show a few weeks ago. An admirable stand, in my opinion. Reviews of this were mixed, however; some viewers loved it, while some found that the season lacked the charm of those previous. The next morning, as I was contemplating the outcome of that reality program (“reality” in only the most technical sense), I had an idea. This happens from time to time and I usually just wait until they go away.

Not this time.

Much of the Republican soul-searching since the loss in November has focused on “culture.” Republicans need to engage the culture; Republicans need to change their views to reflect the culture… culture, culture, culture. Well, how do you gain entrée for conservative ideas in this culture of reality television?

My idea is simple, and whether or not anyone else thought of it first I maintain I arrived at it independently –so it counts.

The Republicans should surreptitiously recruit people to go on these shows.

Before you guffaw, hear me out.

It sounds underhanded — and it is. But think about it: television, and especially reality television, self-selects for the outrageous. The lowest common denominator is apparently drinking to excess and defiling hot tubs. That’s where the people are, so Republicans should go there.

You can’t count on luck to produce a conservative voice in the culture. You have to make that happen. For every person like Sean Duffy, there are a thousand vapid whoremasters who are on TV just to show off their pecs and get a crack at the surprising number of women who have decided to broadcast their poor decisions on national television.

This can’t be an above-board operation. Making a big announcement or putting out an actual casting call for these people would defeat the purpose, which is to introduce a virus of conservatism into the culture.

Obviously, you don’t want someone to go into an interview with these producers and say, “I work for the Republican Party, put me on TV and I will at some point make a speech about limited government you can edit out later.” That isn’t good television, even if it would make it to air. It’s boring.

You’d need to get them onto the show, which means they can’t be overly pious. It may require some deception.

But let’s say you get a reasonably informed 20-or-30-something, perhaps not a perfect conservative but someone who is, relative to the average reality contestant, very nearly Edmund Burke. Maybe they work in D.C., maybe they are in local or state parties. Maybe they are just some guy/girl who has a passion for a cause, and would like to be on television to gain more attention for it.

They bring their worldview into the mix. Maybe they have one or two chances to say or do something conservative. Maybe it causes a conflict, maybe it resolves one, maybe it just sounds weird to the audience and they wonder what that person is talking about.

You pay their airfare. You don’t let them know about each other. You do a thorough background check to make sure they are immune to charges of hypocrisy, or criminality. You do this for as many shows as you can, recruiting a number of applicants to stack the deck in the hopes that one or more makes it on.

The effects wouldn’t be dramatic. You wouldn’t see millions of people begin to vote Republican. But you might start some conversations in some living rooms. You might get people thinking. I haven’t seen the budget for Republican outreach, but hey, I also haven’t ever seen Republican outreach. It’s worth a try. If you know a guy at the GOP, have them get in touch!

Following is a profile of the sort of contestant we’d need:

  • Young. Early twenties to mid-thirties
  • Attractive. Fit. Indistinguishable from typical reality contestant
  • Career. Should have experience in the real world (not on Real World)
  • Interesting. Here’s the reality: some attractive, successful people are just boring
  • Solid politics. Votes Republican, vetted for loyalty
  • Can pass a civics test.
  • Social issues. Conversant, can explain both sides with sensitivity regardless of where they land
  • Personal life. Stable, no pending litigation

Agree? Disagree? What do you think in light of Rick’s post from yesterday?