The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.
– Mark Twain
We have a steadfast rule around here that makes it easy to base all of our opinions upon: If Mark Twain approves, we do. Samuel L. Clemens is the patriarch of all that is true and fair in the construct of American commentary. Without him, we have virtually nothing as far as modern satire in this country. He was, by all accounts and by his own admission, a man who despised politics, but he could not help himself from opining on it. And this happened often. Twain was indeed the first true American novelist, our first comedic essayist and by far the finest public speaker of his or any time. To put it bluntly; Twain kicked ass. And Twain expected that as a citizen of these Untied States he was provided the right to form and express his opinion and he would doubtless believe this is the right, and even the duty, of those who maintain any level of celebrity, if they feel the need. And so this space has never begrudged celebrities, whether Meryl Streep or Ted Nugent or Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore, or even our celebrity president, from pontificating all over the joint.
This past week late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel got into a public donnybrook with the co-author of the latest attempt by some level of congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (what does this make 438? I am losing count and interest in this, like the NFL, which is a joke now, and I finally cut it out of my life two years ago and do not miss it one iota). Senator William Cassidy from Louisiana made the mistake of going on network television and telling Kimmel a few months ago he would do something completely opposite of what his bill says; he would make sure that pre-existing conditions were supported by the federal government in any potential law he supports – in other words mandate that states not allow insurance companies to kick people off health care, which the ACA now protects. Kimmel called him on this. He tried to senate-speak it away with semantics about actually having it be part of a bill with his name on it when it actually kicks the responsibility of oversight to the states, many of which have Republican governors who have no interest in this (You know, “depending on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” or “you get to keep your doctor” stuff). He is technically correct, but really, he fucking lied to Kimmel and Kimmel used network air time to bash him for it.
This got on the Internet and all over Twitter and the usual wig-out vehicles and boy has it become the story.
Now, again, I am not here to argue whether it is good that our national debate happens on a comedy/variety show. How could I with Donald Trump, Game Show Host President in charge? And to be fair the Republicans have completely given up on any semblance of senate procedure to debate, council, hold hearings and get outside fiscal approbation from the CBO for this, so someone has to take it to the public forum and debate it, why not the 49-year-old guy who took over for the guy who wasn’t Letterman or Leno?
Kimmel, it should be known, has a son with a congenital heart condition who has endured several procedures on this since his birth this past April. In May during the first of at least sixty attempts since the 2016 presidential election by congress to wipe out the ACA Kimmel tearfully shared his story making the salient point that since his kid has a pre-existing condition from birth and that prior to the 2010 law (that has mysteriously gone from anathema to championed) he would never be able to get health insurance and would likely die. Since the debate, such as it is, on Capitol Hill has added, “Does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test,” to its rhetoric.
As terrible as all of that is and as thrilling as Republicans repeatedly failing to repeal the ACA may be, I still had no interest in writing about this until I watched New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appear on some banal cable news show and blurt, “I’m not going to comment on Jimmy Kimmel, he is not a serious person.” This struck me as funny, actually goddamn fucking doubled-over, red-faced, piss-pants hilarious, considering Christie was the first politician to back our mostly non-serious Game Show President, and the delicious nugget that while Kimmel is a mostly successful entertainer, Christie has been arguably the worst governor of this state in my lifetime.
As the weeks dwindle on this Chris Christie suck-fest his approval ratings have now plummeted to an astounding 15 percent. It is hard to believe that there are actually one-out-of-ten people in this state who do not think Christie is a useless sack of feces. I personally have not met one Republican who supports anything he has done in an astonishing eight years in office, never mind Democrats and Independents. The current Democratic candidate, whoever the hell that is, leads his lieutenant governor by something like 60 points, and not even Hillary Clinton can blow that.
And I want to be clear, none of this is to deride Trump as a president, I think I am on record thus far on this goofy atrocity, but if you support someone whose previous credentials is destroying the USFL and fondling beauty pageant contestants for president then your credibility on commenting on who is serious and not is pretty much nil.
When Kanye West is president I wonder if he’ll take issue with Taylor Swift’s commentary.
Chris Christie might.
We will not.
You go girl.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey,” “Fear No Art,” “Trailing Jesus,” “Midnight For Cinderella” and “Y”. and his new book.”