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Book Review: The Republican Playbook by Andy Borowitz

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LOL ROTFLOL *gasp* WAAHAA – OK OK *gasp* I think I can at least type now. If not speak. Before I tell you what this book is about, I have to confess something that might give you cause to question my capacity to review such a book as this, if not my intelligence itself.  I believed, when I ordered this book that it was exactly what its title said it was.  Nor, did I immediately comprehend the true nature of it once I held it in my hands and caught sight of the bright red front cover with the gold-embossed title and the black diagonal band across the bottom left corner declaring the book to have been stolen from the White House by Andy Borowitz.

Even after opening the book and thumbing through the pages and noting the grayed-out shade of many of the pages consistent with photocopying — the doodles, the smudges, the thumbprints on the edges of the pages and the handwritten notes scattered in the margins throughout — I did not catch on.  I always was the last one to get the joke, often laughing at the punch line several minutes, if not hours, after the fact. Knowing this might give you pause as you consider whether to read on, committing your precious time to a critique of a political satire book by someone with an obviously low HQ (humor quotient), but I believe in full disclosure.

Does it help to know that I had been anticipating something more on the lines of this memo acquired by Raw Story last August and downloadable in PDF format?  I didn’t think so.

Before I encountered this book I had never heard of Andy Borowitz, nor read or even heard of any of the half-dozen or so titles he had previously published. But now that we’ve established a relationship of complete transparency maybe we can at least have a bit of fun as we take a quick romp through the pages of Andy’s wickedly funny Republican Playbook, which is masterfully reverse-engineered from meticulous observation of GOP behavior while in office.

This little book is replete with talking points on major issues, keys to victory in a number of key states, leadership lessons for George Bush, suggestions for tricky uses of new technology to advance their domination of the elections, the electorate and each branch of government and musings on lessons learned from the past – some of which are in the included forewords by previous owners of the manual, Nixon, Reagan, and Papa Bush.  Every page is a minefield of guffaws, and adding to the piquancy of the jokes are the scattered "notes to self" in the purported handwriting of GW.

Among the amazing things you can do with new technology is the hard-to-detect manipulation of photos for campaign mailers and ads.  Such as, for alarming their base, create a pic of the Dems Dream Supremes – Bill Clinton as Chief Justice, the three Dixie Chicks, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand, and horror of all horrors, Michael Moore. Especially helpful is the ability to take a photo of any Dem and morph it into the Demon of the Day – Osama, Saddam, Kim Jung Il, Satan. Then there is the ease of pasting a pic of a Dem into a background that associates them with criminal or treasonous activities.

Wicked fun with Wikipedia is another thing new technology has made possible: anyone can creatively embellish any Dem Pol’s bios, giving them illustrious careers in the (recreational) drug industry and porn, credit for passing laws that endanger children, or fingering them for the unsolved murders of celebrities.

Advice on running election includes diabolic diagrams of proposed voting machines that dynamically enhance GOP results; reminding everyone of the etymology of the word Democrat: conflating of the Greek demos, meaning demon, with cratos, meaning creature, yields "demonic creature"; countering the Dems demonic "Rock the Vote" by spreading the word on election day that Wal-Mart is giving away free Sony PlayStation Portables and Ted Nugent and Kid Rock are throwing a free keg party; and motivating the base with reminders of the Dems' sinister message machine promoting gayness for all cartoons! (Take the Flintstones – Barney and Fred spend more time with each other than their wives and never wear pants and the theme song says so!)

The one that had me in hysterics as I set out to attempt to describe in my own words the experience of encountering this uproarious romp through the GOP mindscape was GW’s attempt to make sense of the disaster of Katrina. The PR disaster, that is. His attempt at independent analysis of that debacle led him to conclude that we needed a Disaster Preparedness plan.

He resolves to create a new cabinet-level position with the mandate to prepare all future catastrophes ahead of time in minute detail so that the GOP would be in complete control and could take credit for all catastrophic successes.  And no, I did not inadvertently omit the word "for" between the words "prepare" and "all" in the previous sentence.  That was all GW. Or at least Andy Borowitz’s concept of him.  Based on careful observation of his past behavior, of course.

LOL.

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