Funny thing about going and feeding someone's entire oevre into your head. You run across a lot of stuff that you wouldn't have touched in a million years otherwise.

I am definitely not a fan of Bill O'Reilly, and I hesitate to say that I like him, but I'm reasonably sure I could make it through a dinner party without punching him in the face. The angry shouty grandpa bit on The O'Reilly Factor is at least partly a put-on. Made me jump the first time I saw it, in fact, because my first exposure to him was on The Daily Show, where he is very dry and laid-back to the point where he is one of the few conservative guests comfortable enough to pull sight gags on the host. 

O'Reilly, so far as I can tell, is a fiscal conservative and hard-right on most military things, but also not an idiot and drifts remarkably centrist on some social issues. He sat down and looked into the legal arguments for and against same-sex marriage at one point, and came to the conclusion that one side had legal arguments, and the other side had a large stack of Bibles, which many of them had not read. I don't agree with him on very many things, but he appears to be neither stupid nor insane -- just a human being with priorities very different from mine. He also does not appear to think much of people like Glenn Beck, which helps.

Jon Stewart once flippantly described him as "my TV husband, and weekend squash partner", which appears to not be too much of an exaggeration. The two of them go at it hammer-and-tongs and genuinely seem to be having fun. They really do like each other, which startled the hell out of me. I have seen each of them concede points in various arguments to the other one, which makes me think rather highly of both of them -- it's nice to know that at least some of the very loud people are trying to fight fair and use reason. Their Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium must be seen to be believed. It's a very ha-ha-only-serious debate, whose ticket proceeds went to charity, and marks the first time I have ever heard the designated left-winger in a political debate float the suggestion that we solve the problem of government inefficiency by handing healthcare over to the US Army.

Bill Maher, on the other hand, is kind of a douche. The 'don't label meeeeeee!' bit is getting very old. I didn't think he was funny twenty years ago either, but at the time I assumed I just didn't get 'grown up' things like political humor. I've no idea why I came to that conclusion; I've thought Mark Russell was funny ever since I learnt just enough American history to recognize some of the names he was dropping. Now that Maher is firmly anti-vax (but claiming not to be! just asking questions!), he is officially the exact opposite of funny, and I would not be the least bit upset if he were pulled off the air tomorrow and never appeared on TV again.

Ann Coulter is frightening. I mean, there's rabid neo-con, and then there's not in radio contact with Earth anymore. She used to be the first and now she's quite definitely the second. I think I would be relieved if I found out that all this time we thought she was responding to journalists, she was actually having a conversation with transdimensional alien beings that the rest of us cannot see. Her and Michele Bachmann.

I don't think I get Rachel Maddow. I'm informed she is supposed to be funny. Ish. Witty? Sardonic, maybe? Clearly I am not in her target audience. For the longest time, I recognized her name, but I could not for the life of me remember whether she was supposed to be a conservative pundit or a liberal one. Having now watched some of her show, I realize this is because she sounds exactly like her counterparts on Fox News, only someone has thoughtfully run a left-leaning search-and-replace on the contents of her teleprompter. I have no idea to what extent I agree with her views because I find the constant drone of 'my side is great! your side is terrible!' so irritating that figuring out would involve listening for a lot longer than I care to.

P J O'Rourke used to be funny when he was writing about being a clueless bachelor, and I am hearing rumblings that he might be funny again. I honestly had no idea he was considered a conservative (libertarian?) humorist for most of the time I've been reading him. I don't know if I avoided his political writing, or if I just found it way more hilarious to read about his early attempts at cooking and marvel at how he somehow managed not to die of scurvy. As far as I can recall, his view was mostly that politics was what happened when a lot of incredibly self-important people came together to take themselves far too seriously, and failed to realize they had transformed into their own satire.

Jeb Bush appears to be a serviceable, if boring, human being, who is capable of stringing together a series of serviceable, if boring, sentences to make something that could reasonably be called a statement. I still don't want him running any part of my country, much less the whole thing, but I don't really object to his existence as a human. I'm told that Dubya is not actually as stupid as he looks, which I find just about as worrying as the prospect that he is. That means that at some point, he figured it would help his chances of becoming leader of the free world to pretend he had the IQ of a boot, and he was right. Whether or not you think he cheated in court, the election was close enough to prompt a recount in the first place, which is still fucking frightening.

I find all of the Republican candidates so cringe-inducing at this point that the Democrats could field a lightly-starched table napkin, and produce a used handkerchief as its running mate, and I would still be all over that. Serviette/Snotrag 2016, yo.

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