I believe the word is: schadenfreude. The delight one takes in the suffering of others.
That's what I've been feeling for the last several days giggling at the antics of the Republican Party in Bizarro World. I simply couldn't have dreamed for a more disastrous convention than what is currently going on in Minneapolis. Given all the drama of the hurricane, we haven't even had time to pause over the utterly unprecedented fact that a sitting president and vice president are regarded as so toxic to their own party that they aren't even in attendance.
And then there Alaska's Governor NutJob. Suffice it to say that when news of a pregnant 17 year old daughter being railroaded into a shotgun wedding (shotguns provided to all guests by the NRA I assume?) to a self-identified "F&%*ing Redneck" is only one of the weird items to emerge, you know Jon Stewart is a very happy man. The jokes write themselves.
It brings me back to 1988 and Dan "Mr. Potato[e] Head" Quayle. At the time, George I's pick stunned the pundits. Quayle was (and remains) a nobody - a Senator from Indiana who had no visibility and who had achieved nothing. He was young, telegenic, and utterly empty-headed. (In retrospect, of course, George I was picking the closest thing he could find to his own feckless son, but that little bit of Bush Family Psycho-drama wasn't so obvious at the time). And Quayle was a social conservative of the bible-thumping kind. Remember the daring and courageous stand he took against Murphy Brown and The Simpsons?
And then, of course, I stopped giggling.
George I won in 1988, of course, Dan Quayle notwithstanding. Quayle might not have contributed much to that election (perhaps he turned out some of those right-wing religious fanatics) but he clearly didn't hurt. And for four years the man who on his best days was repeatedly described as "a deer caught in the headlights" was one proverbial heartbeat away from the Oval Office. (In truth, medical science has not demonstrated conclusively that George H W or any member of the Bush family actually possesses a heart, so perhaps the metaphor is not apt).
McBush's choice of Governor NutJob yields one of two conclusions. Either he really did do his homework on this woman, in which case we should be terrified about McBush's judgement; or he made this pick recklessly and impulsively, in which case we should be terrified about McCain's judgement.
Nonetheless, it isn't clear who's laughing along with me at what apparently passes for politics in Alaska. Certainly not the New York Times. On today's front page a headline announces "Wooing Conservatives Pays Off." This on the basis of a standing ovation Gov. NutJob got at a convention function.
In the end, Gov. NutJob won't decide this election unless her selection becomes a referendum on McBush's ineptitude. Making that connection may prove harder than it appears. I won't try to draw the analogy to 1988 too tightly. Quayle was merely a right-wing non-entity; Gov. NutJob is from some other planet of crazy. But voters certainly didn't punish George I for his laughable choice 20 years ago in 1988. So stop giggling.