Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXXVI: Bombshell midterm edition: My night of passion with Barbara Mikulski, and how to Repress The Vote through clothing choices

Matt Labash Columnist
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Considering the anonymous post about the one-night stand with Christine O’Donnell, isn’t it about time you opened up on the record about your night with Senator Barbara Mikulski back in ’88? –  Harry Ness

Oh gosh, that was so long ago. Let’s see if I can even remember. ’88…..summer…. yes,  I recall it, now. I was just a kid. Fresh out of high school. Didn’t know my ass from my elbow. The Reagan years were winding down, and the Bush the Elder years were right around the corner, when A Thousand Points of Light were about to bloom. Or get lighted, I guess you’d say. I played this old beat-up guitar from the five-and-dime back then. Me and some guys from school, had a band and we tried real hard. If memory serves, Jimmy quit, then Joey got married. I shoulda known we’d never get far.

But ain’t no use in complainin’, when you got a job to do. I spent my evenings down at the Chesapeake Bay Seafood House. And that’s when I met Boo (my pet name for Barbara Mikulski). She’d just been elected to the Senate from Maryland, and she’d come in for dinner. I was busing tables, and trying not to stare. But it was hard. Not only does she have those hypnotic, snake-charmer eyes. But they’d just dropped a steaming half-bushel right in front of her. And I really like crabs. I’m from Maryland.

I was immediately enchanted by her grace and elegance. But that woman could also pick crustaceans like she was from the Eastern Shore. You couldn’t even see her fingers work, they were that fast. There was just a flurry of shells flying, the occasional flash of her picking knife, and then another white mass of sweet jumbo lump thrown on the meat pile. I didn’t know if I wanted to make love to her, or roll crab cakes with her. Or maybe make love to her on a bed of crab cakes, so that afterward, we could tenderly bathe each other in the Chesapeake Bay, where we’d maybe use our sticky, spent bodies and the crab smell to chum for rockfish (did I mention we’re from Maryland?)

But back to the restaurant: all of the sudden I heard a yelp. It was Boo. Her knife had slipped when she was trying to pop the apron on a Jimmy (Maryland crab talk). She’d cut herself and was bleeding. The wait staff hadn’t yet brought napkins, so she had nothing with which to stop it. That’s when I went over to her table, and without saying a word, grabbed her hand, and pressed her bleeding finger to my lips, like a compress. She tasted like sweet nectar. And Old Bay seasoning. Also, like B Negative.

I’m not gonna say what happened from there. A gentleman never tells. And I’m not like that sleazy creep who ratted out Christine O’Donnell for not shaving downstairs. So there will be no after-action report from me about what might’ve happened when I drove her home and removed my trousers, if I removed my trousers (see gentleman clause, above). Let’s just say it was a different time, okay?  Yeah, it was the go-go ‘80s, and greed was good, and we were the young and restless, we needed to unwind. But the word “manscaping” had not yet even been invented, all right? Maybe I could’ve used a little trim around the ears. Enough said.

A lot of years have passed since then. I often sit back, and look at everything that’s come and gone. Sometimes, when I play that old six-string, I think about Boo, and wonder what went wrong. Still, that summer seemed to last forever. And if had the choice? Yeah, I’d always want to be there. Those were the best days of my life.

Dearest Matt: With election day bearing down on us like, well a Momma Grizzly, can you advise us on what to wear to the polling booth? Specifically, what would you wear to influence voters’ last-minute decisions, but which wouldn’t get you thrown out because your shirt has objectionable words on it like “shrew” and “Pelosi”?  I sit alone in a dark house awaiting your instructions. – All the best, Sydney Duodenum

By the time election day rolls around, the season for reasoning with your fellow voters through civility, logic and gentle persuasion is over. In fact, since the midterm campaign cycle now goes on for roughly six months, that season was over about seven months ago.

Genghis Khan once said, “It is not sufficient that I succeed, all others must fail.” And in that spirit of Mongol generosity, I hope that many of us this election season will take those words to heart, and seek not to rock the vote – which is so ‘90s – but to repress the vote. Do not just vote for your candidate, but cause the other guy not to vote for his.

Can this be done through what we wear to the polls? Definitely. Whether you’re left or right, the first thing you need to do is identify your target. This can be done through picking up on context clues at your polling station: anyone wearing a tricorn hat is an obvious Republican , anyone wearing a kaffiyeh is an obvious Democrat. But you can tell a lot about a person from more subtle clues too, such as the coffee cup they might be carrying. If a voter is holding a Caribou Coffee cup, they’re either a Democrat, an NEA grant recipient, or a Muslim extremist. If they’re carrying a Dunkin’ Donuts cup, they’re a Republican, a cop, or an obese person. If they’re carrying Starbucks, they could go either way (drinking overpriced, foofy coffee is a Democratic trait, drinking coffee that is made by evil multinational corporations is a Republican one).

After you’ve selected your target, you may want to post up in front of them so that your t-shirt serves as a billboard to remind them of their shame. Ridicule is the goal. Skip any complicated messages about issues – issues are for nerds, and aren’t what elections are about anyway. They’re about your guy winning and the other guy’s guy losing. So that you feel like a winner. And he feels like a loser. Dress accordingly.

If you’re of the left, and want to use Christine O’Donnell like a cudgel on your conservative enemies, you might go with this brand spanking new “Worship Satan – All the Cool Republicans Are Doing It” t-shirt,  which has some nice detail work on the elephant with devil horns and pentagrams. If you’re of the right, you might go with the rats-off-a-sinking-ship approach, reminding your opponents how their last choice is working out with the “I Was Anti-Obama Before It Was Cool” t-shirt.

Neither of these, however, are going to sufficiently demoralize your opponent to cause them not to vote. So instead, I’d keep it simple with the classic, “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt, complete with pointing finger.

The object is to place yourself between your ideological opponent and the voting booth, with the finger pointing their way. Nobody likes to be clowned on or to be called stupid. So they will strive to get away from your pointing finger. Every time they  move, move with them. And keep moving with them, until you’ve backed them out to the parking lot, safely out of voting range.

You’re the winner. They’re the loser. Does the republic win or lose? Who cares? Let’s not lose sight of what elections are really about.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.