Are you a dog person or a cat person? It is a question that people assume can tell you a lot about someone. “Dog people” value loyalty, warmth, and compassion. “Cat people” prize beauty, independence, and resilience.
But the dog/cat dichotomy implies that there are only two kinds of people. It resembles like our political system. We’ve whittled it down to a handy binary set of options. Red state. Blue state. Democrat. Republican. Dog. Cat.
But here is the dirty secret. Cats and dogs are not that different. They are furry, domesticated quadrupeds that drink from bowls. In the grand scheme of things, they’re roughly the same size. People like to draw battle lines and take a stand, but in the end, cat people and dog people basically want the same things. Something they can care about who cares back unconditionally.
It is the same with politics. Over the past several years, for better or worse, we have seen a shift towards centrism. President Obama has continued the Bush tax cuts and sent more troops to Afghanistan. Moreover, he has made a concerted effort towards compromise and bipartisanship. We also have our modern day “compassionate conservatives,” who are the same folks who might say: “You’d love my cat! He’s just like a dog!”
At the end of the day, though, we have become a nation of cat people and dog people. Folks who paint themselves as opposites but have more in common maybe than they are willing to admit. Chocolate ice cream. Vanilla ice cream.
Fortunately, however, this year’s field of presidential hopefuls shatters that paradigm. The Republicans alone present such a strange diversity that we cannot easily put them under the “cat” or “dog” umbrellas. We need a new set of categories altogether. I have created some, and I will give you the rundown.
Barack Obama – “Dog Person”
I alluded to this earlier on. Our president is a classic dog person type. He is concerned with everyone liking him. He seems loyal and friendly, but he becomes aggressive when threatened (See: Libya). A cat person president would have brought Osama Bin Laden back as a trophy like a bird or a rat. Not a dog person president. Burial at sea. Most strikingly, people are fascinated by his ethnic mix. He is our puggle president. (Or labradoodle, if that is more respectful.)
Mitt Romney – “Cat Person”
Romney displays classic cat person features. He is handsome, yet slightly aloof. He believes in corporate interest and has excelled in business. The ultimate cat quality is the ability to seem totally indifferent to people that clearly love you. In this analogy, the cat is Mitt Romney, and the people are poor people who vote for him. Plus, it is really fun to picture Romney stroking a cat with one arm while explaining a plot or scheme to another country’s spy.
Sarah Palin – “Goldfish Person”
A goldfish has a memory of less than ten seconds, which would explain Palin’s grasp of American history. Plus, a goldfish looks great in a small bowl (*cough* Alaska *cough*) but would seem tiny and out of place in a larger ocean (*cough* International Relations *cough*). The biggest similarity between Sarah Palin and fish is that when the former speaks out loud, criticizing her is like shooting a barrel full of the latter.
Ron Paul – “Snake Person”
A private citizen is not allowed to keep certain animals as pets. They are hard to control and can be a menace to the public. When I was a kid, a neighbor up the street illegally kept an Egyptian King Cobra in a tank in his garage. No one ever would have known, except the snake escaped, and the man had to alert the authorities. Animal control found the cobra in a child’s lunchbox in a nearby elementary school. For the rest of history, kids would throw rubber snakes on this man’s lawn on Halloween. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you libertarianism.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – “Ostrich People”
Santorum’s wife underwent a life-saving abortion, and her husband continues to be anti-choice. Gingrich recently closed a rumored half-million dollar line of credit at the Tiffany store. He also allegedly began divorce proceedings with his second wife as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery to remove a tumor. Heads, meet sand.
Michele Bachman – “Unicorn Person”
Bachman, a Tea Party founder, does not allow facts to get in the way of her beliefs. She pushed the “death panel” rhetoric on the American public and introduced something called the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” into Congress. Bachman also supports teaching intelligent design in public schools. It is only a matter of time before she introduces her much anticipated “Bigfoot Search and Seizure Act” legislation into the House of Representatives.
So there you go, America. A buffet of choices for 2012. Enjoy and vote wisely. USA! USA!