TCS Daily


Is Santa a Republican?

By Douglas Kern - December 21, 2004 12:00 AM

A little over ten years ago, P.J. O'Rourke inadvertently dealt a savage blow to the morale of the Republican Party when he misidentified the political affiliation of Santa Claus in his best-selling book, Parliament of Whores. "Santa Claus," he told us, "is a Democrat." What nonsense! Everyone knows that Santa Claus is a Republican.

Ordinarily, in this space, I would entertain you by mercilessly pummeling the left-wing position on the subject at hand with wit, venom, and logic. But, in the spirit of Christmas, I have opted instead to mercilessly pummel the position of an actual person. So welcome to my column a contributor who will take up the case that Santa Claus is, in fact, a Democrat. This contributor wishes to remain anonymous, so let me identify him only as "Absolutely Not Kern's Hippie Brother-In-Law."

This dialogue appears almost exactly as it took place last Sunday. I have altered it solely for the purpose of making myself sound smarter.

KERN: Shall we begin our colloquy with a simple Karl-Rovian analysis? Santa Claus is a self-employed Caucasian male who's been married to the same woman for several centuries. It appears likely that he is a churchgoer, insofar as he is a Catholic saint and a former bishop. Is not Santa's political affiliation perfectly obvious from his demographic profile alone?

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: I will rebut your assessment with Steve-Sailer counter-analysis: Santa Claus has no children. High-achieving professionals without children trend Democratic.

KERN: The Clausian canon does not specifically address the issue of Santa's children, but numerous extra-canonical sources suggest that Claus did, in fact, reproduce. I have watched several TV movies this Christmas alone that make that point.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: How would a former Catholic cleric have children? Moreover, Santa's status as a Catholic bishop implies a strong preference for left-wing stances on economic issues, if the statements from the National Council of Catholic Bishops are any indication.

KERN: Thank you for eschewing tasteless anti-Catholic jokes about little children sitting on Santa's lap. Anyway, Santa has been released from his vows. Otherwise, how did he marry? But consider this: Santa's aggressive adherence to a binary naughty/nice list suggests an impatience for nuanced moral positions that betrays his Republican preferences.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Santa's list is to presents what Scripture is to Episcopalianism: a meaningless set of prescriptions meant to allay the concerns of the far right. Surely you have noticed that millions of "bad" people receive excellent presents every year.

KERN: Santa's mere willingness to define individuals along a naughty/nice axis demonstrates his indifference to the philosophical stance of, say, The New York Times. And note that no canonical or extra-canonical Clausian text indicates that Santa ever attended college or, God forbid, graduate school.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Kerry did well among those with only high school educations. Moving on: In Miracle on 34th Street, we see that Santa is a world traveler who speaks multiple languages. I conclude that Santa is an urbane cosmopolitan who rejects American insularity and arrogance.

KERN: Condoleeza Rice speaks many languages, too, and visits scads of foreign countries. So what? Okay, next point: Santa is clearly a proponent of the Patriot Act. He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He doesn't bother with warrants or court orders or international conventions controlling satellite surveillance, so be good for goodness' sake.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Santa is in fine odor with the ACLU, having never seized criminal tools while engaged in otherwise-authorized visits to private property. Next point: By forming his headquarters at the North Pole, Santa has embraced Canadian citizenship. A businessman who deliberately establishes a massive base of operations in Canada is surely sending a message about his preference for social justice over profits.

KERN: Do his bleeding-heart ways extend to his hiring policies? At Santa's workshop, "diversity" is the harmonious employment of happy worker elves and foofy sparkle elves. The glass ceiling for non-elves is built rather close to the floor.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Everything at Santa's workshop is built close to the floor. They're elves.

KERN: Had you watched Lord of the Rings like I told you to, you would know that elves are tall, blonde, and sexy. And as the UAW does not have a North Pole branch, it seems that Santa's workshop is a right-to-work gig.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Santa has not shipped a single job to Mexico, despite the obvious financial benefits from hiring Mexican elves. Also, rather than driving a gas-guzzling SUV, Santa operates a vehicle that runs on a renewable resource: magic.

KERN: I expected you to denounce Santa's cruel exploitation of reindeer.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Santa's reindeer hiring policies are quite progressive. Reflect upon "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," a moving tale about Santa's rehabilitation of an alcoholic employee.

KERN: Let us turn to Santa's relationship with the military. As Santa invades American air space every year without retaliation from F-16s, it is clear that Santa has established a good working relationship with NORAD and the Air Force.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: What was Santa doing during Vietnam? The canon says nothing about prior military service. Is he a reindeer-hawk?

KERN: At approximately 800 years old, Santa fell comfortably outside the age limits for the Selective Service. Moreover, he held a critical civilian position. And, as you noted earlier, he was in Canada at the time.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: As Santa has been eligible for AARP membership for 745 years, he surely preferred the Democrat position on prescription drugs and Medicare.

KERN: Neither program covers elf medications. And as for Santa's health, realize that the man eats several million cookies and as many gallons of eggnog every Christmas Eve. The press releases of the Center for Science in the Public Interest do not faze him.

NOT BROTHER-IN-LAW: Santa Claus lives in a completely sustainable commune that apparently generates its own electricity, creates its own food, and produces its own jobs. No evidence suggests that Santa owns any expensive items, attends any NASCAR events, or pays any taxes. Santa's successful kibbutz reflects his preference for a simple, Blue-state life.


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