Image Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC via Getty ImagesDancing With the Stars has a hallowed tradition of GOP personalities: disgraced senator Tom DeLay, snappy dresser Tucker Carlson, and now Bristol Palin. Bristol’s mother Sarah appeared on DWTS, and is now prepping her own reality TV show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. In fact, as an intriguing article from the L.A. Times argues, the Republican party is embracing reality TV. (John McCain is courting Snooki’s endorsement on Twitter, which is not a sentence anyone ever wants to write.) Are Democrats losing the all-important reality TV vote?
Democrats have mostly ignored the genre’s unique power to connect with John Q. Public. Sure, CIA Director Leon Panetta appeared for a couple minutes on Top Chef, and Michelle Obama appeared for a couple minutes on Iron Chef America, but those are semi-classy cable productions pegged to an urban elite audience. (Also, Michelle Obama’s garden made a cameo appearance a couple seasons ago on Biggest Loser. New stereotype alert: Geez, what’s with the Democrats and their food-centric reality shows, am I right?)
PopWatchers, what can be done? Have Democrats lost the reality TV race? I prescribe three solutions:
1. Send disgraced Democrats on kinder celebrity-themed reality shows.
Rod Blagojevich joined the C-list zombieland that is Celebrity Apprentice, but everyone comes off badly on Celebrity Apprentice unless they wear a headband or are Joan Rivers. (His wife went on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, which is just silly.) Sure, Tom DeLay and Tucker Carlson were goofballs, but Dancing With the Stars is a kinder, gentler, more forgiving show. (If nothing else, surely going on DWTS is a better career move than working on something called Parker Spitzer.)
2. Embrace Race
The Amazing Race exudes lefty buzzwords: “diversity,” “globalization,” “knowing where China is on a map.” It tests people’s reactions in high-pressure situations, and also forces people to learn basic taxicab diplomacy. Participation ought to be required for all up-and-coming Democrat senatorial aides.
3. Make a Political Version of American Idol
Attractive 20-somethings propose congressional legislation. They are critiqued by three judges: the Mean Democrat (Rahm Emanuel), the Mean Republican (Ann Coulter), and the Ralph Nader (Ralph Nader.)
PopWatchers, can the Democrats take reality TV? Aren’t politicians basically just reality show stars with less makeup and lower salaries? And did you know that Fred Astaire was a die-hard conservative, but Gene Kelly was a die-hard liberal? I wonder if they had political debates in dance form.