It used to be that when I was watching the Senate or the House of Representatives on C-SPAN, I'd have to wait until the Senator's or Representative's name appeared on the screen with an "R" or "D" before I could tell party affiliation. Now I'm getting really good at calling them as soon as they appear onscreen. Republicans usually seem more relaxed, a little detached, charming, and their hair is usually meticulously groomed, the men with hard, smooth caps and the women with buns or plain, careful blobs. The Democrats, meanwhile, usually seem slightly anxious, frustrated, have messier hair and less interesting speaking voices.
A few weeks ago, Bill Maher was asking George Clooney why the Left usually has the talented actors and filmmakers, while the Right usually has politicians who are more charming and with more effective rhetoric. I think it's because the Left respects the fact that real life is ugly. Filmmakers know that the audience wants beauty and fun, but filmmakers know they're making an illusion that doesn't necessarily resemble reality. The Right meanwhile, have no qualms about putting that same mentality into their speeches and legislation relating to real life, because they don't think life is ugly when people they don't know or care about are suffering.
It's fascinating to see Trent Lott siding with Democrats on legislation regarding Katrina reconstruction. Lott being a perfect example of one of the sleazy Republicans I'm referring to--a couple months ago, I watched him at a hearing regarding the influence of lobbyists on government officials. He made a joke about how he was quite able to afford his own meals and neckties, and it's ridiculous to think his policies would be swayed by such gifts. Everyone laughed. I laughed. By then a Democrat explained dryly to Lott--obviously aware that Lott's joke was misdirection--that the "gifts" under discussion are more significant than neckties and meals. That's just a minor example of the oily callousness exhibited by the likes of Lott or Lindsey Graham. To them, the houses of government are theatre and nothing more. Important, perhaps, for propaganda purposes. But not for the actual running of the government.
So then it bites Lott in the ass when his home's destroyed by Katrina. And when I saw him on the floor of the senate, trying to push a bill with Louisiana's Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, it was fascinating to see the vague bewilderment and depression in Lott's demeanour as he found himself lanced by his own Republican fuck machine, as another Republican Senator explained how the bill was a bad idea because it might inhibit the profits of rich people. All part of the traditional Republican economic policy that I heard a Democratic Representative refer to to-day as "4-2=3".
Sometimes, theatre is just a natural by-product of inherent artifice.