Deirdre Reilly: Everyman’s Guide to Politics in the U.S.A.

Deirdre Reilly

I have become interested in politics lately, and I have thus decided to offer forth my first-ever “Everyman’s Guide to Politics in the U.S.A.” To assemble this handy and completely portable guide, simply close your Access Hollywood home page, print out this handy guide, staple it into a little booklet and put it in your purse or pocket. Now you are armed and ready when you run into that smarty-pants who is always eating healthy and wearing sandals and voting in local elections and attending town meetings and trying to make you guilty about watching “The Apprentice Season V.” You’ve got the “Everyman’s Guide” now!

OK, let’s start with the whole election process in general. Right now we are in a pre-general-election phase, when many American states are trying to get some sort of electoral vote count for some or all candidates, who come in large rock-star buses and descend on their cities and towns like hungry yet unfocused locusts, and who love the word “change.” The participating states (and parts of southern Canada) have either a “caucus” – pronounced “Caw-kuss” – or a “primary.” Now, the first “caucus” – since it is only one, you want to say that “caucii” – was in the state of Iowa, which is somewhere in the middle of the country. You may be familiar with Iowa because this is where we all wanted to move to after “Field of Dreams” came out at the movie theatre. We all wanted to drive VW vans out to Iowa, buy a farm, grow some corn and wait for dead ballplayers to reconnect us with our fathers and ourselves. Americans were in this phase until about 1990, when we all wanted to move to New York City, buy a huge, funky loft apartment, hoist a gigantic plaster angel through the window with friends, take up sexy pottery and receive messages from our dead boyfriends. This of course, was after we all saw “Ghost.” 

Anyway, Iowa had a caucii, and Gov. Huckabee from a state called Arkansas won for the Republicans, and U.S. Sen. Obama won for the Democrats, unseating the popular view that Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney would be the winners of this first very important race. All the voters could do as election results came in was shake their heads and think, “How bad is it for Bill Clinton tonight, with Hillary in a bad mood?”

The next stop for the candidates is New Hampshire (pronounced “Noo Hampshur.”) In New Hampshire, Bill will avoid Hillary like the plague, eat a lot of fried foods and hunker down with Chelsea where they will master the “Lord of the Rings” video game. The candidates will go on every television news show that they can and say the word “change” so often that the word itself begins to sound funny to them, and they will do that thing where they begin to doubt if that’s what the word actually is, it sounds so funny. As they are smiling and waving, they will covertly whisper to their campaign managers, “Doesn’t the word ‘change’ sound funny when you keep saying it?” Their campaign managers will gently hand them their binky and tuck them into the tour bus for a quick nap and continue to tell anyone who will listen that they “never expected to carry this state, and now it’s on to Florida and Michigan, because we are the candidate of change!”

Note: If you are a candidate, there are a few things you might want to remember. No. 1, the word “change” does sound funny when you keep saying it, and that’s OK. No. 2, please do not get all fancy and actually answer the question you’re asked during a debate – remember to ignore the question and talk about your love of America and the man you met in the corner café who has worked in the mills for 100 years or so, and said he was counting on you to make it better. Remember that “attack ads” are now “contrast ads,” and remember that your tie better match the backdrop scenery or we will assume you are weak and uncertain and secretly hate change.

Now, for you average Joes who will have to cast a vote next November, one final tip – as you watch cable news, be wary. The goal of some cable news shows is, in the most political way possible, to look as fantastic as is humanly possible. For example, following a popular television theory that we cannot understand news unless a Victoria’s Secret model is telling it to us, Fox News is presenting their female broadcasters in tight blouses, skimpy skirts, and sleek long manes of hair. (Nothing says “trust me” like a push-up bra and pink lip gloss!) It makes you want to hug Alan Colmes – and I am a conservative. So close your eyes as you watch the news.

In closing – try to find out if your state is having a primary or caucii, and get ready to participate. Carry this handy guide to help you every step of the way. And say the word “change” 10 times fast; doesn’t it sound funny, like it’s not really a word? Hey, maybe I should run for office!

Contact Deirdre Reilly at