I think the primaries this year, especially on the Republican side, have been kind of riveting. Here it is early March, and already the Republican primaries have had more high drama than a drag queen returning a pair of shoes without a receipt.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but far from the lockstep snoozefest most of us were expecting, the GOP run for the presidency has grabbed our attention like Jennifer Lopez uttering the words: "Would you help me with this brooch?"

C'mon, the primary process is ridiculous. We're the most powerful country in the world and we're choosing our leaders based on how they interact with people in diners. You're running for president, so you wake up at five in the morning and head over to Jimmy Rae's Gravy-on-Everything Luncheonette to talk to the locals, many of whom appear to be missing fingers.

And then you have to order the house special, which consists of a sausage link the size of a dozing sea-lion and an order of home fries that Tenzig Norgay wouldn't attempt to climb without supplemental oxygen, all washed down with a cup of coffee that's thicker than the hairclog in Ziggy Marley's shower drain. Then some trucker, whose breath is so bad you wish he would fart, leans in on you and starts bitching about how he can't find a trailer park that'll give him an extra plumbing hookup for his crystal-meth lab. Then it's off to the factory where they make those plastic bags that 12-packs of tube socks come in, and you have to look like you give a shit, all the while promising yourself that if you are indeed elected president, you won't come within a million miles of any of this freakery for at least another four years.

And this has been a particularly tough race. Look at the Republicans who have given up already.

Gary Bauer: a wee bit of a lizard-man whose sole platform was right to life, probably because he is just about the size of a fetus. Bauer caught a break when Dorothy's house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East, freeing his people from her tyrannical rule.

Steve Forbes: Hmm. For some reason, a goofy, unblinking multimillionaire whose principal campaign position was that he ought to pay less taxes failed to ignite the passion of the American people. Odd.

As for Alan Keyes, you have to admire him for sticking it out. But I'm sorry to say a black Republican has about as much chance of winning the presidential nomination as a black Democrat.

And that leaves us with the big two: Bush and McCain. George W. Bush doesn't stand for anything other than wanting to be president. It just kills me when Bush says he's not a Washington insider. He always has that same tone of voice as Calista Flockhart when she tells Steve Kmetko that she just has a fast metabolism.

And let's face it. George W. is not exactly somebody you'd wanna use as a lifeline on WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. Bush is so stupid he thinks the W in his name stands for Arthur.

But despite all his limitations, it appears the block-letter crayon writing is on the wall, and that Bush will, in fact, be the Republican nominee, simply because the Republican Party FOOTLOOSE elders want him to be the nominee. For example, take California on Super Tuesday. McCain could win the popular vote, yet Bush could get all the Republican delegates. Hey, who set this one up, Don King?

So where do I stand? Well, if you judge a man by the quality of his enemies, you have to go with McCain, because the entire Republican establishment hates him. These are the "Contract With America" guys, the sellout whores like that master of the dry look Trent Lott, the same folks who shot down gun control, stubbed out the tobacco bill and parrot the intolerant bleatings of the increasingly strident religious right. If nothing else, a McCain victory would put the fear of God into all those overly judgmental zealots who insist on screening God's calls.

As much as I admire McCain, I think I'm more in love with the idea of John McCain than I am with John McCain himself. Yeah, I know he's got flaws, but that's what gets me marching in his parade. Is it contradictory for a guy who champions campaign finance reform to have been one of the Keating 5? Absolutely. Is it a contradiction when a guy who unashamedly uses the term "gooks" pushes for re-establishing diplomatic ties with Vietnam? Without a doubt. But for all his contradictions, for all the hints that there is a suppressed magma of rage bubbling just beneath the surface of Mount St. McCain, there is something about the man that is undeniably real.

We are so sick and tired of the parade of robots, demagogic zombies and slimy half-men who have lurched through the Oval Office on their way to becoming minor footnotes in 99-cent-bin history books, we are starving for a president who is an actual, genuine, cuts-his-own-toenails, rightfully-holds-a-grudge, equally-prone-to-fuckups-and-glory, human goddamn being.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


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