Dave Simpson: They Call It A ‘Canadian Tuxedo’

Columnist Dave Simpson writes: - "'Republicans can't dance,' an old pal from my Casper Star-Tribune days told me many years ago..."

Dave Simpson

November 02, 20214 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Great thoughts. semi-cogent observations and trigger-warning fodder from all over.

Let’s whack some moles. Let’s bop some gophers:

– “Republicans can’t dance,” an old pal from my Casper Star-Tribune days told me many years ago.

He told me how amusing it was to watch stiff, awkward, self-conscious Republicans attempt to dance. He said it was hilarious. Best show in town.

A died-in-the wool, proud, unrepentant (to this day) Democrat, this old friend had the job of covering politics, including attending Republican and Democratic state conventions. He said his favorite thing to do, when covering Republicans, was to head for the bar after the dinner banquet and watch straight-laced conservatives try to dance. (I assume when he was covering Democrats, he was getting down with the best of them, cutting the rug, birds of a feather.)

Apparently, we Republicans can’t get limber and jiggy enough to dance like Democrats, who are as unrestrained on the dance floor as they are earlier in the day, dreaming up new things for government to provide, and pounding tax dollars down rat holes.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t dance. I had to think clear back to junior high and something called “Fortnightly” to recall dancing when I was required to do so at my daughter’s wedding. “One two three, one two three,” I thought to myself over and over, “whatever you do, don’t step on her toes,” until my new son-in-law mercifully cut in.

As I recall, this old reporter friend also suggested that Republicans weren’t as attractive as Democrats, although he didn’t put it that delicately. And he said Republicans expected reporters to pay for the thin gruel they served to the media, while the free-spending Democrats put out a nice spread and picked up the tab. (Cost? No object!)

I thought of that last weekend when I saw Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe doing the strangest, creepiest attempt to dance at campaign stops in Virginia leading up to Tuesday’s election. The word “skeevy” comes to mind. Awkward. Stilted.

There he was, holding hands held high with spendthrift luminaries Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama and Tim Kaine, grinning like they’d just got over a case of senior itch. You had to wonder, after putting Biden and Harris on the stage with him. if the next star to support McAuliffe would be Typhoid Mary.

Next time I talk to my old Star-Tribune reporter pal, I’ll bring up McAuliffe’s atrocious dancing.

It’s an image I wish I could forget.

– We were headed out to dinner in Cheyenne the other night. I had on blue jeans and a t-shirt, and at the last moment I grabbed a soft, well-worn denim shirt to take along in case it was cold in the restaurant. (Oldsters not unlike myself often find restaurants a little chilly. That’s why we drink so much senior-discount coffee at McDonald’s.)

“Denim Dan,” my son called me when he noticed my all-denim attire.

“That’s called a Canadian Tuxedo!”

Never heard that one before. I’m still laughing.

– Old editors and old publishers learned long ago – back when you could be sued for what you put in the paper or said on the radio – not to get carried away, urging someone to commit suicide, or using language you wouldn’t use in front of your mother.

In small towns, there’s a good chance you’ll run into the folks you criticize, like at the grocery store. (Been there. Done that.) But now we’re all publishers on social media, and most have never suffered the tough lessons we old-timers learned, sometimes in court.

They say the first person to utter the word “Nazi” in an argument loses. I’d add using vulgar profanities to that list. And suggesting that someone kill herself.

Not good.

– We were watching TV the other night when an ad featuring William Shatner came on.

“I hope I look that good when I’m 90,” I said.

To which my wife responded:

“You don’t look that good NOW, and he’s 20 years older than you!”

God created spouses to propagate the species, to tell us when we missed a spot when painting, and to keep our egos in check.

Mission accomplished.

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.