Today was a day of meet-cutes. In my own little world, my new puppy and my cat of 14 years shared a room and some sweet nothings at a louder volume than a whisper. In the larger political world, America’s sweetheart Donald Trump sat down with life-size poop developer Dr. Oz for a will-they-won’t-they medical reveal. But the meet-cute that I’m concerned with is the one I’ve been awaiting for months.
It was roughly 5:30 pm in my time zone. I was limiting myself to half a bag of Skinny Pop and cuddling up with my favorite TV show, AC 360. Cheshire Cat Cooper was replaced by a guest host who made me smile when he referred to 60-year-old Jonathan Tasini as a “younger voter” almost as much as I smiled when said Tasini rifled through his notes (on real paper) to find some poll numbers he wanted to mention. Tasini had me at able-minded analysis and real paper and chunky glasses, but my heart skipped a beat when the camera panned to the Trump side of the panel.
There it was: the moment I’ve been anticipating all season, the moment when they would appear together. Yes, friends, remember where you were on September 14, 2016, because this was when Jeffrey met Kaylie.
As I mentioned in my post Oh, Kay, Kayleigh McEnany is the legally blonde millennial who introduced CNN to Merriam-Webster. When she’s run out of bouncy, Hillary-hating ways to defend Donald Trump, she makes like a high schooler stalling for time and literally quotes the dictionary. So, in my best attempt to honor lady Kay, I present to you that Merriam-Webster defines a “meet-cute” as “a cute, charming, or amusing first encounter.” Honestly, I thought Mindy Kaling invented the term, but Wikipedia notes that it has been used to describe these darling encounters in film since the 1940s. Every classic pairing begins with a meet-cute. Remember when Romeo and Juliet met in masks? Or when Trump met his wall? Or, for that matter, when Trump kissed Mike Pence?
Well….this was that epic. Until tonight, their unwavering, unabashed, exhausting, and often nonsensical support of Donald Trump has been separate but equal. Jeffrey Lord represented the crotchety old gentlemen demographic, while Kayleigh spoke on behalf of….well….herself, I guess, because really I can’t imagine that there’s a strong legally blonde for Trump demo. Jeffrey Lord was our historian, reminding us that Democrats were once slave owners and that, by the mere act of standing at a podium, Donald Trump was Reaganesque. Kayeligh McEnany would then appear separately, usually at a later hour, to mop up the mess of the day with dictionary definitions, poll numbers, and a high-gloss smile.
Tonight, though, they sat 12 inches from each other. They blinked and beamed when their candidate was mentioned. They booed and frowned when the electoral map showed Hillary Clinton’s clear path to 270. But where was my cute? Where was my charm? I had imagined that the moment this unlikely duo came together their double doe eyes would morph into emoji hearts exploding with confetti. There would be rainbows and unicorns and American flags everywhere just like Jeffrey Lord said he failed to see at the Democratic National Convention. Republicans young and old would come out of hiding and form a hands-across-America ring around the city on a hill. It would be spectacle with a side of apple pie.
But instead it was just a bunch of Democrats doing electoral math.
And then finally, at the 11th hour, after a commercial break and a topic change, darling Kaybot turned the meet into cute. She was praising Donald Trump for his ability to “stay on message” even when the pastor of the Flint, Michigan church where he was speaking interrupted his customary Hillary Clinton tirade to remind him that they hadn’t invited him there to make a political speech. “He has stayed on message consistently,” Kaylie offered, as if his “message” is a good thing, “It’s why he is leading in Florida, not in one poll, two polls, but the three latest polls, all reputable polls. He’s leading in Ohio in 2 polls by 4 points. He’s within 5 points in Pennsylvania and in Michigan. This is momentum that could develop into a landslide.” And there she is. That’s the animated cartoon character I wanted to saddle equally cartoonish Jeffrey Lord with. Not only did she manage to work Florida polls into a conversation about Trump disrespecting a Flint, Michigan church, but she managed to sing-song in not one number, not two numbers, but three whole numbers, all reputable numbers, in such rapid succession that no one could follow her actual point.
So, friends, I’m going to direct you back to cartoon Kaylie’s favorite game, the Merriam-Webster definition. The “meet-cute,” by Merriam-Webster’s standard, can be cute, charming, OR amusing. What this lollypop guild lacks in charm, they make up for in amusement. When Kayleigh mentioned the word “landslide,” the entire panel broke into laughter. While this may not be the meet-cute I had dreamed up for my favorite cartoon Republicans, Jonathan Tasini and the other panelists will surely remember the amusing day Jeffrey met Kayleigh.