A Dysfunction of Sorts

Dear Doctor:

I know I wasn’t due for a therapy session until March, but frankly, things are getting out of hand. I have this obsession with politics. I watch all of the debates — every minute of them, even the post-debate discussions. During bathroom breaks, I pause the DVR because I’m afraid I might miss a candidate pandering to me.

At parties, I do Mike Huckabee impressions and no one laughs, maybe because they think I’m doing Gomer Pyle. I have affected a laugh like Chris Matthews, as if I am suffering from some political version of Tourette’s syndrome. I almost had a nervous breakdown when we went away for a weekend and I had forgotten to tape "Meet the Press," or was it "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos? I watch one and tape the other every week.

I can quote the latest Wall Street Journal poll results in California. I am familiar with the names of each celebrity endorsement and can recite them the way I used to know the Phillies lineup. No, Chuck Norris is with Huckabee not McCain. McCain has Stallone. Susan Sarandon hasn’t come out yet, but has voiced misgivings about Hillary.

I know each of the candidates’ positions on every major issue, even the ones that dropped out of the race. Hillary wants to make health coverage mandatory, Barack thinks by reducing costs, he could cover people without forcing them, Romney isn’t so sure and McCain thinks it all smacks of socialized medicine.

No, doctor, you don’t understand the seriousness of my affliction. It is definitely not just a pleasant diversion. Politics has taken over my life. If Obama and Clinton had held a debate during the Super Bowl, I would have chosen the debate. Really. I have lost all interest in anything else. I can’t tell you how many times I woke my wife up in the middle of the night to ask whether the surge is still working.

No, my wife has not left me yet, but how long can she stand it? Last night we went to dinner and I got into a fight with the waiter over whether we should cut entitlement programs or let the Bush tax cut run out. Although I often forget our anniversary, I never forget to vote — even in primaries when all that’s at stake is another term for Lynne Abraham. Recently, my worst moment came when my wife asked, "Do you know what’s happening in February?" and instead of answering Valentine’s Day, I said "Super Tuesday." Maybe that wasn’t the worst. The worst moment was probably when she wore a sexy nightie to bed and I asked, "Where’s your Obama button?"

My wife got me a beautiful hi-def TV and all I ever watch is three guys arguing on MSNBC. My wife got angry one night and did a Keith Olberman and called me the "worst person in the world." She likes to get back at me by putting pictures of Bill O’Reilly all over the bedroom. If there’s anything that will dampen ardor, it’s a picture of O’Reilly.

Mornings she likes to listen to a little music with breakfast, but I switch the dial to Michael Smerconish. And if that’s not bad enough, I’m thinking of shaving my head even though I have a full head of hair. Doctor, you ask me if we enjoy being married, but my wife says she favors term limits.

This is not a new malady for me. In college, I took a co-ed to my dorm room to see my collection of campaign buttons. One memorable evening, I invited a girl to spend the night with me and we watched election returns. We both got very excited when CBS called Illinois for JFK. Eventually we broke up over Frank Rizzo.

Doctor, each morning on the way to work, I argue with another obsessive personality over whether our immigration policy amounts to amnesty. We hit all the political buzz words during our 25-minute ride. She tells me there are two Americas and I respond by saying we don’t live in a red state or a blue state, but in the United States of America. One time I told her I’m the son of a mill worker and I’ve never been in a mill in my life. She’s a big fan of Dennis Kucinich. I’m a big fan of his wife.

I’m not the lover I used to be. Doctor, am I suffering from electile dysfunction?