The Great Experimenter in the Sky contrives a test that begins with one member from each of four different tribes of monkeys placed in an enclosure. Hanging from the ceiling, well out of reach, is a ripe and inviting cluster of bananas. Each one of the monkeys expresses a fervent desire for those luscious edibles, and the bickering begins over who should have the first crack at retrieving them.

The monkey called “Ted” claims that as the only real and purest simian in the group, he should be granted the initial effort. “Not so” exclaims Rand who claims that mantel for himself. In turn, he is countered by Huck who announces that he was specifically placed among them because he is the holiest and thus, much closer than the others to the Great Experimenter. The three argue back and forth at some length. All this back-and-forth is witnessed by the last monkey who has mockingly been called “Mittens”.

With the dispute unresolved, the three monkeys turn to Mittens and ask him to sort things out. After some reflection, he refuses, claims to have suddenly lost interest, and retreats to a corner. There, he contemplate how he might still get a banana once the fruit is brought down from on high.

Seeing Mitten’s withdrawal, the Great Experimenter inserts another monkey; this one widely regarded as “Jeb”. He strides in, quite full of himself, and asserts that he must go first due to his membership in the largest and most well-endowed tribe. This boasting only serves to pit the three engaged monkeys against him and the bickering resumes, now at eardrum rattling volume. So focused are the combatants and Mittens who has now fallen asleep, that none of them witness the appearance of two new monkeys; one named Barack and the other, Hillary.

With nary a word between them, as though armed with a “game plan” from the start, the monkey with the foreign-sounding moniker, lifts his cohort onto his shoulders, allowing her to fetch the bananas whereupon, she climbs down. The two then proceed to leave to the utter dismay of the remaining monkeys who now put upon each other with renewed vehemence. Obviously, they were so rapt in exercising their differences that they failed to see the need for a cooperative effort.

There is no moral to this allegory. But, it does help to explain why Republicans have such difficulty governing and winning national elections.


1. The foregoing was prompted by a friend, Jeff L., whose e-mail not only triggered your blogger’s imagination, but contributed some substance to what you have just read.