“Dancing with the Stars” is, as the name suggests, a dance show/competition. While the winners (and losers) are determined by a vote by the public, it usually turns out that the “star” who is the best dancer or makes the most progress in the course of the show, wins. America, generally speaking, gets it right.
All of which brings us to the very curious case of Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary who made his debut on “DWTS” Monday night.
Spicer danced a salsa while wearing a very lime green and very frilly shirt and a pair of white pants. The three-judge panel didn’t love the performance, giving him a 12 (out of a possible 30) score. “What were you doing there?” one of the judges asked Spicer, according to the Daily Beast. “It’s like you were being attacked by a swarm of wasps.”
That’s not terribly surprising. After all, Spicer has zero background in dance. His professional partner on “DWTS” described him as starting at a “pre-pre-school level.” And being bad at dancing while on “DWTS” isn’t exactly a new thing. Master P, David Hasselhoff, Tom Delay and Steve Wozniak — and many more — were all laughably bad on the show. (Yes, I was an avid “DWTS” fan for many years.)
What is surprising is that, within 24 hours of his first performance, Spicer himself is trying to cast his presence on the show as some sort of next front in the culture wars between coastal elites and the Make American Great Again crowd.
It started Monday night with this tweet from former Arkansas governor and longtime culture warrior Mike Huckabee:
“Wanna create an emotional meltdown in Hollyweird? Vote for @seanspicer to win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ tonight and every night he’s on. @seanspicer is a good guy and a brave sport to go on DWTS. Let’s show him some love!”
This is the sort of “own the libs!” stuff that Huckabee has trafficked in since Trump’s election. The elites look down on us regular folks so let’s show them a thing or two is a well-worn page in the Huckabee handbook.
But then on Tuesday morning, Spicer took it to a whole new universe. He retweeted Huckabee and added this:
“Thank you @GovMikeHuckabee Clearly the judges aren’t going to be with me. Let’s send a message to #Hollywood that those of us who stand for #Christ won’t be discounted. May God bless you”
Wait, what? So the reason that the judges didn’t like Spicer’s performance was because he “stand[s] for Christ”? How, exactly, did he draw that conclusion?
Following that logic, it’s safe to assume the judges are also racists because former NBA basketball player Lamar Odom, who is black, got the only score of the night lower than Spicer. Right? No?
What if — and stick with me here because this is going to get very complicated — Spicer and Odom just aren’t good dancers? What if the reason Spicer got a low score had zero to do with Christ and everything to do with the fact that, as he himself has admitted, he has no formal training and isn’t a terribly good dancer?
Wild, right? I told you it was pretty out there!
The truth of the matter is that Spicer’s scores have nothing to do with his religious faith. (He is assuming all of the judges on “DWTS” — and all of Hollwyood, I guess? — lacks any religious belief.) He knows that.
What’s Spicer doing then? Taking a page out of the victim strategy employed to devastating success by Donald Trump in 2016. Spicer is the victim here — not of his poor dance moves but rather of an anti-religious conspiracy that shuns believers. The only way to beat back this march of secularism is to vote for him!
The logical twists and turns this line of argument requires are really something — most notably that if “DWTS” was really so biased against people pf faith like Spicer, why would they invite him to be on the show in the first place?
Don’t think too hard on it. Because there’s no “there” there. Spicer is pre-butting his possible removal from the show as a means to further his own commercial interests.
If his eventual elimination from the show means he is just not a very good dancer, that’s a loss for Spicer. But if his elimination is cast as the latest blow by the elites against MAGA country in an ongoing culture war, well then Spicer becomes a hero and a symbol to a certain segment of the public. And you can make a lot more money being a hero and a symbol than being just a bad dancer.