Maybe you can learn something from Tom's civics lesson on America's political factions

I recently had the opportunity to coach a foreign-exchange student from Germany. The young lady's name is Eva (no, really) and you pretty much knew she was from Germany before she even opened her mouth. Her grasp of English was quite good as long as she was being spoken to slowly and clearly. That's why I talked really fast whenever I called her "Master Race." She finally caught on and said, "Zat's not funny any more." So I switched to calling her The Girl From Brazil. (Even if she and her teammates heard what I was saying, they wouldn't get the reference.)

Eva was taking a class in U.S. government and she asked me to help her understand the differences between the various political parties in the United States. I told her the following story.

A Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Party member and a Libertarian approach a four-way stop at the exact same time. After all have come to a stop, the Republican goes first, believing in his heart that he is in the right, both politically and morally. The Tea Party guy would go next because he really doesn't give a crap about anybody else and he hates the fact that the Republican didn't defer to him, as in most other cases. The Libertarian goes next, not angry with the other drivers but upset with the government intrusion into his life, what with installing stop signs and all. The Democrat goes last, fearful that the other drivers might be armed. She still wasn't clear on it, so I gave her some more examples as to how the parties differ.

They include:

In dealing with the rapidly shrinking middle class in America, the proposed solutions would be:

• Democrats—Try to help poor people move up and help those currently in the middle class to at least maintain their position.

• Republicans—Make more rich people.

• Tea Party—Defund Obamacare.

• Libertarians—Legalize drugs.

In the matter of climate change:

• Democrats—Ban coal.

• Republicans—Ban science.

• Tea Party—We live in a cave where the temperature is always the same.

• Libertarians—Mother Nature is a saucy wench; leave her be.

If we just got our butts whupped in the last election, the best strategy going forward would be:

• Republicans—Just pretend the election didn't happen.

• Libertarians—We've never won anything, so let's just arm people and give them lots of drugs.

• Tea Party—Double down on the toxic agenda that most Americans find completely repugnant and, at the same time, try to rid the Republican Party of people who have a chance of winning a general election.

• Democrats—We won, so we should now find a way to be complacent and incompetent at the same time.

People in this country illegally are looked upon as:

• Democrats—Future voters.

• Republicans—Future gardeners and landscapers.

• Tea Party—Current commie invaders.

• Libertarians—A potential source of soon-to-be-legal drugs.

Favorite McCarthy:

• Democrats—Eugene. He ran such a spirited campaign until his anti-Vietnam War dinghy was swamped by the wake of the Bobby Kennedy speedboat. But we all know how that turned out.

• Tea Party—Anti-science moron Jenny. In this day and age, the most dangerous person on the planet is the suburban parent who is sorta informed. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism and while parents have the right (given to them by the anti-science idiots in the Arizona Legislature) to opt out of vaccinations, they should not have the right to send their ticking-time-bomb germ factories to school with normal children.

• Libertarians—Charlie. Many Libertarians believe that Charlie McCarthy was the half-brother of Candice Bergen.

• Republicans—Joe. Right-wing politi-skank Ann Coulter has been quoted as saying that Joe McCarthy saved America. From what, exactly? Free speech? It has never been against the law to be a communist in the United States, nor should it be. It's just stupid, but if stupid was against the law, our prisons would be full of people who drive monster trucks, root for the Cowboys or listen to Lana Del Rey.

The treaty with Iran:

• Democrats—A cautious first step in a pragmatic approach to a problem that has helped make most Americans grow weary of being in constant run-up-to-war mode.

• Libertarians—After much spirited debate at our party conventions (generally held at Red Roof Inns during the offseason), we have come to acknowledge that other countries exist. That doesn't mean that we have to talk to them.

• Republicans—Treason.

• Tea Party—TREASON!!

Eva got an A-minus on the paper. I think her teacher was a Whig.