Now that you're a card-carrying member of the GOP, your remaining left-leaning friends are going to be giving you a hard time. Fortunately, countering their sweeping, emotional accusations with fusillades of common sense is easy and fun! To help you, we offer this handy FAQ.

Q: Aren't all Republicans racists?

A: Not true. Some of our best secretaries of state are black, and the only "house Negroes" we keep around these days are actual Negroes who own their own houses. In fact, the only black person Republicans hate these days is Bill Clinton.

Q: But Republican Trent Lott supported that decrepit asshole segregationist Strom Thurmond!

A: Actually, 82 percent of Republican Senators pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while a mere 69 percent of Democratic senators did the same. Also, it should be noted that Strom Thurmond was a "Dixiecrat" when he ran for President--an offshoot, ahem, of the Democratic party. Oh, and Trent Lott is a dick.

Q: Granted. But don't Republicans hate homosexuals?

A: "Hate" is a strong word. Admittedly, some GOPers think faggotry is icky, and a few even try to create legislation to that effect--but those people are slowly moving to the party fringe.

Philosophically, centrist and liberal Republicans couldn't care less about most forms of buggery--instead preferring that sex was left out of the public sphere altogether. In fact, we simply adore all six "neocon" gays; Andrew Sullivan and the Log Cabin Republicans give great policy wonk.

Putting it another way: Everyone needs interior decorators. And, let's face it, some of the best fag hags in the business have been conservative First Ladies.

Q: But don't Republicans want to take away a woman's right to choose?

A: Admittedly, many do--but there is a growing dissention on that issue within the GOP. Colin Powell brought every politician's wife to her feet in 1996 when he told the Republican National Convention that he was pro-choice.

Young Republicans agree that abortion is murder and the death penalty is murder--and they're fine with both of them.

Q: The GOP armed Iraq and the Taliban!

A: The Democrats armed Stalin.

Q: Republicans destroy the environment!

A: Privately owned lands are better maintained overall; and most doomsday scientists are French.

Q: Republicans hate the French? Cool!

A: Yes, you can convert to the GOP and still safely hate the French. I mean, really: Enough with this "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" bullshit! Plus every good Republican knows you can't have freedom and equality--and finding an unpopular balance between the two pretty much guarantees you won't have fraternity!

Q: Don't Republicans hate sex?

A: Please! Look at the women of Fox News Channel: In addition to the commentators looking sleek and voracious with their leopard-print skirts and Cheshire sneers, Laurie Dhue, Heather Nauert, and Kiran Chetry always look like they've just arrived, moist and satisfied, from a back-room swordfight with Brit Hume and Roger Ailes!

Now imagine sex with Molly Ivins.

Q: What do Republicans think of "big government"?

A: Big government is bad.

Q: Then why do Republican administrations always bully small sovereign nations?

A: Small governments can also be bad in which case big government aircraft are good.

Q: Why do Republicans always want to legislate morality?

A: You're confusing "Republicans" with "the Religious Right." Putting it another way: Far-left Democrats want to make you eat your veggies; far-right Republicans want to make you say grace first.

Thinking Republicans agree that you can't legislate morality. That said, you can make immorality illegal.

Q: The Total Information Awareness project--run by disgraced Adm. John Poindexter!--is a dangerous invasion of my privacy! And it has a creepy logo!

A: Oh, get over yourself. Most of the info being collected isn't going to be handled by people anyway, only computers. And unless you entertain some Matrix-like fantasy of evil iPods taking over the universe, what's the difference between the computers at your HMO, bank, or credit union storing this data and one more computer parsing it within the government's intelligence community? We give little actual credence to the idea that one day the U.S. will be in the thrall of a totalitarian mastermind who plans to use the information that we bought a pair of brown shoes at Meier & Frank six years ago and rented the soft-core masterpiece "Fly Me the French Way" for nefarious purposes.

Q: Aren't Republicans insidious defenders of globalism?

A: Actually, as far as political globalism is concerned, Republicans are deeply suspicious of the bloated, misinformed, and crippled-by-group-think United Nations. Over the past decade, the most persuasive arguments for a one-world government comprising superpowers, Somali warlords and Canadian separatists have come from--you guessed it--Democrats.

The only "globalism" endorsed by Republicans is reasonable corporate expansion that leads to healthy profit--for robber barons of all races, creeds, and colors.