December 11 – Volume, 12, #12
“The Elephant in the Room”
The fight for the Republican nomination has seen more twists and turns than a Carolina back road, with twice the amount of roadkill. And this is even before any voting has started.
Former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, had been presumed to be the nominee from the moment that he conceded to John McCain after his 2008 presidential run. The Republicans after all, have long been a party that has operated largely on seniority and custom. Their nominee is usually the candidate whose “turn” it is to run, whether they engender much passion or not. (Looking at you Bob Dole) John McCain came in 2nd to George W. Bush in 2000 so he was slotted in for the nomination the next time the seat came open. And now, the chair awaited Romney.
Romney had been raising money and building up a top-notch national organization in the years since his defeat. Romney’s inevitable path seemed to open up even more when former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race on August 14, 2011 after struggling badly to raise money and underperforming in Iowa. And try as he did, Pawlenty just couldn’t tap into the Tea Party angst that has defined the GOP’s politics since the party reclaimed Congress in 2010.
Minnesota congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, tried to slip into the role of Tea Party darling and gained some traction for a short while, particularly in Iowa, the state of her birth and site of the first primary. But within about five minutes of campaigning it became clear that Bachmann possessed such a remarkable dearth of intellect and wit that she made Sarah Palin come across like a Rhodes Scholar. Like the former Alaska governor, Bachmann possesses an unfathomable level of ignorance on 5th grade U.S. history to where it quickly became impossible to take her seriously as a candidate in spite of her contentions otherwise. She’ll stay in the race probably until the South Carolina primary at the end of January, but Bachmann and everyone else knows that her campaign has been over since early last summer.
Bachmann’s death knell began when her Tea Party bona fides were undercut when would-be conservative savior Rick Perry entered the race on August 13. Coming in like a bolt of lightning, Perry immediately zoomed past Romney with such force that the Obama campaign reportedly was gearing up for a prolonged fight to win a second term, and to help save the nation from having to endure another president from Texas. Then, just when it looked like the nomination was his to lose, Rick Perry started talking.
Not only did the Texas governor waste little time on the campaign stump in proving himself to be far less articulate than his predecessor in Austin, Perry came across as being way, way, way over his head in the debates. Perry could find a cure to cancer, AIDS and the common cold, but his most famous moment is always going to be the worst debate brain freeze in the history of American politics. Maybe in the history of debates, period. On top of all that, Perry also proved to be very strange and not nearly as conservative as he had let on with his support for giving tuition breaks to the children of undocumented workers and a gubernatorial decision to require junior high girls to be vaccinated for Human Papillomavirus in an effort to circumvent cervical cancer. Being morally correct on an issue isn’t popular in Republican circles these days, so this alone might be enough to disqualify him for the nomination, even if he were even remotely competent. But he’s not. He’ll continue to provide material for late night comedy shows, but any notion of him being the 45th president of the United States is as elusive as his memory during debates.
Herman Cain was as eager to fill the void left by Perry as he is to tap some ass. Well, on second thought, maybe not quite that eager, but you get my point. In spite of quickly proving himself to be utterly clueless in regard to foreign policy, and most everything else that didn’t end in the number nine, Cain possessed enough self-loathing hatred for black people that he was able to briefly rally millions of rednecks to his cause. But in the end, being the good nigger wasn’t enough to allow him to overcome the sex scandal that was becoming almost a daily event around his campaign.
It is still possible that this cycle might change again between the time that I am writing this and the Iowa Caucus, but it seems that the race has finally taken its shape. The simple-minded mainstream media may try and paint this as being the product of some brazen political strategy, but it’s more of a case of the last men standing more than anything else. Polls support this hypothesis as none of the Republican candidates have generated a whole lot of enthusiasm. The latest front runner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is a walking time-bomb, and makes at least one effort each week to totally fuck up his campaign by saying something stupid like this. But alas, the Tea Party sees that they have nowhere to go. Mitt Romney is clearly a phony who goes whichever way the political winds blow. And not just which way they blow day to day, or even hour to hour, but minute-by-minute. Justifiably, the right-wing don’t feel that they can trust him to hold true to conservative values if elected president. And they’re probably spot-on. While Romney has consistently placed first or second in the polls from the onset, he has never risen above 25 percent among Republican primary voters, with others taking turns in being the frontrunner – less for their own merits than because they have the redeeming quality of not being Mitt Romney.
For the past two years, pundits have observed President Obama’s approval rating and have all but assumed that Barry would be a one-timer. The economy has not improved nearly as fast as most had hoped, and every president historically has faced doom with unemployment levels teetering near 9 and 10 percent throughout the balance of his presidency. Obama appeared particularly vulnerable when he saw his party lose their majority in Congress during the 2010 midterms.
Since that time the Republicans have shown what they’ll do if they get in power….the same silly shit that they did when they had it previously. What prognostications calling for Obama’s pending doom have failed to realize is that eventually the Republicans would have to send someone before the American people. And the entirety of the American people. Not just some rural district in West Virginia as was the case in the midterms. It seems that yet again, for no less than the 4th consecutive presidential election, the GOP is prepared to offer up a bunch of clowns. It’s truly remarkable what a collection of brainless, empty suits the Republican Party produces these days.
This is unfortunate on some level. The Democratic Party, and the Obama Administration in particular, has its flaws as well. Democracy works best when there’s a true opposition party whose aim is to work for the best interest of the country in spite of some philosophical differences with the opposition on how best to work towards that best interest. But that’s not the modern day Republican Party. This sorry lot is some of the most unpatriotic cats you want to find with the speed in which they are eager to help the 1 percent further sabotage the American Dream, export jobs overseas and pollute their fellow citizens. Moreover, they’re just a bunch of fucking morons and the country and the world-at-large are in such a state of disrepair that we need as many good ideas made available as humanly possible. The GOP bring precious little to the table.
American democracy is not a referendum on the federal level. Rather, it is a matter of choice. Ideally, less than a choice of candidates, this should be a choice between ideas. After all, some reports suggest that George W. Bush was chosen over Al Gore because he seemed like more of a regular guy than Gore, someone you’d want to have a beer with. But Bush’s ideas set America back 50 years. Whether the Republicans nominate Gingrich, Romney or even Ron Paul – seemingly the only Republican who hasn’t been ahead in the polls yet- there will be a clear distinction between the Republican and Democratic candidate. But this will pale in comparison to the contrast between the two parties’ ideas. And in this upcoming election, the choice between competing ideologies are stark and serious for you, the American voter.
It has been hard to keep track of where both Gingrich and Romney have stood on the important issues of the day as both have flip-flopped on a variety of matters including the Paul Ryan proposed reforms for Medicare and Social Security, the environment and health care reform. But what seems to be certain is that there are few issues in which they seem to stand with the rank and file American.
Each candidate is a staunch proponent of Reaganomics that calls for lowering corporate taxes in the belief that this will stimulate the economy by allowing corporations to have greater shares of revenue where they can create jobs. What’s more remarkable than the Republicans expecting America to have collective amnesia in recognizing that this is the same failed economic policy of George W. Bush, is the fact that Republicans aren’t embarrassed to keep supporting this bullshit.
This is not where their similarities with George W. Bush end. Romney supports “No Child Left Behind,” perhaps the worst part of Bush’s overall legacy and that’s saying a mouthful. Like Bush before him, Romney also opposes the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty which would commit the United States to trying to reduce four harmful greenhouse gases. Both candidates stupefyingly favor maintaining high troop levels in Iraq and have done unnecessary pseudo-macho saber rattling towards Iran. Quite naturally they both oppose a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion or not, and each is in support of a federal law to mandate that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Each candidate has had moments where they’ve gotten into trouble with their own party as it relates to immigration. Romney, fence sitter that he is, calls for looser immigration laws, but contends that he wants to somehow limit this relaxation to highly skilled workers only. Workers who haven’t had to go to school under “No Child Left Behind” so they can actually do the math, science and critical thinking we need to maintain our civilization. Gingrich lost Republican cool points (and yes I know that “Republican cool points” is oxymoronic) after saying in public that he felt it’d be inhumane to export illegal immigrants who have been here for years. As always though, Romney did Newt one better, or I guess one worse, by actually having hired undocumented workers at his home.
While both men’s fingerprints are on the current health care law, they have both evaded any credit for the landmark federal legislation, lest they feel the full wrath of their base who sees health care reform as Obama’s most outrageous fiat (of many) as ruler, I mean president.
And while their ideas are troubling enough, each candidate will bring considerable personal baggage into a general election. And I don’t just mean Newt Gingrich’s gut when I talk about considerable baggage. Not only is Romney the standard-bearer for flip flopping, but he made much of his fortune as an executive at Bain Capital, a company whose primary role was the elimination of U.S. jobs in an effort to cut corporate overhead. And Gingrich, of course, would have us all believe that he’s the world’s best-paid historian, making upwards of $1.8 million while lobbying –um, I mean historically consulting- for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There is much in each man’s backgrounds and policies that consistently show that they are incapable of empathizing with the struggles that many hard-working Americans are experiencing today. Gingrich wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank legislation passed in July, 2010 that intensifies financial regulation in an effort to protect American consumers. And this buffoon’s idea of job creation is firing union workers from custodial jobs to open them up for black teenagers so they can develop a good work ethic. Letting either one of these dickheads occupy the Oval Office would be even more irresponsible than the frightening thought of the curtains being sized up by the last pair of simpletons the GOP ushered before the American people.
Yes indeed, elections are choices, not referendums. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire, none of the Republican candidates can be expected to fight on your behalf. And what’s even more suicidal than a working-class person choosing a Republican to be in control of a lemonade stand (to say nothing of the country) would be to not choose anyone at all, as some progressives have suggested they might. No one can afford to sit out this election.
Much of the Republican base is sure to be extremely unhappy with their ultimate nominee. This will especially be true if Mitt Romney’s money is long enough to allow him to emerge victorious through what is sure to be a brutal primary. But come next November, Republican voters will hold their noses in mass and enter the voting booth because they’d soon enough see Charlie Sheen run the country than President Obama. WINNNING….duh.
If you are reading this, it is your civic duty to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Obama Administration has revealed itself to have a great deal many warts. However, the country can’t afford to have a Republican back in the White House. Your great, great-grandchildren would pay for the damage they’d do if given four months. God help us if they’re given four years to tear shit up. The cliché is that an elephant never forgets. Let’s hope that Americans don’t forget the damage done to America the last time an elephant was let inside of this room. Let’s keep them out to pasture a wee bit longer.
Peace and God bless,