“Just like the Pied Piper led rats through the streets, we dance like marionettes swinging to the symphony of destruction.”
The 2012 Republican primary elections have begun in earnest and the entire field is nuttier than a port-a-potty at a peanut festival.
To be sure, the whole political landscape has changed in just a few short years.
Gone are the publicly-armed militia groups and the teabaggers in colonial costumes chanting “keep your government hands off my Medicare.”
That pseudo-movement was replaced by message of “beat Obama” – a strategy that is doomed to failure in a struggling country looking for specifics on economic policy.
Let’s look at where the GOP stands as of today:
Rick Perry dropped to the bottom faster than your iPhone in toilet water. After a few major brain farts during last fall’s GOP debates, Perry’s stock plunged after voters realized they had already tried a marginally intelligent Texas Governor as president. Perry finished fifth in Iowa, sixth in New Hampshire and is expected to end his run at the place he announced it…South Carolina.
Michele Bachmann – by far the most quotable of the candidates – assures us that virtually anyone can run for president in these United States, although that may not be a good thing. Bachmann was never a factor. Unless you count the entertainment factor. She once claimed to be biblically subservient to her husband, whom through God was speaking. That’s fun stuff, there.
Rick Santorum showed up in a close second place in Iowa, raised his rhetoric along with his expectations, then got whipped like a borrowed mule in New Hampshire. Voters in the traditionally independent Granite State turned up their noses at Santorum’s vision of a theocratic America. GOP party faithful say Santorum’s record in the U.S. Senate would have been fertile ground for attack ads. Another hurdle is the fact that Santorum is not on the ballot in the Commonwealth of Virginia. An aside: What is the Christian equivalent to the bur-qua?
Tim Pawlenty. Remember him? Neither do I.
Newt Gingrich would have been a fun nominee. Gingrich left local Democrats daydreaming about the wild commercials that could possibly be run against him had he not begun acting like himself, dooming his campaign. Newt’s entire staff walked out on him last summer, leaving him alone and nearly broke. In Iowa, Newt swore he would remain positive, then went to New Hampshire and ordered his PAC to spend $3 million on ads attacking Mitt Romney. That makes Gingrich both a liar and a hypocrite. There is just too much material that could be dug up against the former House speaker. Just imagine the attack ad: Mrs. Gingrich in a hospital, on her death bed, is visited by her husband who presents his poor bride with divorce papers. See you in hell, Newt. It was fun.
Who could forget Herman Cain? You, that’s who.
Jon Huntsman may be the only candidate in the race who was dealt a bad hand by the media. Huntsman was the only candidate besides Ron Paul who wasn’t touted at some time as “front runner.” Huntsman seems like a nice guy. He’s just out of his league here, because he’s so much better than any of the rest of these people. Huntsman was dubbed a “moderate” by some media outlets, but people ignored that assertion because he isn’t a moderate. Jon went “all in” on New Hampshire and came in third. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for this guy because he is out there actually talking about his policies. Even though I don’t agree with him, I think he probably deserved to win the nomination.
Ron Paul’s appeal seems to be with younger voters who don’t understand politics. The interesting thing about him is his undying hatred for “the government”, an institution that has employed him since his first run for political office in 1976. His hardcore followers, who ramble non-stop about the gold standard, the Federal Reserve Bank and “liberty”, are sort of like those creepy people who hang out at Star Trek conventions -only less annoying. Paul came in third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and is predicted to flop in South Carolina. Paul’s wide variety of views, when taken individually, are seen as attractive by some voters. But when assembled to complete the picture of the candidate as a whole turn people off faster than your nude grandmother. Here’s the deal: You can’t elect a man to government who hates government. You end up with what we have now.
Which leads us to the man who nearly all insiders say will be the next Bob Dole, Mitt Romney.
Mitt is viewed with suspicion by some in his own party who say he isn’t conservative enough. Romney was formerly Governor of Massachusetts and CEO of Bain Capital. During his tenure at Bain, Mitt left a trail of well-documented bankruptcies, layoffs and bailouts all while enriching himself personally. I don’t know about you, but I think that makes him sound like a definitive conservative.
The L.A. Times published an article on the subject of Romney as Bain CEO, and revealed the following:
Romney and his team also maximized returns by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits. Sometimes Bain investors gained even when companies slid into bankruptcy.
Romney himself became wealthy at Bain. He is now worth between $190 million and $250 million, much of it derived from his time running the investment firm, his campaign staffers have said.
Many GOP faithful have decided Mitt is the man to “beat Obama,” but none of them knows what the guy really stands for. That says more about their lust for power than it does their desire to improve the country through leadership in the White House.
Others, however, continue to question Mitt’s authentics and privately say they are worried about his religion being a factor in the election. Mitt Romney is a Mormon, a religion few Americans understand and one which some openly mock. Something about “magic underpants.”
Damned if I know. But like it or not, Mitt Romney is the next Republican nominee for president.
Over all, these are the types of candidates one would expect to see running for office in a place like Iran, not the United States. They are a motley crew and mostly embarrassing with few details on issues besides abortion and Mexicans in the country illegally and their seething rage toward the sitting president is the only thing that unites them.
We need smart leaders. That means we need smart candidates who appeal to a majority of voters.
I am not ashamed to say I want the president of my country to be the smartest person in the room, not some jabbering dunce whom with I’d like to drink a beer.
Whatever happened to moderate Republicans? Gone are the days of Chuck Hagel and -yes- Richard Nixon. Some pine for those types of candidates but they aren’t getting them this time around.
One thing they will be getting?
Four more years of Barack Obama.
More on the internal Republican war:
“The Tea Party’s Not-So-Civil War” (The New York Times)