By Sean Cruz
In all the years that I’ve been interested in politics and elections, I’ve never seen the Republican Party offer such a target-rich lineup of squirrels and near-imbeciles, even multiple Mormons, and yet there is still time for more candidates to join the fun, particularly with the line has grown so blurry between candidates, former candidates, non-candidates and maybe-candidates.
Was it only four years ago that the GOP Laff Riot Comedy Team had just two players, moose-fed Sarah Palin and the utterly unselfconsciously stupid Joe the Plumber? Where the heck is Joe and his plumber’s butt these days, anyway? So fickle were his supporters, where did they go?
This election cycle, the characters are coming so fast and opining so frequently that it’s hard to keep up.
We owe this phenomenon in large part to the proliferation of cable TV and radio “news” channels with 24 hours to fill each day, and about 45 minutes of actual information to give the padding a veneer of topicality, and the extreme partisanship that dominates GOP primaries.
The rancor on the right is so extreme that the killing of Osama bin Laden is as swiftly forgotten as the fact that it was the Bush administration that set the nation into economic freefall just two short years ago. These people are not going to let themselves become confused by either facts or history. There’s less than a 50% chance that what the GOP candidates say is in the Constitution is actually in there, not that their base can tell one way or another.
For example, GOP “No-longer-a-witch” and soon-to-be-perennial cable nutball Christine O’Donnell is getting some national cable TV face time over something she calls a “book,” that ought to come bundled with crayons, like Sarah Palin’s.
Herman Cain is running a vanity campaign with absolutely no chance of success, attempting to make a direct transition from right wing cable TV commentator to president of the United States and, when you think about it, that’s pretty funny. Everything he says evaporates into thin air the moment the words come out of his mouth, but his presence on the debate stage masks the racism that inhabits the Republican base.
Although not officially campaigning, former Alaska half-term Governator Sarah Palin (aka “The Quitter”) has found life if not intelligence on cable TV, where she fills those spots when they have run out of actual news. I look forward to another Palinesque lesson in American history like her take on the famous ride of Paul Revere, who warned the British that we colonists have guns and so on and so forth. A camera and a microphone are like crack cocaine to Palin, which brings us to….
Michelle Bachmann’s bright-eyed declaration that she is going to bring back $2-dollar-a-gallon gas stirred some interest for half an afternoon, and the more she talks, the more she will take her campaign into Wackyville, where, to be fair, she will not be alone….
Ron Paul isn’t an actual Republican. He’s a Libertarian, but none of those nutballs ever get elected as a Libertarian, only as a Republican, and most hard-line Republicans can’t tell the difference anyway, because that would involve reading actual books….
Newt Gingrich is understandably mostly an embarrassment to the rest of the field, and this just 13 years after his run ended, ruling the Republican roost. Most of the GOP electorate has long forgotten whatever it was that he did back then that they liked the sound of so much, something about a Contract with America….
Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy was doomed when he demonstrated that he didn’t have the cojones to confront Mitt Romney to his face on national TV. Whenever the USA gets around to electing a woman president, she’ll have pa-lenty more cojones than Pawlenty ever dreamed of, let that be a lesson to somebody out there….
Mormons Mitt Romney and John Huntsman are keeping their heads down, avoiding public exposure even at this stage in the race and the questions about their Mormon magic panties and why God loves Salt Lake City best, and which planet do they plan to rule over in the afterlife, and do they think that their experience as President of the USA will make them a better God, that will surely be coming their way, better later rather than sooner….
The 2012 GOP presidential bench is as deep in numbers as it is shallow in brainpower, with this list of declared candidates that you probably never heard of, and with this writing probably the first and last time that you will ever see their names in print. I will boldface them so as not to give the frontrunners yet another advantage: Jon Greenspon, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Andy Martin, Thad McCotter, Jimmy McMillan, Tom Miller, Roy Moore, Buddy Roemer and Vern Wuensche. You’ve probably heard of Rick Santorum. He’s in there too, and just to prove that I didn’t make any of this up, here’s the link:
While it is easy to laugh at the inane antics of much of the GOP field, some candidates warrant attention for the potential dangers they pose to the nation, for the way they animate the lunatic fringes, none more so than Rick Perry.
Rick Perry’s blustery suggestion that Texans might treat Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “ugly” recalls the ugly way they “treated” JFK down in Dallas or the “good old days” when Texas justice was meted out with a nearby tree and a rope.
There is no question that sort of talk appeals to the Timothy McVie’s out there, the gun nuts and White Power crazies. Even the Bible-thumpers out there on the religious right are drawn to this line of thinking, Old-Testament blood and slaughter, and a world only about six thousand years old, ruled by God’s Chosen People, who have formed the Tea Party….
Perry’s Texas swagger channels George W. Bush just when the former Moron-in-Chief was disappearing into the history books, if not the trillions of dollars of indebtedness and thousands of grief-stricken military families he saddled the nation with in eight very recent years….
The last thing this nation will ever need is another president who believes that the sun revolves around Texas and that God drawls into his ear….