Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delicious Dilemma

I know I said I was going to stay away from political rants but sometimes they are just too good to pass up. As always, anything that makes Republicans look even more idiotic and loathsome than they naturally are makes me squeal and giggle like a Girl Scout who just sold all her cookies to the fat family down the street.

The 2012 Presidential election is still a year and a half away but the campaign is just getting started. The Democrats know who their nominee is going to be, so no issues there. All eyes are focused on the Republicans and their gaggle of potential candidates. And what a load of creepy, disgusting and appalling dirtbags they are. They range from the merely tiresome and eccentric, such as Texas Representative Ron Paul - who has been down this road a number of times and failed miserably, and will do so again - to really despicable, toxically ignorant buttheads like Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, Pawlenty and just about everyone else in that sorry Theater of the Inbred that is the G.O.P.

Luckily the sun appears to be setting on a couple of the more misguided candidates. The nation was diverted, willingly or not, for a couple weeks by the sad, sorry sideshow of Donald Trump, egomaniac, narcissist par excellence, and stubby-fingered vulgarian who did what he does best, promote himself and his hair to anyone who will pay attention. He thought he had a winning issue with the "birther" controversy, until their intended target Barack Obama produced a valid Hawaii birth certificate for himself and permanently shut down that little cottage industry. Right afterward, all the gas went out of Trump's presidential bid, but not before he tried to take credit for everything from the birth certificate itself to the killing of Osama bin Laden. By that time the rest of the country wised up to what a charlatan and cheap huckster Trump is and has been merciless in their criticism and condemnation of him for wasting all our time with his bullshit. And rightfully so.

Newt Gingrich's ill-advised presidential bid was barely out of the gate when he stumbled and landed right on his Pillsbury-doughboy face. He made the unforgivable sin of criticizing Paul Ryan's Economic Plan/Welfare for the Super Rich on Meet The Press last Sunday. The Republicans are pinning all their hopes on Ryan's plan, and they know they absolutely need to get everyone in the G.O.P. on board with it. The Newtster must have missed that memo, because he called Ryan's plan "right-wing social engineering," among other things, and was immediately drop-kicked by nearly every Republican pundit around and taken to task in the harshest possible terms. His remarks were in direct contrast to Ronald Reagan's golden rule, "Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans." Newter suddenly realized he stepped into a vast sea of manure of his own making, and clumsily tried to make amends by accusing the mainstream media of tripping him up with a deliberate "gotcha" question, but even Republican spin-meisters knows the only person who "got" Gingrich was himself. Watch his support and money dry up faster than the leathery skin of his weirdly robotic, bug-eyed wife.

So, who's left in this assortment of assholes, I mean, candidates? Mitt Romney, the apparent front-runner, has a huge amount of baggage he brought with him from his time as Governor of Massachusetts, where he put in place a universal health care system which was the model for Obama's health care reform package, something that Republicans absolutely love to hate and are trying to derail every way possible. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania stepped on a land mine when he criticized John McCain for knowing nothing about enhanced interrogation, a.k.a. torture. I think McCain knows a little bit about torture, after five years of it when he was a Vietnam era P.O.W., and military service is an experience that Santorum has notably missed. It seems the G.O.P.'s best hope for the White House, Mike Huckabee, is happier being a much older, really ugly version of Ricki Lake on his own surreal, cringe-inducing talk show.

The B-listers on the G.O.P. side don't fare much better. Tim Pawlenty is universally regarded as terminally boring and bland. Current Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels is also regarded as profoundly charisma-challenged. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson does not attend church, is pro-choice, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana, so he has zero chance with the drooling, knuckle-dragging evangelicals that dominate the early primaries. Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are holding up the batshit-crazy wing of the party. South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham is burdened with a southern accent, which automatically makes you sound stupid and retarded, so no thanks, I don't think so.

And then there are the Z-listers, people who think they can run as a Republican through some confluence of massive self-delusion and mental illness. These include the token black candidate Herman Cain - former CEO of Godfather Pizza, a real pre-requisite for the White House; former U.N. ambassador John Bolton - who is like some weird hybrid of Mark Twain and Charles Manson; gay-rights activist Fred Karger - HAHAHAHA!; career flight attendant Tom Miller - also HAHAHAHA!; and Houston businessman Vern Wuensche. This is the second go-round for ol' Vern, who campaigned in 2008 and came in tenth in Iowa and New Hampshire before bailing out. His campaign material makes the interesting assertion that "businesses which survive do so through the good decisions of those who run them and they are therefore exceptionally qualified for public office," which is, of course, a totally awesome thing to say.

So, for this field of potential office-seekers, which completely covers the whole range of qualities from "abysmal" to "vile" and back, their first test of electoral viability will be the Iowa caucuses. Set in the monochromatic, frozen wastes of Iowa in winter, the candidates must put on their best evangelical-Christian, Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes and work hard to appeal to one of most homogenous, non-diverse, and non-representative populations in the entire country. Required to cozy up to mostly old, white, obese farmers and their bloated, bovine wives, the candidates will be elbowing each other out of the way to get to the extreme-conservative end of the political spectrum. And thus we have the delicious dilemma that I mentioned about half a million words ago - namely that the Republicans need to appeal to the far-right-wing-nutcase branch of the party to get through the primaries, and then have to back-track and refute everything they said and scramble to the political center to appeal to everyone else in the general election. You can be sure that the Democrats will be closely watching every bit of action in the early primaries and the attack ads will practically write themselves. The Republicans have clearly painted themselves into a political corner early on, by casting their lot with the ultra-conservative factions in this country and they will have a terrible time trying to get the independent voters they so desperately need in the general election.

And I will be watching their struggle with a huge amount of gleeful satisfaction.

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