So we've had a couple of debates, some straw polls, a whole lot of biased reporting and misinformation from (P)MSNBC, the New York Times, and the other usual suspects, and it's time to take stock of the GOP field.
I should probably start with a little blurb about those who AREN'T running, but who can't seem to stop interfering with the process -- and this means you Chris Christie and Sarah Palin. This "I'm not running, but I keep making noises as if I were, or making appearances at the Reagan Library to deliver keynote foreign policy speeches" nonsense has to stop. Every time Sarah Palin makes an appearance someplace, it knocks another republican candidate out of the newspapers. Every time Ann Coulter cries in her column for Chris Christie it gives potential donors second thoughts. Every sigh, every gesture, every photo op, takes the wind out of someone else's sails.
Either shit or get off the fucking pot, already.
The professional Liar Class, that is the 'journalists' at ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN, will tell you that all this excitement or doubt over the whole Palin/Christie-are-they-or-aren't-they routine is an indication of rank-and-file dissatisfaction with the eight knuckleheads already in the race. This is patently false; the consternation is caused when people who can sway a particular constituency within the GOP play these sorts of games, which the media then uses to artificially skew perceptions. Personally, I think Sarah Palin should stay home and drop some more kids to give hippie names to. I'm so incredibly sick of her that I'm beginning to regard her in the same way I usually regard Hillary Clinton...like some sort of burning and itching foot fungus.
Christie needs to finish the job he already has, and then shut the fuck up. We're already suffering under the regime of an inexperienced, pompous, windbag who's never held a real job -- nor ever created one -- and we're not going to make the same mistake again, even if it is for a Republican. If Sarah America got herself labelled a quitter after walking out on her governor's gig, what do you think will happen to Christie?
The story thus far:
* Michele Bachmann: the whole Rick Perry thing (see below) sort of stole Michele's thunder, which is a bit of a pity since Perry leaves much to be desired (more on this later), but Bachmann hasn't done all that much to help herself, either. Other than tattooing Perry over the HPV vaccine issue in debates, Bachmann has become little more than a gaffe-prone one-trick pony (taxes, taxes, taxes) who seems to be struggling mightily to stay on message and on track. Barring some great policy proposal combined with someone else dropping out of the race, the lady has just about run her course. At this point, a Michele Bachmann candidacy no longer excites anyone; it's like watching grass grow in the dark, this despite the fact that the more the media focuses on the Romney vs. Perry theme, the better Bachmann looks by comparison. Small consolation, as even if she did win the GOP nomination, she could just about manage a tie with Obama, and that probably with great and expensive effort.
* Herman Cain: My man Herman has got some momentum on his side these days. He recently won the Florida straw poll (the second he's won, I believe. The other being New Hampshire?), and he's starting to gain some traction with his economic recovery plan (the 9-9-9 Plan), his debate showings are improving. Someone had better start thinking about Herman on the bottom of their ticket, or for some Cabinet Post in a future administration, because he's THAT good. You know he's that good, because the second Herman gets any attention whatsoever, some celebratard or aging "Civil Rights" douche comes out of the woodwork to call him Uncle Tom, and the Tea Party people who support him, racist. Herman's got along way to go, but he's at least made himself relevant to this process, and probably for years to come, win or lose.
* Newt Gingrich: just as Rick Santorum cannot reach into the past (see below) and turn ancient history into electoral gold, neither can Newt Gingrich. Newt can revive the old Contract with America of 1994, and we'll love him for it, but he hasn't got the proverbial snowball's chance in the Netherworld. Primarily this is because Gingrich himself, a brilliant man, has shown himself to be incredibly fucking lazy. This is a fatal flaw which combined with his reputation for adultery, and the unfair residue of the Ethics Witch Hunt he was subjected to when he was hounded out of Congress by House Democrats, spells the end of any realistic chance Newt ever had. He cannot win very many primaries in which 'real' conservatives (the sinners eager to cast the first stone, so to speak) hold sway, and he generates very little excitement except amongst political junkies. Oh, and he generates no cash for his campaign coffers, either. Matter of time before Newt hangs 'em up, much to my disappointment.
* John Huntsman: I'm still trying to figure out just WHY Huntsman is still running, and then I suddenly remember: Oh yeah, he's the guy with all the Free Trade money behind him who wants to be President so that we can ship even more jobs overseas, but with lower taxes for those who did it. Some advice for Mr. Huntsman: Mormons who preach what amounts to economic surrender to China don't do well in Southern primary states. In fact, they usually cause a great number of older southern gentlemen to start appearing at White Sales...for fittings.
Based on this religious bigotry premise alone, his candidacy is rather a Quixotic affair. Paired with a "More-of-the-Same-But-With-Less-Regulation-And-Lower-Taxes-for-the-expropriator-class" economic policy, it's the height of hallucinogenic fantasy to believe in eventual success. Save some donors some cash, go back to Utah, and go back to running your family's vast industrial empire, with all it's cheap Chinese labor and overseas tax shelters.
* Ron Paul: Okay, all you Ayn Rand fans out there, you've made your point. Now go get sober. It's extremely difficult to sell a political platform that combines so many contradictory notions: to be a Libertarian you must be fiscally conservative, but socially Liberal, and opportunistic about when to be either or both. You need to believe that Poverty is a Moral Failing, but your own Drug Use is no one else's business. You believe that Charity Begins at Home, unless someone is ringing your doorbell and asking for a donation. And you have to pretend to be a principled defender of Liberty while you do it. Personally, I happen to cleave to much of Libertarian philosophy, it's just unfortunate that most Libertarians make me want to puke. Ron Paul was once endearing in that Crazy-Uncle-you-kept-locked-in-the-attic sort of way, and he made a great deal of sense, but now it's looking like a protest vote for the sake of having one. Which is completely an apropos thing for Rand's acolytes to do. Perfectly in character for a movement devoted to drama queens and prima donas.
* Rick Perry: Let's begin by quoting Buddy Cianci, former Providence Mayor and radio personality, on Perry:
"He reminds me of the guy Columbo used to chase around on Sunday nights..."
The steam seems to have gone out of Perry's candidacy of late, but then again that steam was wholly manufactured; it was built up during the Iowa primaries (which Perry, conveniently, missed) by images of him attending highly-publicized prayer breakfasts in Texas, while the other candidates were out doing retail politics. In other words, Perry's candidacy is only viable for as long as he get a crucifix in the picture, hint at a Social Conservative agenda, or manage to pray before a television camera. It's beginning to look as if Perry is a cardboard cutout; he has made no policy pronouncements, he sucks donkey balls in debates, he often seems confused and inarticulate. There's very little 'real' conservative there, other than the church attendance: he has problems with Illegal Immigration, the HPV vaccine kerfuffle, and one gets the distinct impression that Rick Perry is simply a conservative democrat pretending to be a conservative republican. That 'republican' tag is stuck on with Velcro, and not Crazy Glue. I wouldn't ask Rick Perry for directions to the outhouse, seeing as how he's gotten his Left and Right confused.
* Mitt Romney: It is unfortunate that in our Green America of 2011, we even resort to recycling in a Presidential Nomination contest.
Romney is every northeastern Liberal Republican you've ever heard, just in a better suit and tan. You need to give Romney some credit because his message is just fine: he's identified the proper theme to carry into the next election -- Economic Renewal -- and unlike most of the other candidates he has the resume and chops to sell it. Where Romney fails, though, is his inability to admit mistakes, especially vis-a-vis Healthcare. The entire Obamacare-hatin' nation is waiting for Mitt Romney to say those magic words about RomneyCare: "I made a mistake, but I've learned my lessons...". Instead, Romney dodges the issue, one day saying it's the best thing since penicillin, another saying it was all a matter of state's rights, and on yet another, changing the subject back to economics ASAP. Just say the words, Mitt, and all shall be forgiven.
Or at least most can be...
Romney's other problem is his penchant for a"Too Cute by Half" campaigning style. He doesn't go in for straw polls (probably to save money), even though these things can generate buzz. He doesn't do much media (the better to avoid the expected RomneyCare questions), and thus far, his attentions have been focused on someone who's probably not even much of a long-term threat, Rick Perry. It's like watching the smart-ass frat boy and the dumb-ass shitkicker engaged in a schoolyard bout of "Oh yeah? Well, MY Old Man can beat up your Old Man...".
Romney ought to get his thumb out of his ass, like yesterday, and start doing things; Make policy speeches. Set out your goals. Go after Obama, and not Perry. Make the case that even if you are little more than a slick campaign attached to a Reagan-esque economic theme, you are still a better choice than the Polished Turd currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Romney is already operating under the handicap of being a Mormon in a GOP that lives and dies on Southern Bible-thumper votes in lieu of Independents (see Huntsman, above), but until Romney can do these things, convincingly, and without that faint aura of slippery eel that seems to cling to him, he's doomed.
* Rick Santorum: Really, is he still in this race? Why, exactly? Why is it that someone actually believes that a Social Conservative reciting a 25-year-old resume is the perfect candidate to lead America into both Economic Recovery, and into the 21st Century? What drugs are these people taking? The old style Ultra-Right-Wing agenda of Social Values, Prayer in Schools, Ten Commandments and Nativity Scenes Everywhere, March the Abortionists to the Ovens, and the Second Amendment above all, is rather passe . It tends to fall by the wayside when people don't have jobs, because those are issues that people not fighting for survival have time...and food...to worry about. The Social Conservative Agenda is one that only flies in times of economic prosperity, when bellies are full, and portfolios are humming. Santorum himself, while smart and earnest, strikes me as someone who was late in his toilet training, and who spends far too much time on his hair. He is a candidate for another time, and another place, and that time was the 17th Century, and the place was Salem, Massachusetts. If I have to be subjected to another sentence that begins "What I did in 1993 was...." or "I was sponsor/co-sponsor of this, that or the other in 1995...", I might have to go on a killing spree. If I have to listen to Santorum complain one more time about how no one pays any attention to him, I might have to slit my own wrists.
There's a reason why no one pays attention to Santorum; "Remember When..." is the lowest form of conversation, and it's even lower when it's "Remember When" about shit no one actually cares about, and which never did a thing to change anyone's life for the better. It's all made far worse when it's attached to a self-righteous and smug attitude that is far out of proportion to one's legitimate accomplishments. Get off the stage, Rick; you're wasting your time.