#Excelsior502 - Mitt Romney has won the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, and has, de jure, become the presumptive GOP nominee in the Great Battle to Defeat Stupidity in 2012.
I do not wish to pee in Mr. Romney's Wheaties; after all, winning a beauty contest that is typically dominated by the man who manages to dish out the most potato salad to the Godbot farm-welfare set (Iowa), or winning a contest which is designed to cater to the specific mental deficiencies of the blue-blooded descendants of 17th century witch-burners (New Hampshire) cannot be easy feats. They certainly are expensive accomplishments, I'll grant you.
But then again, it's not as if we're talking Mitt's personal fortune here, is it?
The President of the United States, strictly speaking, is not elected to pass out the corn dogs and fried Twinkies, nor is he elected to pay lip service to the questionable social psychoses of the most unreliable of political beasts -- the Northeastern Republican who's conservatism begins and ends with his wallet and special social status (so he thinks). You know, the sort who on the one hand complains the current dipshit in the White House is a radical socialist peddling dangerous class warfare demagoguery, and then somehow finds it perfectly acceptable to question Romney's unbridled capitalist past when he's winning?
But, I digress. The point is this: neither Iowa nor New Hampshire represents the will of the majority of Americans. They are simply Potemkin displays of democracy in which the purpose is not so much to begin the serious business of selecting the best candidate, but to begin the process of excluding candidates. The one's who win these two contests are typically those who have the money to spread around and who can pass an extremely narrow test based upon mostly-bullshit ideological concerns; those who haven't greased enough palms, or who can't talk the talk, fall into a secondary status which begins the process of starving them of funds and media attention.
After all, who is going to keep paying Jon Huntsman's bills in the next few months? Who would want to? But while Huntsman might be a rotten candidate who's view of Republican politics and conservatism may be skewed by his own special brand of stupidity, it doesn't stand to reason that he should be silenced for lack of funds, either. Those who cannot pass the test of Iowa and New Hampshire drop out of the race, almost a full year before any vote that really counts is actually taken. Let's not even begin to discuss the mind-boggling system of some of these states coming up in which registered democrats are able to vote in republican primaries -- talk about the potential for fucking with the integrity of the political process? -- and vice-versa.
Anyways, we're talking about Mitt Romney and why he shouldn't get all excited about his little winning streak. His problems begin in earnest next week in South Carolina, where his money probably won't buy him as many votes. The problem, from my point of view, with Mitt Romney is that he's not liable -- at this point -- to achieve much better than a dead tie with Resident O-boo-boo, and he doesn't inspire much confidence that he can do better.
Mitt may think he's begun the process of coasting to eventual victory (many in the media seem to agree), but the process is about to get tougher, as it should, and today's presumptive front-runner just might be tomorrow's also-ran. One just hopes against hope, however, that the candidates already being dismissed because of two third-place-or-lower showings aren't totally starved of the contributions they'll need to keep going. Romney will eventually falter, and someone credible will need to still be on the scene to either pick up the banner, or join his team and bolster any chances he has left.
He's (Romney) gotten his "Gimmee's". That is, he's bought all the contests that can be bought, and he'll need something extra this time. Can he deliver? Your guess is as good as mine.
Here's why Mitt's got some trouble brewin':
1. Religion: although it should not matter to anyone with a full set of chromosomes just how another goes about the process of worshipping an imaginary being, it most certainly does in the places where the primary process moves to next, i.e. South Carolina and Florida. Religion usually looms as a pretty large subject in places where incest is rampant (although I have it on good authority that, somehow, second cousins don't count), like parts of the South and Utah.
Okay, that was gratuitous. Sorry.
Anyways, the bulk of the GOP electorate in South Carolina calls itself Evangelical Christian, which is twice the stupidity for half the price. To these people, Romney's Mormon faith marks him as some sort of pagan savage. It is safe to say that unless someone puts a gun to his head, no self-respecting southern Christian (regardless of denomination) is going to pull the lever for a Mormon candidate. That's almost like joining the Dark Side, and they cancel your reservation for the Rapture.
The GOP is (shotgun?) wedded to a strategy of winning the South, which means that the party must present a candidate who can speak to the Southern Christian trinity of God, Guns and Gays, or at least gain a modicum of their trust and respect. This means they want someone who will promise to put the Ten Commandments on condom wrappers, make sure everyone gets their own RPG without a licence, and builds concentration camps to house the queers and abortionists. Okay, so that's a bit of hyperbole, but this is what truly matters to many of these folks more than most other things.
Romney represents a branch of Christianity that they cannot abide for a bunch of reasons that mostly revolve around...who the fuck cares? So far as I'm concerned, there's no difference between an Evangelical, Presbyterian, Mormon or Seventh-Day Adventist: it's all insanity to me.
But it's not just religious differences and prejudices which come into play; it's the social views attached to them that are probably even more important-yet-less-relevent in an election in which economic and systemic issues are the real vital questions. Romney's had more positions on the issue of abortion than appear in the Kama Sutra. Who knows what the fuck Romney thinks of Gay Marriage, as I haven't heard him address this question yet. The Southern Evanglical Douchebag wants those questions answered, and he'll ask them.
I haven't any confidence that Romney can explain his way out of those questions in a way that keeps him a decent level of Southern support.
2. The "Electability" Question; I question as to whether this should even be a question at all. I wonder who the fuck invented it, too. As far as I understand it, it's all about appearances and assumptions, mostly ginned up by the media so that they have something to talk about for the next 11 months.
In animagined contest between Romney and Obama, Romney should squeak out a victory, if only he can manage to avoid saying anything completely out of left field. Obama is such a bad president and rotten leader that his only means of achieving victory is to count on the 40% of the population that votes democrat like most people take a dump (casually, reflexively, with little to no thought in it), and then let his opponent do or say something that make him -- on a very shallow level -- appear to be "out of touch" or "unprepared".
Romney would simply have to avoid saying anything astoundingly stupid or untrue for about four months next spring and summer. This might be tricky, as Romney has a bad habit of talking himself into corners. He's too slick, by half. He's ideologically all over the place. His thought process is half republican boilerplate, half social liberalism. It's hard to keep from saying the wrong thing, and Romney has the bad timing thing down pat.
Which is why I wonder who it is that keeps saying Mitt Romney is "electable". He's only such in the sense that the alternative is so painfully bad. Romney, on his own in a general election, is no more electable than anyone else. Romney alone does not give one hope that he can generate the down-ticket buzz that gets him a few more GOP senators and congresscritters to make his job easier, should he get elected. Romney alone is not electable, but Romney as part of a GOP team that combines two candidate's strengths is far more electable than anything else.
Which is why you hope that Santorum and Gingrich, at least, manage to stay relevant to the process, and why you also hope the candidates don't beat the rhetorical snot out of one another; Romney, should he prevail, is going to need one or both of them to shore up his weaknesses.
There's your "electability" right there: a GOP team, rather than a single persona. Let the dimwits run their deity Odoofus, divorced from a plan of action and without the ability to formulate one, against a Team America consisting of members who can focus expertise on an issue, like...say...the economy, while the other tackles government reform or foreign policy.
If the GOP runs a campaign of personalities and "It" factor, it looses with Romney. It must offer a solution that is not based on such intangibles as who has the nicest hair, speaking voice, or is better-dressed. That's how democrats vote, not adults.
I wouldn't start poping champagne corks and building floats for Inauguration Day just yet. Romney is about to be vetted some more, and in ways which he hasn't had to deal with, either. Stay tuned.