And other obvious facts in this presidential race.
First off, let me say, this is an opinion piece on the likelihood of candidates getting the Republican nomination, not a statement on their policies, and certainly not a diatribe on why Obama is or isn’t a better choice than them. But, who am I kidding, I’ll probably make fun of some of their stances in this, too.
It’s Tuesday, so that means another meaningless primary. Meaningless for two reasons. One, because whoever ends up winning the nomination, all the negative comments said about that candidate will be ignored. Come six months from now when it’s time to start going after Obama, all the losers will act like nothing happened and throw their support behind the winning Republican nominee simply because he is the Republican nominee.
And, two, Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. He always was, no matter how much the Republicans don’t want him. Yes, there is plenty to be written on how he represents a split in the Republican party, how he is the pragmatic choice versus the other, ideological choices. There’s a lot to be said about this clusterfuck of a nomination process, but I’ll leave that to the New York Times and Jon Stewart.
The fact is, Romney is going to get the nomination, and nobody is going to be really happy about it besides Romney, but since his smile looks so fake, we won’t really be certain he’s all that happy.
Rick Santorum will not get the nomination. There’s a reason everyone ignored him for pretty much the whole run-up to these primaries. His views are batshit insane. Put him up against Obama and Obama will be shown to be what he has been all along: Centrist. The Republican party only has one chance of beating Obama, and it’s by playing to the lie that Obama is a Socialist extremist. But if you put a real extremist up against him, it becomes obvious how moderate the president really is. (I wish he were a Socialist extremist, because then maybe some shit would get done.)
Rick Perry‘s been out of the race ever since his famous ‘forgot the third one’ gaffe at the debate. Everything since then has been prologue, but, like, one of those prologues from a satirical novel where the narrator says everything tongue in cheek and it’s really just an excuse to get a few more digs at the dopey main character’s expense.
That’s been Perry’s campaign for the last couple months, and when he makes another 4th or 5th place appearance in New Hampshire, he’s gonna pull a Bachmann and drop out, hoping for the VP.
Oh, Newt Gingrich. This guy has no business doing this well this late in the game, but here he is. And he’s done it by appealing to the strongest contingent of the Republican party: The old, senile members who can’t remember what Gingrich was really like when he was in office and also don’t know how to use the internet to see that Gingrich has completely re-created himself in the image of the modern Republican party, all the while ignoring everything he was just a decade ago.
This man has balls, I’ll give him that. He’s willing to stand up for the ‘sanctity’ of marriage after leaving two different wives for younger version, one of which had cancer. John Edwards did this shit once and he hasn’t been heard from since. Gingrich just won’t go away because he already thinks he is the president. This whole nomination/campaigning process is a formality.
As ridiculous as he is, I actually think he represents the only true threat to Romney. He’s been the frontrunner not just once, but twice. Will he actually get the nomination? I doubt it, but this guy is crazy, and for all we know, it might be his snow globe we’re all living in.
Let’s see, who else? Oh, yes, Jon Huntsman. I will say this, I like Huntsman because he’s fairly sensible (even though I wouldn’t pick him over Obama), but he doesn’t have a chance, which is exactly what is wrong with the Republican nominating field. Huntsman is a sound Conservative with a non-racist, non-Cowboy view of foreign relations, and for that reason he never once got the ‘Republican frontrunner’ status that everyone, and I mean everyone (even Santorum!) got at least once. That says more about the current state of Republican party than anything. Sad.
Huntsman, we barely knew thee.
And that just leaves Ron Paul. Paul has never had a chance of getting the Republican nomination, not least of which because Ron Paul is not a Republican. He’s a Libertarian, and despite the fact that our two-party systems likes to suck up every group along a continuum under the Elephant or the Donkey, he is just too far afield to be a Republican nominee for president. Sure, he can be considered a Republican congressman from Texas because… well, have you seen the politicians that come out of Texas?
The same people Ron Paul appeals to are the same people Ron Paul infuriates, because ultimately Ron Paul (and his opposite political doppelganger from a parallel universe) exposes the hypocrisy in all of our political stances. Sure, he’s consistent, but Republicans aren’t consistent. They say they want smaller government, but they want to outlaw abortion and pass an amendment to ban gay marriage. Ron Paul wants smaller government and he won’t touch your reproductive or marriage rights (presumably), and for that reason he just won’t appeal to the buffet-style Republicans who like to pick and choose which freedoms the government should allow. (To be fair, Democrats are often the same way, just on different rights.)
I don’t have the time or interest right now to express why I think Libertarianism is ultimately an unrealistic and unworkable philosophy for a country this large, but let’s just say that Paul is the Republican boogeyman that gets pulled out when they want to whip their children into shape. When Paul starts to surge in the polls, it’s really just a reminder to Romney to buckle down, act Conservative and eat his peas.
Ron Paul should run as a third-party candidate because that’s what he is, and because while he would certainly draw away some of Obama’s youth supporters (but by no means all), he would siphon away even more of the Tea Party Conservatives, and that would be hilarious to watch.
So, there you have it, Romney is the Republican nominee. I’ve been saying it for half a year, along with most everyone who doesn’t have money to gain by pretending like this is a horse race.
Get ready Republicans. I know you don’t like it, nobody does, but this is who you have to pretend to support for the next 11 months: