Much to be happy about in the headlines the past couple days: the GOP has folded on the payroll tax cut, an overwhelming majority of Americans support the White House on the ginned-up "contraception controversy"; Mitt Romney’s numbers are collapsing nationally.
Republicans have fought a losing battle for months trying to kill the payroll tax cut to the middle class. We knew they were on the ropes when they tried desperately a few days ago to change the words that were being used – no longer referring to it as a tax "cut," but rather a tax "holiday." They obviously don’t want to be perceived as opposing a "tax cut," but rather than get on board with the president – which they categorically refuse to do in all situations – they have tried to change the name of what they’re opposing.
Republicans are usually very good at these word games, changing the names of things and disseminating their misinformation through their echo chamber of right wing radio shills and lapdog Congress members. We remember, for instance, when the Estate Tax became, through GOP semiotic gamesmanship, the "death tax."
The payroll tax cut benefits the working class. Therefore, the Republicans oppose it – they only go to bat for tax cuts when it benefits the wealthy. They’ve finally folded in their opposition, and even Paul "Mad Dog" Ryan admits today that the GOP was harmed by the debate.
We actually like the new term they came up with in the death throes of their anti-middle class struggle, and we hope it lives on. The Bush tax cuts shall henceforth be termed the Bush Tax Holiday for Wealthy People. It is time for the super-rich to return from their lengthy holiday and show a little pro-American, patriotic grit by paying their fair share, which they did during the Clinton era – the last time we had a balanced budget.
The GOP has explicitly shown their odd, Medieval mindset over the ginned-up "contraception controversy." They would like to convince their minions that the White House is "anti-religion," so they grab at anything that might even remotely support their intentional fallacy.
Hence, the "contraception controversy."
Not to recount the entire history of the "controversy," but to cut to the chase, current polling data indicates that two-thirds of Americans support the White House’s sensible position that health care plans should include birth control options. Yes, even for people who might happen to work in a Catholic-run establishment, a hospital or college, for instance. The birth control, remember, is optional. Nobody is making anybody get on the pill, or wear a condom, or insert something somewhere, or whatever it is the right-wing zealots are all het up over.
The demagogues of the right tried to gin this bit of nothing into a mighty furor, with the argument that the slippery slope on which it would place Our Holy Republic would lead inevitably to President Obama personally throwing Tim Tebow to ravenous lions while the rest of us chant "Hail Satan" from the stadium stands. (We would like to pause to note that we have managed to file thirty days of columns in a row without mentioning Mr. Tebow’s name. We are certain we can beat that record.)
With the new polling numbers staring every GOP politician in the face, we suspect the furor will die down to few voices other than members of the Westboro Baptist Church, sundry Vatican officials, and the elderly, allegedly celibate Catholic bishops who feel compelled to weigh in on what they would have us think is a primary topic of expertise for them.
Modernity: 1; The Medieval: 0
Mitt Romney’s campaign seems to be collapsing under the weight of his monolithic dullness. When a lightweight zealot like Rick Santorum can pass him in the polls, we have to wonder, something...actually, we don’t know how to end this sentence. The whole damn thing just makes us wonder.
Yes, Rick Santorum manages to combine the light-in-the-loafers and the dangerously zealous – all in the same little pear-shaped sweater vest. It’s quite a remarkable disconnect he embodies. We don’t know whether to fear him or despise him. Now he’s polling ahead of Mitt Romney in Mr. Romney’s home state of Michigan. Go figure.
We suspect Mr. Romney will still eke out his party’s nomination, but it is quite obvious they don’t like him all that much. Good luck with that in the general election, Republicans. But we would rather see Mr. Santorum win the primary. He combines and distills so much of what today’s GOP is all about – K Street lobbying, fear of the feminine, home "schooling," a fixation on homophobia combined with a strangely well-scrubbed "nice boy" image that just makes you wonder.... He would offer a compelling contrast with our president. Whose approval rating continues to surge. More good news, more miserable times on the right side of the aisle, and may it all continue for many, many more months.