Saturday, March 31, 2012

Romney Juggernaut Chugs Toward D.C.; Good-Bye Newt

Three primaries Tuesday lie solidly in Mitt Romney country as The Race turns from the Deep South to the Solidly North: District of Columbia, Maryland, and Wisconsin. With 98 delegates up for grabs in winner-take-all fashion, Mr. Romney has a solid chance for a clean sweep, pushing his total delegate count over 600.

It has been a good week for the Romney camp. Endorsements pour in, as the wind sniffers sniff the wind, and the Meretricious Mormon has gotten the nod from such Republican notables as Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and Poppy Bush. Also, Secret Talks have been reported – and verified – between the Romney camp and Newt Gingrich. Though they downplay the Louisiana meeting, pretending such Secret Talks happen all the time (though apparently they don’t), the smart money is on the likelihood of Newt dropping out, should a future President Romney make it worth his while. A ride on Air Force One will no doubt be part of the deal, though we suspect Mr. Gingrich wants more. A cabinet post would do it, but that will happen sometime when Darfur freezes over. We suspect an ambassadorship will seal the pact. Someplace First World, hopefully out of the way enough to prevent his ADD-influenced maunderings from inadvertently triggering a world war. Poland, perhaps. Callista has roots there. We can picture them, the toast of Warsaw, Newt having his picture taken with four-legged luminaries at the Polish National Zoo (50 zloty a pop?) while Callista sits in on French horn with the Polish National Symphony. It is indeed time for the Grand Old Nobody of the right to fade to black, and though we do not particularly wish him well, we do not particularly wish him ill, either. We simply wish him gone. And soon, we suspect, our wish will be granted.

Returning to more relevant matters than Newt Who?, the young anglers of the right are fishing outright for a VP nod. Marco Rubio of Florida would be thrilled with the spot, as would Paul "I Laugh As I Kiss the Third Rail" Ryan, both of whom are young and cute in that clean-cut Republican way that is increasingly synonymous with closeted homosexuality. We advise Mr. Romney to, yes, go with young and attractive, and a high Q rating, but get somebody more obviously hetero, for god’s sake, and maybe think outside the box: a Kardashian would do the trick. Well known, hetero with the sex tapes to prove it, solidly Republican, and vapid enough to seem "real" to the party base. Not "elitist." No "fancy-pants" book learning. "Stupid."

Romney/Kardashian. You heard it here first. For reals.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rick Santorum: 2016 Republican Nominee?

The races of the past week show us nothing new. Mitt Romney is on track to win the presidential nomination for the Republican Party, but his support is weak in the nation’s strongest GOP bastion – the Deep South. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are wasting everybody’s time with their continued march to oblivion. And Rick Santorum is shaping up to be the presumptive front-runner in 2016.

Santorum looks at times like the Real Deal. He has the unerring sense of placement – a bowling alley, a gun range, a batting cage – that eludes his rivals. While Santorum is at a shooting range, bolstering his cred for the gun fetishists who own the GOP, Newt Gingrich is pontificating at Tulane University (take that West Georgia College!) And Santorum looks good doing what he does. When he takes cuts in the batting cage, he frankly looks just about as slick as Barack Obama did some four years ago knocking down that three-point shot in front of the troops.

Santorum has run a shoestring campaign, amassing a legitimate number of candidates even though he’s being outspent by Croesus at a rate of some (depending on estimates) 6- or 10-1. His core economic message resonates with the GOP base – rip the whole effing planet to shreds so y’all can buy a bigger pick-up truck, and worry about the future when it gets here (addendum: by then we’ll all be in Heaven – us good folk, anyway. Anybody got a problem with that?) When he stuck to the economics, and what the pundits call the "personal story" – Grandpa was a coal miner – he crawled into the lead in national polls and seemed poised to take the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy – I mean, the GOP nomination – from Romney’s groomed and grasping fingers. But then, invariably, Santorum the amateur reared his head.

When he turns into Father Flanagan, Rick Santorum can’t get elected to anything, not even Sheriff of your average-sized Arizona county. Even among the most Puritanical and sexually conflicted group of our time – the base of the Republican Party – it doesn’t play to castigate folks for using birth control. And frankly, the Gay Marriage Wedge Issue just ain’t gonna fly no more. The Repubs might as well try to revive miscegenation laws, for all the good that one’s going to do them – we’ve moved beyond it, people. When Rick turns into a dick, his numbers collapse. The presidency might be a bully pulpit, but we really don’t want a bully in there who thinks it’s an actual pulpit – we don’t need to be lectured to by a guy who really thinks his church is the Universal Church. It’s not, and most of the rest of us – left, right, center, gay and straight – don’t need to be told that we’re bad people because we use a condom.

Rick Santorum will not win the nomination this time around. Romney is way ahead in delegates and in popular vote. The super-delegates haven’t even weighed in yet, and they will go to the Romney camp almost without exception. But in November, Romney will lose. He can barely put away Father Flanagan, even with a 10-1 dollar advantage. Against President Obama, with the money being roughly equal, Romney will show how mediocre a candidate he really is and we will have four more years of Obama/Biden.

In 2016, though, Rick Santorum will be able to make the compelling case that the GOP should have chosen him – a Real Conservative – back in 2012. Presumably he will be better funded and will run a more legitimate campaign (by that we mean the little things: get on the ballot in Virginia, for instance). He will be the front-runner right out of the chute, and will remain so until he shows the base that he has not matured as a candidate, that he would rather indulge himself in sharing his personal catechism with the world. Is he capable of maturation? Those possessed of absolute truth seldom are. But if he really wants it all in four years, he had better do some serious soul-searching, and figure out how to keep Father Flanagan under wraps.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Romney Rout in Illinois -- Time to Track Toward the Middle?

With his Illinois blowout, Mitt Romney has all but formalized his party’s nomination for the presidency. His numbers were substantially better than anticipated, with at least 42 of the state’s 69 delegates thus far apportioned to him. With the coveted Jeb Bush endorsement (we’re being ironic), he should power his way to victory, regardless of Rick Santorum’s likely win in Louisiana this Saturday.

The Romney camp is embracing the idea of hitting the "reset button" on the campaign after wrapping up the nomination, which Santorum loudly condemns as the telegraphing of Romney’s intent to track toward the ideological middle during the general election. Although it is certain that Romney will have to move in that direction to have a chance of defeating a personally popular centrist president, to explicitly point out the strategy is considered bad form at this stage of the primary. The far-right base of the GOP will attempt to punish him in states such as Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas.

Frankly, though, conservative voters aren’t going to embrace Mitt Romney regardless of what he says or does at this point – they’re not too thrilled with any of their candidates this cycle, and short of Sheriff Arpaio, we really can’t imagine anybody they would conceivably warm to. The vaunted A-list – those luminous Repubs who aren’t running this time around – doesn’t seem so luminous once we look at them, certainly not through the blood-colored lenses of the far-right GOP voter. Chris Christie? Didn’t he say nice things about Whitney Houston? GONG. Mitch Daniels? Doesn’t the issues with the wife make him unelectable? GONG. Jeb Bush? Can a guy with the last name "Bush" ever be elected president – really, isn’t it an even greater millstone than the name "Hussein"? Yes, actually, it is. GONG.

There’s only one Republican with a smidgen of charisma on the national scene that we can think of – Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown – and he is not nearly histrionic enough for the rabid right of the GOP to ever embrace in a presidential primary race. But he would be quite formidable in a general election, where centrism rules and moderation wins a four-year lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Even if Mitt Romney does track toward the middle, we suspect he will not have a chance against one of the finest orators, and one of the most skilled counter-punching politicians we’ve ever seen. And Barack Obama’s billion dollar war chest won’t hurt, either.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mitt "The Accidental Frontrunner" Romney Inches Toward Nomination

Three primaries this week will probably result in a solidification of the status quo in the GOP race to the nomination. Our skilled handicappers tout the races this way: Puerto Rico, today, will go for Romney, Louisiana, Saturday, for Santorum, and Illinois, sandwiched between them on Tuesday, will be a draw.

Puerto Rico: 23 delegates are up for grabs in winner take all format, should the winner receive over 50 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney will likely do so, as he is in Full Campaign Mode of "promise them anything and deal with it later." They want statehood, fine promise them statehood. He has done so unequivocally, while Rick Santorum, with quite a petulant tone in his voice, is all peeved that not enough of them have learned English yet. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are non-factors in the race, at this point, though we suspect something interesting will happen in the Paul camp during the August convention. Prediction: All 23 delegates for Mitt Romney.

Illinois: 69 delegates will be awarded proportionally, 3 each per the 18 congressional districts, with the remaining 15 delegates awarded at-large and as party bonuses. The Santorum team failed to get on the ballot in 4 of the districts, giving Romney a guaranteed 12 delegates before the voting begins. Otherwise, Santorum will be competitive even though he is being outspent considerably in the Land of Lincoln. Romney will do well in the urban north; Santorum, the rural south. Ah, Southern Illinois. We remember it well. George Wallace country, as we recall... Prediction: Romney, 34 delegates; Santorum, 23.

Louisiana: 46 delegates, awarded proportionally. This will be the last gasp in the south for Alpha Team Gingrich, and we predict he will receive 10-12 delegates. 20 for Santorum, who will continue to do well in the south, and a dozen or so for Romney.

By the end of next Saturday, then, the overall delegate tally should be something like 69 for Romney and 43 for Santorum. We officially dub Mitt Romney The Accidental Frontrunner, and we think it will stick. When you encounter the moniker online, remember you heard it here first. Unless somebody else has beaten us to it. In which case, we must acknowledge that there really are no original thoughts these days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Romney Loses Big -- Extends Delegate Lead

The Rick Santorum camp is claiming huge victories in the contests last night, with their incremental victories in Alabama and Mississippi. Mr. Santorum does indeed succeed in the bastions of traditional Religious Right-Wingery, in those Bible-belt places where snakes speak in tongues and folks bow to Mecca five times a day, or whatever it is they do. Mitt Romney, the cultist Mormon, does not fare so well in those fabulous lands. But he doesn’t fare too badly, either, and he still managed to rack up more delegates last night than Rick Santorum.

In Alabama and Mississippi, Mr. Santorum picked up a total of 32 delegates – Mr. Romney, 23. (11-delegate lead, Santorum.) But we also had voting in American Samoa and Hawaii last night. In Samoa, Romney picked up all 9 delegates. In Hawaii, he scored 8 delegates to Mr. Santorum’s 3 delegates. Overall for the night, Mr. Romney racked up 3 delegates more than Mr. Santorum.

So – on a poor night for Mr. Romney, he still won. Inevitability, thy name is Mitt.

The Santorum camp will argue that Mr. Romney only performs well in places that are inconsequential, either to the nation as a whole (Samoa, the Marianas islands) or to the GOP in particular: Hawaii, Berkeley, New York – you know, where the voters aren’t real Americans. (Being a real American requires believing President Obama is a Muslim, the planet is 6,500 years old, and the polar ice caps aren’t melting.)

Newt Gingrich managed to pick up 25 delegates last night, just enough for him to justify sticking around and playing little boy games with the new Secret Service action figures who are now shadowing him. It must be a dream come true. If only he could ride Air Force One with them. Neat!

Ron Paul, meanwhile, scored zero delegates. He will no doubt find a way to claim a great victory for the cause of liberty.

In short, the status quo remains in place, and it increasingly looks as though the Republicans will have no clear victor before the convention in August. After the Turmoil in Tampa, we suspect they will settle – inevitably – on Mr. Romney. Then the GOP’s hard-praying, gun-fetishizing base will have to pretend it truly loved that non-Christian cultist all along.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Republicans March Into Dixie; Abortion Rights Besieged

The Great Race moves to the Confederacy this week, dipping its toe today in Kansas. Though not strictly Dixie, "Bloody Kansas" was as split as the Union during the War Between the States. It should be Santorum country, with the state Legislature pushing an aggressive anti-abortion bill. (Though what state isn’t these days?) Kansas’ unique twist is, among other tactics, to raise taxes on women seeking abortions – that state’s take on the "sin tax," presumably. (One wonders how Republican Deep Thinker Grover Norquist integrates such conflicting desires.)

Georgia, voting on Tuesday, wages its own war on abortion, with an attempt to ban outright all abortions after five weeks. Newt Gingrich leads there, barely, with the latest polls showing essentially a three-way tie between him, Santorum, and Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney, who is practicing his "y’all" with varying degrees of cringe-inducing failure, actually leads in Mississippi, though that says more about how evenly split the vote is between the Two Real Conservatives than anything else, with both Gingrich and Santorum at 22 percent, and Romney in the low-30s. Mississippi also has entertained a clutch of anti-abortion bills recently, from the increasingly popular "5-week" ban to the old mandatory-ultrasound requirement. ("Make ‘em look at that little baby they’re killin’!") ("Yee-haw!) ("Y’all!")

 The Republicans, in case you haven’t caught on, will if given enough power render abortion illegal. We think all women ought to know that, and we suspect they will come November, what with the way the GOP is over-playing its hand. The Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Telling Women What To Do. We suspect they will lose the woman vote just as effectively as they have lost the African-American and Latino vote. We are trying to envision how they will manage new voter-suppression tactics against women, and we can’t, but we know they will think of something. Inventive new voter-suppression tactics, along with clever new anti-abortion legislation, seem to be the few areas of expertise this party can rightly claim.

They were, of course, once so much more. The party that now attacks with such privileged vehemence the weak and the oppressed once stood up for them. These Southern Conflicts make us think of Mr. Lincoln himself, and how this party once stood for the common good. We end with a quote from our favorite Republican:

"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Romney's 1-Percent Win Nearly Ices Nomination

Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum in the critical state of Ohio last night, all but clinching the GOP nomination. Really folks, it’s all downhill for him from here.

His margin of victory: 1 percent – fittingly, as the Plucky Plutocrat perhaps best represents the distilled essence of entrenched wealth in contemporary America. Mr. Romney will whine on command at any assaults on his hard work and bootstrap-pulling life, but the reality of the situation is that he was born the son of a wealthy car company CEO and Michigan governor, got into good colleges on the old Affirmative Action for Wealthy White People program – a longstanding practice in this country – and was immediately headhunted out of college by firms who wanted what he offered: that all-important ACCESS to power.

To borrow from the great Molly Ivins – he's another guy who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.

The race this fall will be an interesting contrast between Mr. Romney and President Obama.


We really wanted Rick Santorum to do better last night. Our finely tuned computer models (right...) predicted wins for Mr. Santorum in all the states he did win – Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota – but we also concluded he would emerge victorious in Ohio. It was close – 1 percent – but a loss is a loss, and the updated delegate count is as follows:

Romney: 371
Santorum: 155
Gingrich: 101
Paul: 60

A few votes go the other way, and the race would be much closer to a tie between the two front-runners. Considering that Mr. Santorum was outspent by a conservative margin of 6-1 leading up to Tuesday’s race, his showing is quite remarkable. It’s even more remarkable when one factors in Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul sniping much of the right wing vote that would most likely have gone to Mr. Santorum had they not been present.

Mr. Romney will undoubtedly be the unloved groom come the GOP convention, the man who was there, was just good enough, and who won’t be particularly admired by anyone outside the Mormon enclaves of the west.


Speaking of Newt Gingrich: He isn’t going anywhere. He won his home state of Georgia – no surprises there – but the real news is that he is now receiving Secret Service protection. He must be delighted. This new turn alone will keep him in the race for at least another two months. Mr. Gingrich is a 12-year-old boy trapped in Jabba the Hutt’s body, and he now has a new toy to play with. Moon Base Gingrich gets to be Secret Service Agent Man Gingrich. Callista will probably enjoy the attention, too. Best of luck to Team Gingrich in the upcoming primaries Way Down South in Dixie, where fantasies continue to trump reality.


The moral center of the Republican Party suffered a sudden collapse this weekend, as Rush Limbaugh finally managed to say something that got normal people to take a look at him and the hate he has peddled for twenty years. You know the story, we will not relate the details, suffice to say that some 35 advertisers have pulled away from Mr. Limbaugh and the rest seem headed for the doors. He is bragging about all the advertisers who are always clamoring to sign up with him, and, indeed, two have reared their heads:, and Seeking Arrangements is a matchmaking site that hooks up attractive young women with wealthy older men. Ashley Madison is a dating site for married folk to meet fun people on the side. We look forward eagerly to new developments in the Limbaugh saga.

Another interesting week for what remains of conservatism in America – but they beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly....