GOP primaries serve hard-to-digest nuts
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There is a rumor going around that the Republican Party is currently involved in primary elections for the purpose of successfully nominating the next president of the United States.
Obviously that is not the case. What is really going on is a survey of mental health in the various states. The voters' choices in a state provide a useful guide to judge whether the people there are moderately sane, plain nuts or foaming bonkers, which I believe are the standard psychiatric definitions, although I could be wrong.
These elections/surveys are really for the benefit of Americans who are looking to move elsewhere. A quick look at the primary results can tell a person whether a state has residents of like mind or of like completely out of their mind. This is a great public service the Republican Party is performing.
For example, the people of South Carolina voted for Newt Gingrich, which indicated that the Palmetto State has a goodly pool of people somewhere between plain and foaming on the diagnostic scale, or else they have a really good sense of humor and are just pulling the nation's collective leg (the one that plays "The Star-Spangled Banner" when you pull it).
The same could be said for the states where Rick Santorum has come out on top, but, of course, I say this as a snob who wanted my kids to go to college.
My theory is that Santorum supporters may be reacting with bitter mirth to the obvious fraud that the ex-senator is working class, although nobody in his family has been that since his grandfather. Heck, most of us have dogs that are more working class than that guy, who as a senator had lobbyists for fleas.
If winning in November were the real purpose of the GOP, the main contenders in the primaries would not consist of: someone who doesn't believe in anything except his own success; a perpetual scold who thinks Americans shouldn't be using contraception because sex should never be done for fun and, besides, it can tickle; yet another who wants to build a colony on the moon, perhaps as a destination for future honeymoons; and a fourth who may live on the moon already with supporters wearing spacesuit helmets made of tinfoil.
That is why Mitt Romney has had such a struggle. While he looks quite sensible, he is very bland. He could go to the Bland People's Ball and someone would say, "Who's that bland-looking guy over there?"
But bland is good when your rivals are visibly driven by mental tempests and ideological storms. He's flexible -- so flexible that he was for his own health insurance plan before he was against Mr. Obama's close copy. Middle-of-the-roaders -- the Silently Sane Majority, I call them -- might actually vote for him in November, because his right-wing posturing seems more like a suit he has put on in the current political climate.
At least the Republican candidates plainly say who they are. They are not ashamed of calling themselves conservatives, even as they go about the task of making conservative seem like just the polite term for crackpot.
Indeed, the battle among them is about who is more conservative. That leads to endless debates in which the absurd claims and crazier counter-claims go like this: "I don't agree with any government regulations." "Well, I don't believe in any government regulations either, and my first day in the White House I will authorize children to go back into the mines." "Well, I will bring back the poorhouse, and the children will have to work in the mines and do their homework during their 15-minute lunch break."
Yes, I exaggerate a little, but only a little.
In this time of errant nonsense, where are the liberals proud to be called liberals? Once upon a time, they got the kids out of the mines, insisted on regulations to protect air and water, defeated segregation and helped educate women and secured them the vote, and for doing this and much more their name is despised.
That's because in running away from the proud term liberal, liberals have let conservatives define liberalism in lunatic ways completely at odds with reality. As the last of the unashamed liberals, let me close by saying that our philosophy may be out of sight but we are not completely out of our minds -- not like some.
That is the trump card in November when people will look to vote for sanity, the forgotten virtue on the Republican hustings, in choosing the candidate who can be best trusted with nuclear weapons.
First Published February 29, 2012 12:00 am