Why is it that when one political party finds itself in deep doodoo, the other, given a golden opportunity, systematically self destructs? It’s annoying, to say the least. I usually vote Democratic, so I shouldn’t care about the current Republican fiasco, but I do. Because politicians should be better at what they do. They’re supposed to be professionals, yet it’s difficult to diffentiate this primary season from a Washington amateur hour.
It’s especially annoying because one can’t get away from it. Every day we hear about one or more of the candidates gaffing his way through the issues. Turn on your car radio, and you’ll hear that Romney has changed his mind about Medicare…again. It’s “unsustainable” but make no mistake: we have to “stand fast” in our support for our seniors. Recently branding himself a “Massachusetts moderate,” Mitt explained that “It’s perfectly normal for a patriotic woman (his wife) to own a couple of Cadillacs.” Once upon a time rich guys compensated for their financial status by championing liberal causes like social programs, and keeping their mouths shut about their personal situation. I guess that’s over. Sometimes Mitt’s a liberal conservative. Or a moderate liberal. Or maybe a conservative moderate? But he’s never not a rich guy.
We also hear that Santorum’s campaign is making robo-calls in Michigan, asking Democrats to cross over to vote against Romney. Why? Aren’t there enough Republicans for him to win? Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it, because a few weeks before he nay-sayed the idea of open primaries, calling it a pollution of the primary process. Better yet, on ABC’s “This Week,” Rick commented that John F. Kennedy’s call for a separation between church and state made him want to “throw up.” We know the feeling, Rick.
Longtime Georgia congressman and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says the primaries are a roller coaster ride. Really? He has a block-buster strategy: “My basic hope is to pick up some delegates virtually everywhere, pick up a lot in the South, in the Southwest, and then with Texas and California be totally in the race.” I guess it’s never too late. You’d think Gingrich has been around long enough to realize that a candidate who can’t sustain momentum is dead in the water. Whatever, his sound bites are cute; like when he told a group of evangelicals, “We have to stand up for ourselves.” What exactly would that look like, I wonder?
Then there’s Ron Paul, who’s about to launch an ad campaign called “Three of a Kind.” In it, Romney is a “flip-flopper who supported TARP bailouts,” while Santorum’s a “massive spender who supports Planned Parenthood.” Gingrich is a “serial hypocrite who lobbied for Freddy Mac before the housing crisis.” Giving credit where credit is due, I concede that Paul’s basic point rings true: he’s a “man apart.”
I’ve lost count of number of debates, whose serious engagement with the issues remains inversely proportionate to their frequency. Each guy seems to say what he thinks will get his campaign back on track or maybe add momentum. The sum total of any of their respective remarks not only defies logic; it’s so fundamentally inauthentic that we want to, well, “throw up.” I’m hanging in though; super Tuesday is right around the corner.