By Jay Hansen
(Originally published November 21st, 2011)
This is a short follow-up to my last article, Musings on the Republican Primary 3. I found two news stories shortly after publishing it on which I had to shed light given the points I made about a few of the candidates, as well as a few shocking epiphanies. I will be brief, so here they are;
If you recall in the last article, I said Santorum has a small chance of working his way into the upper echelons of the primary polls. To do so, he’d have to start a serious attack campaign primarily focusing on Newt Gingrich, who’s extremely vulnerable in his current state because of his extreme corruption. The only reason Gingrich is in the top three right now is because people seem to have forgotten the depth of his corruption in the past few months, largely because the other candidates’ own corruption and stupidity hath outshone his own. All Santorum would have to do is really start beating Gingrich up (rhetorically), reminding voters why they didn’t like him in the first place, combined with his latest scandals, and he could easily make his way up. It turns out the day I published my last piece Glenn Beck indirectly endorsed Santorum for President (I say indirectly because Beck does not like to directly endorse any candidate over the air), saying;
“I think the next President has got to be Abraham Lincoln. He has got to be someone who knows exactly who he is, knows exactly where he stands, and is willing to, in the end, turn those reigns of power back over. The temptation and the pressure is going to be absolutely enormous. If there is one guy out there that is the next George Washington, the only guy I can think of is Rick Santorum.”
I don’t take slips of the tongue seriously, but this one is quite funny I must admit. Beck says the next President of the United States must be an Abraham Lincoln, and Rick Santorum is the next George Washington. I… guess that’s an endorsement?
But joking aside, if he tries, Santorum could use this as a launching pad for more media attention. Already he sent the clip out to his e-mail list asking for donations. Imagine all the vague, general political sap he could pump into his audience on the one topic of how he is the next George Washington. The problem is, though, that it’s Glenn Beck, and courting him is downright dangerous. Keep in mind, he’s the one big member of the conservative media that was too outrageous and extreme for both the FOX viewing audience and the station itself, which is already significantly further right than a majority of Republican voters, let alone America as a whole. Santorum and Beck are friends, apparently, so Santorum likely isn’t intelligent enough to know that reveling in this likely isn’t the best of ideas. It’ll take some serious smarts to play this right, because if not, it could blow up in his face. Of course, that’s assuming he actually goes anywhere with it outside of the loony bin that is Beck’s audience.
More importantly though, a news story came out Sunday about Santorum attending a forum about faith and Christianity held by the Iowa FAMiLY Leader. He came out swinging against the primary front runner, Mitt Romney, in a somewhat rare sign of a real low-blow. Santorum claimed faith is an uncomfortable topic for discussion of Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon, and that’s why Romney wasn’t at the forum.
“Clearly this was a forum that Mitt Romney was not particularly comfortable with… It was one that was longer form and one that was much more personal, much more reflective of where you’ve been and where you’re going, as opposed to just talking about the future in sound bites… I don’t think that played to Gov. Romney’s strengths.” – Rick Santorum
Santorum went on to say that Romney wouldn’t be comfortable in a setting that explores “why you believe what you believe and where that came from.”
He’s not the first to play the Mormon card, but the fact that he’s attacking the leader of the pack who’s actually been dipping a little in the polls as of late goes to show that he does have some fight left in him. The question now, though, is if he’ll target the right man. Gingrich is his best bet, because if he can bring Gingrich down, then the musical chairs of the GOP primary could naturally swing in his favor given that he’s the last candidate (aside from Ron Paul and the failure that is Huntsman) that’s yet to get a major media spotlight.
Your campaign’s fate is in your hands, Rick.
I would say that Gingrich defines corruption in politics, but that would imply there is a static definition of the term. Gingrich is so deeply corrupt, and we learn so much more about him every day, that the bar for corruption is raised by this one man each time he opens his mouth, and thus, the definitions changed. Now, on top of the massive list I gave in my last article, he’s come out and said that child labor laws are stupid, that he would fire hundreds of thousands of Americans working in public schools, and force the poorest children of the school to clean it, all in just two sentences. Of course, most disturbing, yet rarely talked about, is the fact that Gingrich never mentioned when these children would be doing the actual cleaning of the school. He’s aware of the fact that the janitors work DURING the school day, right? So is he saying the children of poor families that need the extra income should spend their school day working instead of learning? Also notice he didn’t specify an age; he wants to put the children of elementary schools to work doing this, apparently.
No. No more. I had friends that said they would lose all respect for the Republican voters in this country if they nominated Trump or Palin as their candidate in 2012. Well for me, the respect-ending candidate is Newt Gingrich. I refuse to believe this man will win the primary. Perry scared me that he could win, Bachmann was laughable, but Gingrich is just right out. If Republican voters, by majority, support such a deeply and flagrantly corrupt, downright loathsome man, I simply cannot fathom how I could think even neutrally, let alone respectfully, of such a group within society. I may wage political and rhetorical war against the Republican Party on a daily basis, but I still think well of their voters. At best, they are respectable conservatives that just want a small, clean government. At worst, they are horribly misguided and misinformed. Nominating Gingrich as their candidate would officially sink that “worst” depiction of them even lower to levels I can’t even comprehend right now.
The more I think about it, the more I find myself thinking that Ron Paul has better and better odds at winning the primary. I came to a startling realization at work this Sunday when I asked myself, if all the primaries were held today, who would win? I know Huntsman, Bachmann, and Perry are obviously out. Gingrich is disgusting and I refuse to believe he would win. Santorum, while he has a shot at winning now, has to act upon it before he actually gets a chance at winning (and quickly too; the Iowa caucuses are in six weeks), so he wouldn’t win if the election were today. Cain is falling and fast, so he’d be the third-man outside-stretch that most primaries tend to have, but I doubt he’d be a real contender any more. That just leaves Romney and Paul, who are about tied in the polls.
Damn. Just damn. Things sure have changed since early this year. Back when campaign season was just kicking off, I’d have never imagined this race getting down to a two man race between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, but now, the odds of that are increasing every day.
It’s going to be a fun six weeks.