We generally steer clear of politics (not that were averse them, but they are well covered elsewhere) but we couldn’t resist this post by Eric Alterman, “The unfab four,” on the Guardian’s blog:
I like to think I know a lot of smart people, but even so, nobody I know has been able to make any sense of the Republican party presidential primary race yet. None at all.
Mitt Romney has the most money and is treated as a strong contender, in part because he is running as the most socially conservative top-tier candidate in the race. Thing is, he got elected to the governorship of the most liberal state in the country by proving he was, socially, the most liberal Republican this side of fellow Massachusetts native, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (who is really a liberal Democrat but needed an uncluttered party line on which to run).
Romney was for legalised abortion and stem cell abortion when he was running against Massachusetts Democrats. He took actions on behalf of both of these positions as recently as 2005, including appointing a pro-choice judge and announcing his support for expanded embryonic stem cell research.
Now that he’s running for the nomination of the extremist, rightwing, Republican party, he says he’s the kind of guy who’d put people like his old self in jail, perhaps after a bit of extraordinary rendition and torture. I have three questions:
1) Just how stupid does he think Republican primary voters are?
2) Just how stupid are they?
3) And the ones who are in fact, that stupid, would they vote for a Mormon? I mean if Mormonism is true, then what the rest of Christendom believes can’t logically be true. Isn’t that pretty insulting, if say, you’re a conservative Christian fanatic in the first place? (Lucky Hitchens was born abroad or he might try it, no?)
Ok, who’s next? John McCain. Just thinking about what’s happened to St McCain puts me in a good mood. The guy spends a full eight years sucking up to the people who destroyed his 2000 presidential candidacy with the most dishonourable and dishonest lies imaginable. (Alien illegitimate children anyone?) He too is being forced to repudiate most of his political life. Thing is, 99% of his positions are okay with the base.
The problem is two things:
a) He hates them, they know it, and so they hate him back. (McCain’s true constituency is the mainstream media, and they don’t get to vote in Republican primaries – only Democratic ones.)
b) That 1% that isn’t okay with the base – immigration -is the one that all of a sudden matters more than the other 99%. Ha, ha, Mr “Brave Only On One Issue Anymore And It’s Going to Kill You”.
The other argument McCain had going for him – electability – is gone too, also with wonderful poetic justice because of the above. The guy who slandered him viciously and attempted to destroy his honour in order to win South Carolina eight years ago also got the country into an unwinnable, unpopular war. Love the man; love his war. All 29% of you. Ha, ha. (PS, John, attacking Romney makes you look desperate and is only going to help Giuliani and Thompson. Ha, ha again.)
Then there’s Rudy. Listen, rest of the world: nobody in the world who is not an actual terrorist hates George Bush more than we New Yorkers do, at least most of us. Manhattan went something like 97% for Kerry and we didn’t really like him either. So listen carefully when we say, yes Rudy is for legal, federally funded abortions. Yes, he likes gay people so much he actually lived with two of them. And six marriages for two people bothers us a damn site less than most people, at least most Republican primary voters.
But we are trying to tell you something about this guy: He is even worse than Bush. He is genuinely a little bit fascistic and has absolutely horrible judgment when it comes to limits on his powers, no matter what the source. Of the 14 or so million people in the New York metropolitan area, which includes much of New Jersey and Connecticut, roughly 13,997,500 would be temperamentally better suited to have their finger on the nuclear button and the military of the world’s most powerful empire in history at their disposal.
We keep imagining that it is only a matter of time until Republicans send the guy his walking papers because of the stuff we kinda like about him. But what’s with you people? Are you not paying attention? Did you not mean all that stuff about abortions and gays and stem cell researchers going to Hell? (Then why in God’s name did you stick us with George Bush?) Hurry up and get over the guy, already. This is kind of scary.
Among the front-runners, that leaves us with Fred Thompson, who, alone among the top four, makes the slightest bit of sense as a Republican presidential nominee. Thompson’s only problem, as far as one can tell at this problem, is that the media have already decided that he is the laziest person on Earth. Will this matter? To Republican voters? The people who idolise Ronald Reagan now that they’re no longer gaga for George?
I haven’t got the energy to explore that one right now, but perhaps Hillary, Obama or Mr Edwards do…