The GOP’s Lame Presidential Candidates: Are They Crazy Enough for the Right-Wing Screamers?


The GOP’s Lame Presidential Candidates: Are They Crazy Enough for the
Right-Wing Screamers?

Most of the GOP favorites have certain critical flaws that
could cripple their chances of winning over the Limbaugh-Fox News-Malkin axis of
the GOP base.
May 20, 2011  |

//Photo Credit: Wikimedia  Commons
There was a time when Rush Limbaugh fans would happily trot to the ballot box
and vote for soulless corporate lackeys like Bob Dole simply because they
represented that last bulwark defending Real America from Hitlerly KKKlinton’s
mandatory castration program.

But times have changed and nowadays Rush and his fellow right-wing media
shriekers are far more demanding. As the nominations of Sharon Angle, Joe
Miller, Carl Paladino and Christine O’Donnell demonstrate, Limbaugh and his
like-minded allies have inspired their audience to thumb their nose at the
Republican establishment by supporting candidates who not only protect them from
Democrats but who also speak to their deeply held cultural values.

Oftentimes, these values take the form of a checklist of key issues: Does the
candidate want to privatize Medicare? Do they want to start wars with multiple
Middle Eastern countries? Do they properly relish punishing teachers, policemen
and firefighters for daring to seek higher wages? And most importantly, do they
oppose any efforts to encourage children to exercise and eat vegetables?

Unfortunately, most of the 2012 Republican favorites all have certain
critical flaws that could cripple their chances of winning over the Limbaugh-Fox
News-Malkin axis of the GOP base. In this piece we’ll break down the major 2012
contenders and see how they stack up to the conservative media howlers’ ideals
of misanthropy, bloodlust and authoritarianism.

-Candidate #1: Mitt Romney

Romney is the classic type of plastic corporatist puppet that the Republican
Party has proudly nominated for decades. He has perfect hair, chiseled looks and
a business background that would typically make him an ideal candidate in any
Republican primary.

But there’s a major problem with Mitt: He started his political career in
Massachusetts, which ranks somewhere between North Korea and Mordor in the eyes
of talk radio personalities. While running for and serving in public office in
Massachusetts, Mitt made a number of statements that are standard fare for Bay
State politicians but that sound like chants from the Satanic Bible to the
Limbaugh-Beck axis. For instance, in 2003, then-Governor Romney said he’d
support a nationwide gas tax hike. He also worked very hard to establish his
pro-choice credentials by filling out a (gulp!) Planned Parenthood questionnaire
on reproductive rights. Oh, and he also once said during a debate with Ted
Kennedy that “we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”
Uh-oh!

But the very worst thing Romney did while governor or Mordorchusetts was to
help people get access to health care. It didn’t matter that Romney did so in a
corporatist manner that enlarged the take-home pay for insurance company boards
– his efforts to get people in Massachusetts health insurance may well doom him
in the coming election. You see, helping people get health care is the one of
the most horrific crimes against humanity according to Fox News and friends
largely because… well we’re not sure, but helping people get health care seems
to be the worst thing any Republican governor can do.

The point is, many conservatives have called on Romney to apologize for
helping people get health care, even though he touted it as one of his signature
strengths while running for president in 2008. And for a candidate whose
persistent flip-flops have led Dittohead guru Erick Erickson to brand him as
“Multiple Choice Mitt,” another reversal on health care could be deadly.

Romneycare should be a lesson to all Republicans everywhere: Do not touch
health care at all unless it involves privatizing Medicare or slashing health
benefits for veterans. The GOP’s Limbaugh faction will stand for nothing
less.

-Candidate 2: Mitch Daniels

Daniels is a favorite of Beltway Republicans, who are enamored with the fact
that he seemingly knows how to count. Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson
best summed up his love for the dweeby Indiana bean-counter when he wrote that
“Daniels’s appeal is not ideological; it is mathematical.”

Since memories of calculus classes are not appealing to very many people,
Gerson elaborated: “The passions aroused by ideology, in his view, hamper the
ability of political adults to deal rationally with disturbing budget
numbers.”

OK, so he’s a union-busting version of Michael Dukakis. Big whoop.

You would think that such an uninspiring figure would elicit apathy from
conservative bloggers, who typically don’t devote much energy to reading over
policy papers or parsing wonky budget speeches.

Unfortunately for Daniels, though, his blandness hasn’t inoculated him from
the ire of the Nutteratti, since he’s committed multiple sins against
conservative orthodoxy during his time as governor of Indiana. First of all, as
Jennifer Rubin has noted, Daniels has assiduously avoided kissing the collective
asses of our conservative overlords and has instead been courting (shudder!)
people in that godforsaken hellhole known as “New York City.”

“Daniels didn’t go to the Tea Partyers or to the National Rifle Association
for a testing-the-waters confab,” cries Rubin. “Instead, he went to
Manhattan.”

You see, before any Republican candidate can win over the Limbaugh axis, they
have to engage in a thoroughly humiliating round of ass-kissing where they
pretend that Sean Hannity is the most courageous and inspiring journalist since
Edward R. Murrow. It doesn’t matter if the candidate supports exciting policies
such as mandatory castration for all men who make less than $30,000 a year:
without rampant ass-kissing, the candidate stands no chance of winning over Fox
News.

Daniels’ second big problem is that, like Mitt Romney before him, he tried to
help people get health care. As Michael Cannon writes in the National Review,
“Daniels expanded Indiana’s Medicaid program to families of four earning
$44,000.” What’s more, Daniels implemented a set of policies known as the
“Healthy Indiana Plan” that Cannon says “offers high-deductible coverage
combined with a taxpayer-funded health savings account” that not only “hands out
coverage plus something a lot like cash.” The bottom line is that Republicans
who have national ambitions should never under any circumstances try to help
people get health care. It will always come back to bite them in the behind.

Daniels’ final sin could be his worst one of all, however: Apparently Muslims
actually like him. In fact, Daniels’ ties with Sharia Law are apparently so
strong that he even received an award from the American Arab Institute. For
conservative activist Pam Geller, this was the final straw.

“Notorious Jew hater James Zogby is the co-founder and President of the Arab
Institute,” Geller howled. “Mitch Daniels has been involved (sic) with this
nototrious (sic) anti-Israel Israel (sic) organization (sic) for 25 years. How
repulsive.”

Candidate #3: Newt Gingrich

Yes, we all know about Newt’s multiple marriages and past infidelities and we
know that might make him unpalatable for social conservatives. And I may be
wrong but I don’t think many evangelicals will be convinced by Newt’s assertion
that he cheated on his wife because he was “driven by how passionately I felt
about this country” and thus “worked far too hard and things happened in my life
that were not appropriate.”

But Newt’s past naughtiness is actually just a tiny part of an even larger
problem that has dogged Gingrich for decades now: That he is shockingly full of
shit on just about everything, not just marriage.

Newt’s core problem is that he’s perpetually torn between being a classic
conservative bomb-thrower and being a cultivated “Man of Ideas” who wins respect
from the mainstream press. So while Newt scores points with the Limbaugh axis by
deriding Barack Obama’s supposed “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior,” he loses many
more potential mega-dittos with his “I’m-a-serious-problem-solver” shtick.

To cite one classic example, Gingrich’s desire to be considered a Serious
Intellectual back in 2008 led him to speak a major right-wing heresy by
acknowledging the existence of global warming. In fact, Gingrich’s desire to be
taken seriously on climate change even led to him cutting an advertisement with
(shudder!) then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

From a right-wing media shrieker perspective, Newt might as well have cut an
ad with Osama bin Laden and said, “We may not agree on much, but we do agree on
the need to provide America’s children with mandatory prayer rugs. Allahu
akbar!”

And like Mitt Romney, Gingrich has a long history of supporting an individual
mandate to purchase health insurance. You see, the conservative position on
health care used to be that we needed to mandate that people buy private health
insurance to avoid a socialistic single-payer system like the ones in communist
hellholes like Canada. But with the rise of the Tea Party in 2009, Republican
candidates had to shift their views away from individual mandates and toward a
system where people are left to die in the streets, just as they did in the days
of the Founders. So statements such as “you have a responsibility to buy
insurance” and “we need some significant changes to ensure that every American
is insured” from Gingrich’s 2005 book “Winning the Future” just aren’t going to
cut it anymore.

Newt’s full-of-shit-about-everything problem is particularly magnified in the
age of YouTube, where videos showing past contradictions can be plastered all
over Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. You saw this crop up during the Gingrich
campaign’s comically awful first week, which saw Newt denounce Paul Ryan’s
insane neo-Social Darwinist budget before hastily retreating in the face of
conservative backlash. Newt predictably went full-bore in an attack against the
Lamestream Media and even said that it was now out of bounds to accurately quote
his past statements.

“Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have
said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate,” Gingrich howled.

After just one week, the Gingrich campaign became so bloodied that it had
been reduced to releasing epic poems that portrayed Newt as a conquering hero
who would dispel all doubters and outsiders in good time.

“A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the
onslaught,” wrote Gingrich flack Rick Tyler. “But out of the billowing smoke and
dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who
won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the
challenges America faces.”

This inspired me to try penning my own Newt epic, based on Tennyson’s classic
“Ulysses”:

“Newtlysses”

It little profits that an idle former House Speaker,
By this still
hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged third wife, I mete
and dole
Bombs and predator drones unto a savage race,
That hoard, and
sleep, and have a Kenyan anti-colonial mindset, and know not me.

You get the idea.

The good thing about being perpetually full of shit about everything is that
it’s easier to make people forget all about your past positions. People who
actually feel slightly guilty about bullshitting people don’t have that same
luxury. So if Newt can manage to get some – any! – message discipline over the
next few months he could turn out OK.

Candidate #4: Tim Pawlenty

I tried to do some research about Tim Pawlenty. Then I got bored. Like,
really, really, really bored.

Chances of winning over Dittohead Nation: Meh. Pawlenty is a straight-laced
Midwestern conservative who gets check-marks on all the major issues but who
doesn’t generate all that much excitement among the Limbaugh crowd. For even
though Pawlenty is staunchly anti-abortion and has received an “A” on fiscal
management from the Cato Institute, his dry demeanor fails to provide Fox News
fans with the emotional gratification that comes from angrily screeching at your
adversaries as loud as you possibly can. Oh, and he apparently doesn’t hate
Muslims, or something. The bottom line is that conservative media shriekers will
support him but not enthusiastically so.

Candidate #5: Sarah Palin

Palin is seemingly the perfect candidate for the conservative screamer
movement largely because she’s one of them herself. Let’s review the facts: She
kisses Sean Hannity’s ass, she doesn’t care about governing, she works for Fox
News, she’s never helped people get health care, she’s never filmed a video with
Nancy Pelosi and she cries like a baby grizzly whenever anyone says anything the
least bit uncomplimentary toward her. Indeed, Palin’s extreme sensitivity to
criticism of any sort has led to her start more pointless feuds than anyone this
side of 50 Cent.

And yet… well, here’s the problem with Sarah Palin: She would lose to Obama,
big-time. And no, it doesn’t matter if Barack Obama replaced the
stars-and-stripes with his Muslim prayer rug on the White House flagpole. Every
single poll has shown that Palin is widely disliked by the American public and
that nominating her would result in a 20-point defeat for the Republican
Party.

And to paraphrase George Patton, “Conservative screamers love a winner and
will not tolerate a loser.” The same will eventually prove true of current
Dittohead favorite Herman Cain, the pizza magnate and Tea Party activist whose
lone attempt to run for public office ended in a humiliating defeat to current
Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson in a 2004 GOP primary. And if you can’t campaign
well on wingnuttery in Georgia, there’s no way you’ll be able to campaign on
wingnuttery nationwide.

That means the Fox News axis will likely have to bring a fresh face onto the
scene that will shake up the primary race. A fresh face such as…

Candidate #6: Somali Warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow

As you can see, none of the big-name Republican candidates really lives up to
the high standards set by Fox News screamers. This is why I predict the Right’s
leading lights will embark on a campaign to draft a dark-horse candidate to
shake up the race. And there’s no better candidate to rally support on the Right
than Somali warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow.

First of all, just think about how well Somalia fits in with modern
conservative ideals of how society should be run. There ain’t no gubmint
bureaucrats tellin’ you that you can’t own a gun in Somalia! The right to bear
arms in that country is so sacrosanct that they don’t even need a Constitutional
amendment to make it a reality!

Similarly, there ain’t no gubmint bureaucrats in Somalia tellin’ you that you
gotta buy health insurance. In fact, according to Doctors Without Borders,
people in Somalia don’t have to suffer under the tyranny of having health
insurance at all! Check out an excerpt from this report:

“For many years Somalis have endured violence, displacement, malnutrition,
and lack of access to adequate health care. […] Over the course of the year, the
gap between critical needs in Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu, and
the level of humanitarian response grew even larger, mainly due to aid agencies’
extremely limited capacity to deliver assistance in this highly insecure and
volatile environment.”

You can just smell the freedom and liberty all the way across the ocean,
can’t you?

Next, consider the kind of man Mr. Yalahow is. According to his Wikipedia
page, Yalahow was part of an America-backed warlord coalition to fight Islamist
extremists in the country back in early 2006. In other words, he has a lot more
real-world experience fighting terrorists than the Kenyan Kommie currently
occupying the White House ever will. And when many of his fellow warlords agreed
to stop fighting and voluntarily disarm their militias, Yalahow instead issued
veiled threats to revolt if the new government didn’t live up to its
promises.

Now that’s the kind of fightin’ spirit that Fox News could get behind – maybe
Yalahow could pick Sharon Angle as his running mate to form a Second Amendment
Remedies Dream Ticket?

Brad Reed is a writer living in Boston. His work
has previously appeared in the American Prospect Online, and he blogs frequently
at Sadly, No!.

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