So, Iowa. Romney beat Santorum by eight votes out of sixty thousand cast for the two of them. Eight votes. He spent millions of dollars and barely won against a guy who was underfinanced and a big underdog only a few days ago. And he didn’t do any better yesterday than he did four years ago.
How come? Romney inspires no passion, but in a field of men (Bachmann wasn’t a factor) who can best be described as way out in right-wing wingnut field, he looks most electable. Iowans who bothered with the caucus couldn’t make up their mind: elect a hypocrite they don’t really trust or a religious zealot they don’t think is electable. Romney is most likely to be the Republican candidate going into the election.
As for the rest of the crowd, only Ron Paul may have survived to move on, but some of his views are too extreme even for Republicans, although some of his views may well appeal to the factions on the left. But he is not going to overcome his history of brutal racist and anti-gay commentary published under his aegis.
Rick Perry is crawling back to Texas and hopefully we won’t have to listen to any more of his nonsense. Perhaps he would have better luck running for Pope, an office from which he can pontificate on his delusional religious beliefs as much as he wants.
As for Bachmann, perhaps now she can get the help she needs, though that may well require a long period of institutionalization somewhere other than in Congress.
But what of Romney, a golden boy in his own mind? One might suspect that he will crow about his win, but please, eight votes out of sixty thousand? Hardly a rousing margin. In fact his ‘win’ can hardly be considered a win at all, considering the money he put in, and his mawkish speechifying that often included reciting the lyrics to so-called patriotic songs. At least he had the good grace not to sing. And if he should go on to win the nomination, he’s not going to be able to continue pushing his line of lies that Obama is the chief architect of the financial crisis: the facts don’t support that line, and if he pursues it, Obama’s crew will hang Bush, Iraq, and Afghanistan around Romney’s scrawny Republican neck. Nor can he escape his part in the predations of Bain Capital: it’s hard to claim that you can create jobs when you destroyed companies and threw people out on the street and pocketed the profit from doing so.
The big question about the election isn’t whether the Republicans can depose Obama, which comprises their whole program, but whether Obama can overcome what he’s done to destroy his own base over the last three years. It’s hard to get excited about a guy who has done everything he could to disappoint the people who supported him so passionately in 2008.
We can expect Romney to push all the emotional buttons of patriotism, god, country, god, faith, religion, god, patriotism, enemies abroad, traitors at home, and so on ad nauseam, because that’s what Republicans are good at. They can’t govern worth a damn, but they sure can make you think you’d like to have a beer with them, or kick the living crap out of them. Obama can push the same buttons and he can refute, on the facts, Romney’s charges about the economy. They’ll go back and forth until November. November! Crap.
When you get right down to it the real question is whether the country can stand ten more months of bullshit from both sides without everyone’s head exploding. Two men who can’t be trusted butting heads for ten months. It may be enough to get everyone to throw out their televisions and go back to reading books. Not a bad outcome actually.