I have begun to think of the Republican campaign as a series of Looney Tunes cartoons being replayed again and again. There are filled with a combination of laughs and the fantastical, self-defeating violence of Wily Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner.
As the primary season moves along, I sometimes think that far too many Republicans have temporarily lost their minds. Three years of Barack Obama will do that to you.
My response to the campaign thus far may have something to do with the fact that, like Reagan and others, I was once a Democrat and, to borrow a phrase from Paul, First Corinthians, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
These days, a lot of Republicans sound like a kid who sent Santa a list of toys he wanted and, even though he got most of them, he feels compelled to write and ask why he didn’t get all of them.
Granted that Republicans don’t have the most scintillating field of candidates, but most, including Donald Trump, have concluded that a guy that made millions as a successful venture capitalist, gave a couple of million away in charity just last year, has been a Governor, and hasn’t had a single hint of scandal in his life, might not be such a bad choice.
His opponents at this point include a guy who wants to start a Moon colony, is married to his third wife, left the Speaker’s position under a cloud of ethics impropriety, is given to saying genuinely bizarre and extremely nasty things with regularity, and would make the pathological narcissist in the White House look like a Boy Scout.
Another opponent—one whom nobody including himself—thinks could get elected seems to be in the race for the purpose of having one last hurrah, beating the drum for a few good ideas and a lot of really bad ones. Ron Paul has been in Congress since shortly after the last Ice Age ended and has sponsored only one bill that passed.
And, finally, there is Rick Santorum who is so infused with religious commitment that he reminds me of someone who was touted in a similar fashion, a former Sunday school teacher named Jimmy Carter. All the religion in the world cannot substitute for the steely-eyed realism a President requires in a world filled with evil counterparts.
It’s the voters, however, about whom I worry. New Hampshire was expected to endorse Romney, but in South Carolina Republicans there gave the nod to Gingrich. The Floridians came through with the unmistakable choice, based I am inclined to think on the many older and wiser citizens that live there though, in fact, he won all the demographic groups.
Ron Paul may be mildly amusing to some, but he cannot win. Santorum is a nice guy and, as the saying goes, nice guys finish last. And Newt Gingrich is like one of the Loony Tunes characters, the Tasmanian devil or maybe Yosemite Sam, going around shooting up the place and throwing bombshells that do nothing to advance the Republican and/or conservative agenda.
Too many Republicans appear to be waiting for a candidate who is perfection in every respect, political and personal, and in the real world few fit that description. America has had its shot at electing a “messiah” and it has turned out very badly.
As the rest of the primaries unwind, I anticipate that Mitt Romney will emerge as the party’s choice. I also expect a lot of pure nonsense about his being a Mormon, about the fact that he has not always hewed perfectly to conservative principles, and that he has—God forbid—actually changed his mind more than once or twice in the past.
Lost in all this blather is the fact that he is ideally prepared for the toughest job in the world and appears to have both feet planted firmly on the ground. I actually like the idea that he occasionally misspeaks, admits it, and then apologizes.
I hope that between now and the convention in Tampa, Republicans will regain their senses, their optimism, and their fighting spirit.
Rolling over for the worst President of the modern era because our candidate is not “perfect” is not an option.
Voting for a third party candidate is not an option.
Staying home on Election Day because “your guy” didn’t get the nomination is not an option.
The Republican compass has to point in only one direction and that is the resounding defeat of Barack Obama.