Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can I Get a Mittless? Episode IV: Defeated by a Fantasy

We're greeted today by the news that Rick Santorum has won primaries/caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. Let's review Santorum's career for a minute: No significant legislative accomplishments. Turned out of office by his own constituents. No accomplishments since. Now, let's review his qualifications for the presidency: No knowledge or experience in foreign affairs. No substantive economic proposals, or demonstration of any knowledge of economics. Let's move on to his social beliefs: Abortion should be outlawed even for victims of rape and incest. Gay folk are gay by choice, and can be brought to heterosexuality by treatment, and should be banned from marriage. Sex is for procreation, as God intended, and nothing else.

It's easy enough to poke holes in the man. For instance, if God had intended sex to be solely for procreation, He wouldn't have made it such a pleasure, and labor such a trial. But the overall truth is that Santorum offers no evidence, none whatever, to an objective observer of any ideological stripe whatever that he's qualified for the presidency. Neither intelligence, nor knowledge, nor managerial ability, nor accomplishment in decades of what we're pleased to call public service. Too, he's not representative of the mainstream of the country, will not appeal at all to the center he needs to win the presidency and is close to unelectable.

To fair numbers of the Republican faithful, the congeniality of his social views trumps his utter lack of qualifications for the job. His unacceptability to the broader electorate is less relevant to a lot of them than his ideological purity. His social views, arguably the center of his campaign, are more important to them than his more substantive positions, ill-considered and incoherent though they might be. And they view him, on that basis, more acceptable than Romney, who went into these contests soon after his victory in Florida over Gingrich, at the time the only challenger given credibility in the media.

So, the serial attempts by Republicans in this ridiculous primary field to make chicken salad out of chicken shit now move to Santorum's new credibility, at least within the GOP, and further damage Romney, who remains the likely candidate. The most committed Republican voters simply don't like Romney, don't trust him, and won't work for him on the ground the way they'll have to in a general election. I doubt that they'll do it solely because they think beating Obama is important enough to do it. In this way, he resembles McCain, who remained distrusted by many on the right though he pandered to them constantly in 2008, bringing Sarah Palin to national attention.

I can only hope that the country would marginalize, rather than embrace, a party capable of supporting such extremist views propounded by a man who so obviously shouldn't be taken seriously. And, were I Romney, I'd be more nervous about the general election. Fact is, Obama could run close to a complete campaign with YouTube clips taken from Romney's challengers alone, not to mention clips of Romney saying things at odds with his prior positions.

Well, I did mention them. Naughty Wombat...

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