In case anyone is wondering: yes, I did stay up until 2am watching CNN’s primary returns. Why 2am? I don’t know. Ohio was dispensed with by around 12:45. I’m just a junkie. Plus I enjoy casting imaginary films about pundits and analysts. I’ve decided that Kevin Spacey will play Ari Fleischer.
Also I might have fallen asleep for a little while.
So! Who cares about Super Tuesday, right? What difference does it make? Jack sent me a text last night pretty much asking that. “None of these clowns stand a snowball’s chance in Sarasota against Obama,” he told me. Jack thinks he’s funny. He just got back from Sarasota. It was warm and beautiful and he likes to rub that in. Now, Jack is more on the conservative side and not at all on the politically interested side, but he engages me sometimes for the sake of amusement. And of course, I replied that he’s correct. Mitt Romney has proven time and time again that he can’t seal the deal on anything with ease, and that’s really what you look for at this stage in the game. And while Rick Santorum has been surprisingly successful, it’s still really hard to fathom him as the nominee. And if he were, there’s pretty much… well, not a snowball’s chance in Sarasota that he’d win. So why was Super Tuesday so compelling that nerds like yours truly stayed up so late?
Because this campaign has the potential to redefine the Republican Party.
For a long time, Republicans have been about defense and getting the government off your back. Allegedly. Mostly the defense part. In the last 20 years or so, the party (led by whatever president was there – so, Bush I and Bush II) has spent more, bugged people more (particularly at very inappropriate times, in their bedrooms) and gone a little war-crazy. But now? Now we’ve got Santorum and Gingrich, to some extent, telling you that not only are you prohibited from being gay and happy (which used to be synonymous), or gay and a service member; you also can’t determine your own desire or ability to be a parent. Nor can you take as a given that the government will not base its laws on religious belief. Nor is it appropriate for everyone to aspire to a four-year college degree. Nor, apparently, can you be a woman who wants to serve on the front lines in defense of her nation.
You might get emotional. And the boys might feel all protective of you. That would be new, since none of them ever risked their own lives to drag another man out of the line of fire. I guess the guy who thanked my uncle for saving him in Vietnam made up that story. And none of the men who came home from war in the last 236 years ever got a little weirded out or upset on the battlefield. And of course they’ve all been just fine and dandy upon their return.
It’s different with the womenfolk.
My point is, with the longevity of the Tea Party (they say they’re not “just” Republican, but that’s largely a load of crap), the strength of Santorum’s momentum and the unrelenting, if aggravating, presence of Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party is showing that it might be ready to move farther to the right. Like, back to the social constructs of the 40s and 50s, when women who did anything other than stay home and make babies within the church-blessed bond of marriage were sluts and prostitutes.
And lest you think that the Republican candidates for president soundly criticized that Radio Host Who Shall Not Be Named’s absolutely ridiculous and rancorous days-long rant similar to above against a law school student, let me remind you:
Newt Gingrich said he was pleased when the radio host apologized, but called the overall controversy “silly” and said to NBC’s David Gregory, “You know, David, I am astonished at the desperation of the elite media to avoid rising gas prices, to avoid the President’s apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan, to avoid a trillion-dollar deficit, to avoid the longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression, and to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week.”
Nevermind how much I hate this man’s constant bitching about the “elite” media that carries his message to the masses (and he should check the definition of “elite”… it means “best.” I think he means “elitist,” which carries the connotation I believe he intends). I can appreciate wanting to get the national conversation back on track with the issues he wants to discuss, but I cannot appreciate anything less than an absolute condemnation of said radio host’s comments.
Rick Santorum said the radio host was being “absurd, but entertainers are allowed to be absurd.” Not incorrect… but not exactly a reprimand.
Mitt Romney said, “It’s not the language I would have used.” That’s just pathetic.
Ron Paul, himself an obstetrician and gynecologist who knows very well that contraception is far from just being about sex, called the radio host’s comments “over the top,” and went a step further, becoming the only candidate to call the eventual apology what it really is: “He’s doing it because some people were taking their advertisements off his program. It was his bottom line he was concerned about. I don’t think he’s very apologetic. It’s in his best interest. That’s why he did it.”
Thank you, Congressman Paul. You have demonstrated yet one more time that you are not a Republican. The Republicans are scared to go toe-to-toe with the radio host.
But, singlecell, haven’t you digressed a bit from Super Tuesday?
No. No, I have not. What Super Tuesday proved was that Mitt Romney is still the presumptive nominee, but he still couldn’t get the job done convincingly, and while he has far more delegates than the second-place Santorum, Santorum is connecting with people more.
Romney isn’t a connector. He believes in nothing that gets people fired up (aside from those who attend his rallies, who are obviously already going to vote for him). Santorum gets people’s passions ignited. It just so happens that those passions tend to involve taking choices away from women and blatantly denying a separation between Church and State. There are people who agree with him. And that’s alright. If the majority of people in the Republican Party agree with him, they’ll nominate him. If the majority of Americans agree, they’ll elect him president.
You’ll excuse me if I move to France, then.
Yes, I said France. Mostly to piss off Santorum. And my mother.
And by the way, an aversion to Rick Santorum does not automatically translate to support of abortion, or support of anarchy, or amorality, or immorality. It simply translates to a view of America as a nation that does not tell its people what they can and cannot do with their bodies and in their bedrooms and with their beliefs. It translates to a view that lets people’s individual beliefs dictate their actions in areas of connection to religious principle.
But as Santorum continues to succeed, the Republican Party has to consider that his message is resonating with its members. I think the party’s players are resisting that shift. But last night, as we all (okay, just me and some other nerdy nerds) waited anxiously to hear which way the tight race in all-important Ohio would go, the party must have gotten that message, loud and clear.