January 22, 2012

Between Romney's corporatism and minority religion, and Newt's basic Newtery, Tea Party and evangelical enthusiasm is drying up fast.  Its already reflected in consistently low turnout. If that happens, the GOP's goose is cooked. 

And to throw a candy cane in there, the only honorable Christian in the race is going to be Barack Obama.  Why would Newt stay in?  He must know he's an amazingly weak candidate against any sitting president -and although just running while the other person has a chance of tripping is a factor- two things explain his vicious campaign behavior. 1 is obvious- his narcissistic personality disorder, which makes Palin look like "trying to think of a stereo-typically humble American and failing."

2) is more interesting and subtle: I'm calling it an attempt by a strong Christianist base - as Sullivan calls it - to save the Republican Party from Mormon domination. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in the GOP leadership would rather preserve Christian religious domination that mount an effective candidate against Obama. Why? Long term - Mormonism is a tiny and permanently insular religious minority. This isn't Catholicism - we're talking small single digit minority. If Romney fails against the President, but succeeds at leading the party, staffing it, and organizing it, I would suspect that the calculation is that the Republican movement would start losing its ability to motivate christian traditionalists of all stripes, and thereby, start moving into permanent minority mode.  The

Romney's motivation, on the other hand, is in many ways missionary.  Recall his deeply asinine speech on religion in politics from the last campaign, which, instead of calling for tolerance, called basically to unite around the common enemy of non-believers. What does he want? Power. Why does he want it?  Core religious identity - and not exactly selfish.

The casserole in the oven is:  if he takes the GOP nomination, he has permanently legitimized Mormonism.

Expect at the minimum a threat for a third party run from Paul- which would, if he sticks with it, would -guessing- take about 4% from the right and 2% from the left.  For the same reason, not to win, but to preserve that social darwinist/Libertarian influence - he will be negotiating for platform points, and would be quite happy to drop the bomb on the GOP if he's shut out.  And Romney is likely to shut him out.


Blogger popmonkey said...

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January 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

I'm trying to put together a Venn diagram of the GOP candidates - something like Religious/Greedy/Crazy.

With Newt you have Crazy/Greedy, but with Mitt you get Religious/Greedy but mostly not crazy. Santorum would be Religious/Crazy, Cain Crazy/Greedy (which is why Newt is glad he's out of the race, because they were splitting votes).

I kind of liked Hunstman because he was religious, but pretty clearly not crazy, and since he inherited a billion dollars, not greedy in that petty, grasping, nasty way that Newt is. I also liked that he worked effectively under a Democratic administration and was fluent in Chinese.

But if I like the guy, he's doomed in American politics anyway; cf. Wesley Clark.

January 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Author said...

I realize on re-reading: my deeper point is that none of the GOP candidates need to beat Barack Obama to achieve their most important goals. They simply need to win the GOP nomination.

Expect something like Dole/Clinton - Republicans throwing the kitchen sink at the President, but unable to understand why he does not fall - key problems being unable to articulate a clear alternative acceptable to most Americans, and also having said everything as horrible (Obama= Hitler, Obama= terrorist, etc etc etc) as possible two years ago, losing all its potentcy (something of our trouble with Bush).

Even more, without the real need to win the General, the nominee is unlikely to.

Huntsman was someone with who I disagreed vastly but could respect as a public servant. But essentially no one in the GOP wants a public servant.

January 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM  

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