Friday, 21 September 2012

Lonesome highway

A Marx brothers routine is masquerading as a presidential election. But these comedians aren’t funny.

“The problem for Romney right now isn’t that he’s running with Sarah Palin. It’s that he’s BECOME Sarah Palin.”–Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

It’s hard to dream up what kind of boner Romney will flash publicly next, but the only question is when, not if. The GOP has now boxed itself so far into the psycho corner that it cannot operate outside its own parallel universe. Romney was never their favorite because what they demand—a groveling, mean-spirited reactionary who can win elections—does not exist outside of cartoons. Even their Saint Ronald would have had a hard time surviving in the bizarro-world they have created.

Their true loves like priggish Rick Santorum or wild-eyed Michelle Bachmann could not survive because they aren’t billionaires, and for the most part the billionaires won’t touch them. The big bankers and hedge funders, the tech buccaneers or Wal-Mart trustees, require a slightly less tenuous grip on reality because that’s where the money is made. By constantly recurring to demagogy from the Fox-led Fantasyland for short-term advantage, the Rovian geniuses have debased politics and intimidated their enemies. But now they don’t know what to do with the loonies they let loose.

Romney looked credible because he came from the business world rather than the inside of a Cracker Jack box. He had been a passably competent governor of a blue state. He would have continued contentedly as a socially tolerant moneyed Republican if that breed had not been driven into extinction. Then, forced to turn pandering into a higher art form, he lost whatever ability he might have had to exercise the prudent opportunism that politicians require.

The distressing part of nuttiness is that after a short adjustment period, it becomes the new normal due to the malleability of bipeds under duress. The hardly shocking revelation that Mitt Romney thinks anyone less adept than himself at milking the system is a chump and a deadbeat is a notion that can be comfortably shared by a slice of the electorate. But for the rest of his conservative base, those for whom the dream of middle-class comfort and prosperity is quickly dissipating and who actually need the government to save them, the only viable strategy remaining for Romney’s campaign is a blatant appeal to racism, to equate said chumps and deadbeats with blacks and illegal Mexicans. I expect we will see a turn in this direction promptly.

“This is a guy whose religion forbids him from drinking alcohol. Could you imagine what he’d say if he was shitfaced?”—Jon Stewart

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