Only 37 days left until Super Duper Stupor Tuesday (March 6), when 10
states go to the polls to select the man who is the best and brightest
to represent the Republican Party in November.
I still haven’t recovered from Florida. Listening and reading about
all those attack ads tearing the two leading candidates apart for 10
days like mad dogs, I needed a distemper shot. If dueling hadn't been
outlawed, by now we’d have one less man in the race.
What I gathered from the commercials and the stump speech bites is
that Romney is a leftist, either a liberal or, what is worse, “a
Massachusetts moderate.” Apparently, he is not conservative enough to
appeal to the base.
Gingrich is certifiably insane. His ideas like moon colonization
-- which may or may not mandate sending illegal aliens there -- appeal
to the grandiosity base. Ralph Kramden would vote for the lunar
candidate. (“One of these days... right in the kisser. POW! To the moon,
I don’t know about you other Republicans, but I can’t take it any
more. I long for the days when ideological arguments between such
charismatic figures as Robert Taft and the neo-Bolshevik-Trotskyite
Nelson Rockefeller took place behind closed doors. That’s why they
invented smoked-filled rooms.
As exciting as it may have been seeing which of the candidates could
put on the most mostly negative ads (Mitt won, 12,207 to 210) and spend
more money (the awesome Mitt won again, $15.5 million to $3.9 million),
it ain’t been pretty seeing the distinguished gentlemen acting like
Watching the latest episode of the freak show that has been the 2012
primary has been like seeing a party self-immolate on national TV.
Southpaw Romney and loony Gingrich beat up on each other with
stinging barbs, poisoned epithets, and nasty looks in the name of
appealing to what they think of as the base of the party -- the presumed
Nominating one or the other, protagonists argue, will make the
Republican Party lose its base. Or “the base of the base,” as John King
of CNN curiously put it the morning after the Florida votes were
Now this is what I first don’t understand. One wonders where a base
will go. Isn't a base, by definition, something that can’t be moved?
If it is so easily moved by something a candidate says or does, can
it really be considered a base? Or is it a halfway house? A fork in the
Is there such a thing as an unbase, a floating base? Or do
Republican strategists suggest there are as many as three bases --
before you reach home plate (the nomination)?
The way the campaign is heading, the candidates will be appealing to the sub-basement by the Super Tuesday carnage.
The reason elections are won is that whoever gets the most votes
wins. The reason conservatives lose elections is there are not enough of
Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that appealing
to this Republican base is not a winning strategy. Do the math: When
the base is at most 30% of the party, a candidate has to appeal to
Reagan Democrats, Independents, and the Undecideds. Appealing to the
base in 19 debates and thousands of commercials that turn people off is
not going to cut the mustard in 2012.
Something is happening to my Grand Old Party. It must be the
fluorides in the water. When I was growing up, Republicans warned us the
leftist Democrats were putting them secretly in the water supply to
weaken our resolve in the fight against socialism.
Or maybe Gingrich is really a mole planted in the Republican Party
by the dirty tricks division of the Democratic National Committee,
assigned to make sure Obama wins a second term. Or maybe it’s the
closet lefty, Romney.
Whatever, the Massachusetts moderate will reach the finish line with
more arrows in him than Saint Sebastian. And we may be in for an
election not equaled since the campaign of 1936, in which, you may
remember, ideologically pure conservative Republican Gov. Alf Landon
managed to win two states, not including his own state of Kansas.