Yeah, I tried to blog yesterday, but I was pretty out of it and I just wasn't on my game - whatever "game" that may be. I was in a fog of painkillers and sleep depravation and my brain was kind of being bi-polar where one minute I would have a pretty clear train of thought about a subject and the next minute I would be kind of incoherent and all over the place. Anyway, I'm a little more clear-headed today, albeit still in a delightful narcotic cloud, so let's see if I can string together a compelling post...
Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. It's an important day more so than usual because of the current political campaigning and the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates regarding race, class and social equality. Even though we have come a long way as a country from the days when Dr. King marched for civil rights, yesterday was an opportunity to take an interesting look at how many of the current republican presidential hopefuls still view racial and social inequality. I found it particularly striking that during the latest GOP debate, Gingrich doubled down on his past comments about black kids not having any positive role models to teach them a work ethic and continued to foster the notion that blacks are all on food stamps, not to mention his ridiculous remarks about putting inner-city school kids to work as janitors. Of course, he was deliberately and arrogantly pandering to the base with the welfare and food stamps red meat and he was also obviously feeding into the ignorant, neo-racism that permeates the Tea Party fringe, but there is still a pretty bold and shameless chutzpah to doubling down on your race-baiting rhetoric on MLK day. It's not as if Gingrich is the only GOP candidate with his own racial controversy right now, either. Rick Santorum is still getting criticism for his comments about blacks not having jobs and being on food stamps and of course there's Ron Paul and his incredibly racially-charged newsletters that he signed his name to even though he claims never to have read any of them. Almost makes Rick Perry's Niggerhead Ranch sign seem tame in comparison, never thought that would be the case...
I already knew that once Jon Huntsman exited the race that any and all interest I might have had in possibly voting Republican in the next presidential election would go with him. He was the only guy who didn't sound like a rabid, ignorant Tea Party shill. Ron Paul might still have a lot of voters fooled with the Libertarian packaging that he wraps his extreme social conservatism in, but he's just as backwards as the rest of them when it comes to women's rights, true equality and the trickle-down corporate welfare that is the bread and butter of the current GOP platform. Now that Huntsman is out, for all intents and purposes my vote for Obama is sealed.
Honestly, I'm not really happy about that. It's not that I'm mad about supporting Obama or anything, but it's rather disappointing that my support for his re-election right now is more about a lack of a remotely better option from the other side than it is about any enthusiasm for Obama's campaign. Like a lot of people who voted for Obama in '08, I have been pretty underwhelmed by his accomplishments since taking office. Of course, I understand that a lot of that has to do with the deliberate obstruction from congress and the obsessive mission of the GOP to do any and everything they can to keep Obama from being re-elected, including contradicting their own values and party platform just so they can say "no" to whatever Obama asks of them, but regardless it's still frustrating to be 3 years into a presidency and the only action that seems to be coming out of our government is continuing the same lousy policies of the Bush administration that got us in this mess to begin with. It's encouraging that Obama is finally giving up on trying to work with the do-nothing congress and is now using executive orders and the like to push through his agenda without them, but it's something that should have been done a year or more ago, back when it was first and glaringly obvious that there was no way Obama would get any cooperation.
That being said, I also understand that lame-duck terms are a different animal from first terms. If Obama wins re-election, he will actually be able to lead without having to worry about approval ratings, which means he might make some decisions that actually affect the voters instead of just doing favors for the special interests that got him elected. This also means that congress will have to think about losing their jobs, instead of costing Obama his. If Obama wins, then that not only means the majority of the American people recognize that the obstructionist congress holds more culpability for our current state of the union than the president, but it also means they're going to be putting all of those congressmen and women on notice come the mid-terms. If Obama wins, that's all but a wrap for the most extreme Tea Party fringe of congress. In fact, I think it's fair to say that if Obama wins, that's a wrap for the Tea Party period.
So, it looks like it's going to end up being Obama vs. Romney in 2012, despite the best efforts of Gingrich, Santorum, Perry and Paul. There is rumbling about Paul possibly running as an independent after the convention, but I don't know if that will actually happen. For one thing, Paul running as an independent would only hurt the GOP, not Obama. People who are going to vote for Obama aren't going to vote for Ron Paul anymore than they would vote for Mitt Romney. What a Paul independent campaign would do is split the vote between the Republicans who "like" Romney and those who don't, and that just means Obama will get 51% and the other two will split the rest. For another thing, I don't think Paul has anywhere near enough money to run an independent presidential campaign. Without the support of the GOP and their big money donors, he will be decimated by both Obama and Romney, which will not only mean he doesn't win in November, but it would also basically kill any presidential hopes he might ever have in the future. Lastly, it's obvious to everyone with their finger anywhere near the political pulse that Ron Paul is prepping the stage for his son, Rand, to pursue a lofty political career and putting the black mark of being a GOP spoiler on his name would be a terrible legacy to pass on when the ultimate goal is to make the Paul family the next conservative political dynasty.
I was thinking about all of this as the novocaine wore off and the pain of what had happened started setting in and that's actually a perfect metaphor for what's going on politically right now.
The novocaine of the many infatuations the GOP base has had with the different candidates is wearing off and the painful reality that there guy is just going to have to be Mitt is setting in. When Jon Huntsman throws his endorsement behind the guy he said was "unelectable" and who's divisive rhetoric was "what's wrong with this country", the pain of reality is setting in. Indeed, this entire GOP race has been like having an infected tooth - it's uncomfortable, painful even. It's unsightly to look at and it gets irritated easily. It makes it hard to enjoy anything because it's always there, reacting to everything in the most extremely oversensitive way possible. And, like an infected tooth, the best remedy is just to suck it up and yank it out as quickly as possible and begin the process of healing and moving on.
Time to let that infected tooth go, Republicans. Time to take the momentary pain of losing in 2012 and move on and let the wound heal.