Sunday, September 18, 2011
Republicans Gathering Strength for 2012
Right now Rick Perry, the Neanderthal governor of Texas--who doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Neanderthals because he doesn't believe in evolution--is looking attractive to the middle. "Oh, we like him," they say when they are looking away from American Idol or NASCAR, "He'll get us a job at Walmart or the 7-11. I don't like what he says about Social Security, but at least he doesn't back down or change his stand on things like that flip-flopper Romney or that wishy-washy Obama. I want a strong president who will keep me in line." Never mind that if Perry gets elected, everyone will be forced to buy a handgun, no one will ever be able to get a legal abortion, gays will be locked up, and Social Security and Medicare will disappear. These are only slight exaggerations.
Here's an interesting revelation that came out of that Tea Party debate. When Michelle Bachman suggested the only reason Perry made an executive order that all schoolgirls get a vaccination to prevent cervical cancer it was because the pharmaceutical company Merck had given him a contribution. He replied that he raised several million dollars and Merck had only given him $5,000 and he was insulted by her idea that he could be bought for such a piddling amount. It's very telling that he said he insulted not because of the suggestion that he could be bribed, but over the size of the bribe. The implication being he can be bought, but for a helluva lot more than 5K. It's been revealed Merck actually contributed $30,000 and also gave to the Republican Governors Association of which Perry is in charge.
Sidenote on Bachmann: Instead of shutting up when she had a good point, the Wicked Witch of Minnesota shot herself in the foot by making wild and unfounded claims that the vaccine was dangerous. In subsequent interviews, she repeated an anecdotal story about a grieving mother whose daughter had contracted mental retardation because of the shot. The medical community says there is no evidence of such a side effect. This shows Bachmann will make any irresponsible statement to advance her bid for power.
Another horrible incident during these Republican debates was the "death" scream moment when Tea Party enthuisasts supported leaving uninsured Americans to die rather than have the government pay for their treatment. Moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul about a hypothetical case of a healthy young man with a good job who decided not to have any insurance because he just doesn't want to pay the a few hundred dollars a month in premiums. Blitzer asked what if this guy goes into a coma, should he just be left to die? People in the audience cried "YEAH!" Paul did not actually say he should perish, but that the church and charities should deal with such cases as happened when he was practising medicine. What fantasty world does this Ron Paul live in? Does he think every community is like "It's a Wonderful Life" where the town rallies round poor Jimmy Stewart when he's down on his luck? Paul Krugman rightly said in his NY Times column (too lazy to put in the link, look it up yourself) that such cases of being uninsured through stupidity or fecklessness are not really relevant. Far more common are instances where people can't afford insurance though they have jobs (like the low-paying ones Rick Perry is so proud of in Texas) or were turned down for a pre-existing condition (which supposedly will be illegal thanks to the hated Obamacare). If that were the question, those Tea Partiers still would have cried "YEAH!" to letting the uninsured drop dead on the streets.
Krugman points out this chilling lack of compassion shows there is no basic agreement between left and right that government should provide minimal support of those who are experiencing bad luck or trouble. If you lose your job, if you can't afford insurance, if you're not a go-getter, tough shit according to the new Right. Forget welfare, no more unemployment, social security, medicare, or anything for you.
Here's what I think is going to happen. Perry will continue to surge and he might take a few primaries, but he will sputter out and look like an extremist and therefore unable to win in the general election. He could beat Obama, but it's not a sure thing. I think cooler heads will prevail and Romney will be seen as reasonable and attractive to independents. Hey, they'll say, he's not some evangelical who doesn't believe in science. He'll create jobs cause he's been in business. Never mind that Massachusetts was near the bottom in job growth when he was governor. Forget that when he took over a company, they fired everyone. Romney will get the nomination and it will be close, the odds are he will beat Obama. Then we'll have this blow-dried, phony, plastic, CEO president. I can't really blame those middle-people who are leaning towards the right. They don't see Obama as standing up and fighting hard enough and they are right.