Paul J. O'Rourke's Links

Salon.com
FEBRUARY 22, 2012 3:18PM

Only Newt Can Save The Republican's Rump

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           newt222211

               "This is how you create a Republican majority"

 

“A nuthouse divided against itself cannot stand.” A. Lincoln (sort of)

Trainasaurus Rex

Republican primaries used to be coronation ceremonies, the preordained king-in-waiting usually not long kept waiting. This one is a train wreck of B-list candidates trying to prove their conservatism by being the most dynamic dinosaur drinking from the primordial swamp. If there’s any hope of bringing the GOP back into the modern world the establishment has to get realistic about the true nature of their Republican Party.  

The Party has been off the rails for a long time, but that became more obvious when the primary ran off the tracks. This headline I read last November describes the critical moment of departure:

As Cain, Perry Scramble, Gingrich Seeks an Opening

Given Newt’s randy reputation, my first thoughts were to question the syntax and hope Cain and Perry managed to escape. However, the story was about their dual collapse opening the way for the next not-Mitt. The reason this was the critical moment of primary 2012 has little to do with Cain or Newt, though. The establishment needed one A-list candidate who could placate the base without embarrassing the Party. Though he wasn’t their guy, that man was Rick Perry.

Blame the one who can’t talk

The on-paper Perry came to the race with everything needed to become the nominee. He had the right job, geography, denomination and a wad of petrodollars. If Texas Rick hadn’t proven to be no hat and all prattle, he would have won Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. The Party would be unified and Mitt would be working on 2016. It was Perry’s inability to effectively bark the dogma, blow the dog whistle and . . . whatever that other thing is, that caused the Party to disintegrate into a shameless war between competing sects.

The Republican Rump

The gang at the Republican National Committee didn’t think this election could be won, so they set it up to avoid an embarrassing loss. Mitt’s-his-turn would be the fought-the-good-fight sacrificial lamb while the supposed A-list candidates waited for 2016. The reason the establishment is upset over the base carving their lamb into chops is about Party image, not the “electability” Mitt’s presence and the A-list absence belies.

This battle is billed as establishment-v-base, but students of Republican pathology know we’re watching the long predicted splitting of the Party. The right-wing, southern-polarized, neo-confederate insurgents have stolen the Republican and conservative labels. The establishment has become the Republican Rump Party, the separate, vestigial brain of the GOP’s headless body politic.

There has been some confusion about what is meant by the Republican establishment label, caused mostly by the establishment’s kumbyada-yada about a unified coalition of concerns. They are either delusional or afraid to admit the shaming truth of their irrelevance. Besides the RNC-types, the Rumpublicans are represented by a handful of mainstream pundits pretending intellectual conservatism is still relevant and the base hasn’t gone insane. Their efforts are aimed at convincing the ever-diminishing northeastern Republican voters the Party can accommodate intelligent viewpoints.

The ravaging of Romney has presented a predicament, wrapped in a dilemma, inside a conundrum. If Romney is the nominee that loses to President Obama, the base will bear its fangs and blame the establishment for the loss. This will only further empower the New Republican Party, forcing the 2016 A-list candidates to undergo an even more radical cosmetic lobotomy to get past the primary voters. If they want to have any hope of winning in 4 years, the establishment has to turn the middle finger of recrimination towards the base without further alienating voters they’ll need.

The only way for the Rumpublicans to begin restoring the Party to sanity and regain control is to quit acting like Mr. and Mrs. Borden, thinking Lizzie will behave in the end. They have to get the base chopping on each other, and the only way they can do that is to back away from Mitt and subtley ensure Newt becomes the nominee that loses the election.

Praying for reign

Why not Rick Santorum?

If Santorum becomes the nominee, it will encourage the religious Right to more fully assert their power, leading to even bigger problems for the Rumpublicans.

Saint Rick the Chaste, the Vaticandidate, represents the Bishops and, as they lack an alternative, the evangelical Protestant potentates. Strengthening this hybrid of theocratic reactionaries can only result in a Holy Roller Empire. The unavoidably heretical Rumpublicans would be snatched up and burned at the stake, even before the theocrats started burning each other. Besides, if the GOP hopes to ever recover a sane image, the No Birth Control frothing needs to subside well ahead of November and the issue has Santorum all over it.

It’s best to leave the religious Right alone as much as possible because they are by far the largest, most organized segment of the base. Their leaders and voters know a blatant prig like Rick can’t win, but won’t tolerate religious attacks on their prig. They are generally pragmatic and can usually be placated with minimal pandering to morality and their status as victims of religious discrimination. Under normal conditions they’ll support the establishment candidate if he’s not a Mormon.

Because Righteous Rick can't be attacked directly based on his Party-debilitating religiosity, he has to be “out-conservatived.” Only Newt can do that.

The Newtclear Option

Newt gave birth to the more secular, media-driven segment of the base and set the tone and direction of the entire Party. Nobody can out-conservative the guy who defined the word in its current use. No person did more to "conservatize" the GOP than Newt who, years ago, blew-out the elephant’s brains.

Newt didn’t kill the elephant; he just shot-away the upper, thinking part of its brain. In technical jargon, he performed a ballistic lobectomy. The lower walk-breathe-shout-anger-resentment-fear part remains intact and defines the whole of the activist herd.

Newt began this mass lobectomy in 1986, when he took over GOPAC and started sending out 10,000 tapes each month to Republican candidates across America. He taught them the tactic of using sanctimony and nationalism while slinging invective at opponents. He created fast food-fight conservatism, standardizing the candidate menu so a shrill conservative accusation from Arizona tastes just like one from Florida. Newt is why the argument you had with your feverishly ideological and benighted Uncle Johnny last Thanksgiving will be the same next year.

He turned the GOP into a spewing army of self-replicating Newt clones, spreading across America like a brain-devouring virus, sending angry Republicans marching to the polls. He’s responsible for the careers of potty-mouthed pundits like Newt Limbaugh and the ungrateful Newt Coulter. He set the tone and level of talent at Fox Newts.

Newt, in a roundabout but very real way, give rise to the right-wing media-generated and uncontrollable Tea Party, the Rumpublican’s real enemy.  

Newt: the goat-to guy

As tonight is probably the last GOP debate, Newt has to deliver a command performance. No problem, as he’s behind and will revert to form. Throw any of the traditional conservative scapegoats in front of Rick and the best he can manage is a weak slap or two. The guy can’t transcend his nebbish persona to do angry well enough to convince. Newt will bludgeon the goat until it’s dead and then drop his pants and violate the corpse, proving himself the most conservative candidate. The perforated pachyderms will once again stampede to their Mommy Dearest.

Family values reevaluation

Of course, Santorum will counter with trying to trip Newt over his multiple wives and infidelity. This is old news, so it won’t carry the hoped-for impact. Besides, the scandal was never that two people were making love to Newt -- it’s that he was always one of them. This suggests the wives as surrogates and that Newt never really cheated on the one he loves. He didn’t ask to be born a megalomaniac, so can we not forgive his narcissism? Are we so callous we can’t see it’s an accident of birth and that none of his supposed infidelities would have happened if he was a man from Nantucket?

(That's how you spin it, Rumpublican pundits. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, so use it well.)

Conventional Wishdom

This grand plan to restore the Rumpublicans to power ends with a glorious Republican Convention. Newt, living his dream of being the Savior of Western Civilization, is carried to the dais by litter bearers, immune to double entendres. Rubber-gloved school kids lead the procession pushing mop buckets and brooms. Newt delivers an inspiring speech detailing his plans to make the Moon our 51st state.

After that perfect lunacy, Newt will lose 40 of the 51 states and the yada-yada Yankees, no longer Rumpublicans, will regain control. Future candidates will be freed from having to act stupid to win the primaries. They’ll be able to speak their minds openly, without fear of Inquisition or lynching. The Republican Party will become a sober, realistic force, once again capable of competent governance, because, in the end, Lizzie will . . .

Damn. Now I see how the Rumpublicans became delusional.

Forget it, guys. The GOP is in the crapper.

You are no longer Masters of Your Domain and so must find a new one.

Whig.org is available.

 

Cartoon courtesy of PJ O'Rourke II © 2012

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PJ, you're the most lovable lunatic I know.

I missed your wonderful sarcasm when I was away, but to be honest, you should be a little concerned that you understand the RepubliCons as well as you do.

I have to admit to being a little more cautious than most. I figure between all the new registrations laws, gerrymandering and their usual vote-stealing they have a pretty good odds to win. Besides, that God-loving, love thy neighbor, do unto others electorate hates President Obama enough to reward whomever shakes out of the primary sack.
Yep, the GOP is at a critical point in its devolution, and it's pretty much a "damned if they do, damned if they don't" moment for 'em. It's hilarious that, after weeding out the truly awful specimens like Bachmann and Perry and Cain, they're left to choose between a plastic Mormon with the charisma of a nematode, an "Every sperm is sacred" choirboy, a raddled old libertarian, and (urp) Newt Gingrich. I'm tellin' ya, the clown car fucknuttery of this season's stable of B-listers has been the most surrealistically entertaining spectacle I've witnessed in years, though I threw up in my mouth a little when you described Newt searching for Rick Perry's opening.
As Cain, Perry Scramble, Gingrich Seeks an Opening---

"Given Newt’s randy reputation, my first thoughts were to question the syntax and hope Cain and Perry managed to escape."

That one alone made this read worthwhile. HA! This is a brilliant piece of work, PJ.
Other than your hypothesis of Gingrich as the anointed one, you're spot on about the problems of the GOPsters. The two branches of the Republican party cannot tolerate each other as it is. The powers that be will do everything in their power to insure that Romney is the winner, but the problem is -- the village idiots have escaped and are going after the "liberal" Republican monster with burning torches and pitchforks.
Sounds about right to me.
Funny. It seems there *might* have been another alternative...

No, never mind. My mistake. For just a brief second, there seemed to me there might have been a Candidate that discusses issues, that would highlight Obama's failures to recognize our civil rights, who would push for fiscal responsibility, who has had real experience in the world outside of government, who is supported by the military.....

Obviously I am wrong.
Thanks, Fay. Understanding them is a pain, but I take it upon myself to spare y'all the stigmata.

nanate,
Yup, damned if they do or don't. Sorry about the regurgi-blub. I hope you had something twice-tasty for lunch.

Thanks, Spud, rw.

Lefty,
I've seen lesser immolation, like Jonestown.

Nick,
It almost wrote itself.

Alan,
This is about the Republican Party. Ya know? GOP?
You expect too much.
Hi PJ. That's a funny piece of course, and a good one, even if you're rightist in tendencies in some ways.
I think your clearly right about Perry having been the logical candidate, if.... I still don't understand that really, as polishing can be done in these things, like Condi Rice with W, enough to be passable, if not eloquent. One of Perry's "gaffes" however wasn't a gaffe now as to immigration and not just blowing off Latino voters. Perry may still have a future as the VP choice, as he and Romney make total sense in traditional terms, or Santorum too, a purple state native that the Republicans need to pull really. PA voted for Hoover in 32, and has a very active Party base there.
Santorum ... in PA, people loved him on the Right, and hated him for the same reasons, of course, because if you want a traditional Catholic, he's your guy, and someone who's good to have as a neighbor too, not of course in itself a qualification, or not, to be President. He can also bring some people out as to motive that's the antagonist to that too. Reagan was like that, although he had some charisma that was just... hard to find, even if you didn't like him, which of course a lot of people actually didn't.
Romney... he's the Rockefeller Republican type, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have never understood why people don't say in the Party, "If he was courting your daughter, would you really object to the Harvard JD, and MBA who doesn't smoke, drink, and won't cheat on her or hit her? " Probably pretty eligible guy so to speak, if you're a Republican, which of course, you aren't PJ.
I think the Republican candidates are actually a good lot, if you are a Republican of course, which you aren't, if the way our media is now, its not encouraging.... the most articulate people to be the ones running for office, maybe. Its a big learning curve too.
Barrack Obama is a hard act to follow as a speaker too, and Newt does have the edge, probably, of holding his own better than most. In the end, the Republicans have their schisms, just however, like do the Democrats, if usually Republicans are better at covering them up. We live however in a non-deferential age, and an egalitarian one, which is a bit of a connundrum for a conservative movement, although, Newt historicall speaking was good at expressing ideas as to how market incentives like private accounts for Social Security, or bonuses for social workers who get clients to stay off welfare etc and even a bonus for what they earn as private sector work, or, the same with merit pay for teachers. Of course, Obama himself isn't really that liberal in a lot of ways, as no one who is a law professor can be a total radical, which of course exposes sometimes certain cleavages in the Democrats.
Thanks, Don

You're right that I'm not a Repub, but I'm pretty much a disaffected Democrat, so I can enjoy a wider view, as you do, sometimes. :)
I think the GOP's problem is beyond the ease of various segments being able to assert their cause. That doesn't help, but the problem is the Movement Conservatives don't know how to quit moving. That's the problem with ideologies in general, same as selling widgets and having to constantly make them newer and improved and thinking of new ad slogans. It's pretty much the same damn widget, it's the customers that change because they have to keep being goaded.

What the base needs is to be shown how popular they really are, as they spend half their time thinking they're the majority and the other half being an oppressed minority. If they never learn their place in the scheme, they'll die of intense manic-regressivism...and take the party and, God help us all, perhaps the country down with 'em.

As things are now, the "conservatives" are standing athwart history, yelling...well...just yelling.

I'll leave you with what should be the Dem campaign slogan:

Vote Democratic. They'd be Easier to Fix.
Priceless, brilliant, as ever, and exactly on the mark. I must take issue with a couple of points though:

(1) "This one is a train wreck of B-list candidates". Trump, Cain, Perry, Bachmann do not qualify as B-list in my world. The letter F seems far more fitting, particularly since Trump wore out the F-word in front of that audience of ladies out West, Cain seems to have made a second career out of fornication, Perry spent was enamored of the rear of his pony and Bachmann -- well, apparently her nominally-hetero husband managed to control his gag reflex long enough to copulate with her a time or two.

(2) "Newt is why the argument you had with your feverishly ideological and benighted Uncle Johnny last Thanksgiving will be the same next year." I'll have you know I am in no way related to either Uncle Chri or Johnny Fever. Indeed, I question whether either is a result of any human pairing.
Thanks, Tom

I don't think you can use alphabet for Trump, Cain, Bachmann et and al. Negative numbers would work.

As to the rest, you're a better code-cracker than the Enigma Machine. :)
Because of your indepth soliloquy - I can go hibernate until the whole #%&@# thing is over! Great cartoon too! R
You have a way with words and this was a funny read. Anytime I can bring myself to laugh about this collection of jack wagons is a good day. So you get my compliments and a rating.
Marilyn,
I'm glad I could let you get some sleep. It's not an easy thing to watch. They need highlight reels once a week so it's like ripping off a bandage.
PJ II will thank you for the compliment on the 'toon. It's a slick'n.

Desnee,
Thanks. It hurts worse when ya don't laugh, but with a cast of characters like these, it ain't often painful.
I've given up political interest, it finally wore me out. This was a great piece and I found it piqued my interest more than anything I've read in ages. To me, the little I see of these freaks reminds me of the Three Stooges with Newt as mean Moe. If they'd start eye poking and bopping each other I'd watch them again. I miss Palin, the testoterone tootsie but not boring Bachmann.

I suppose I finally got bored with watching crazies who enjoy the cycle. You can talk to people who aren't intelligent and get the points across, insane people will get help or self-destruct. It is what it is. Masters of their domain, hahaha... we're all slaves on both sides. Excellent close.

Rated with pleasure.
A gonzo scenario that actually holds water. I can't imagine it happening though. Mitt will win the nomination but the only time you'll see the "Romney Fever Sweeping America" headline will be in The Onion. The republican Party was written off for dead after 2008 but resurrected quickly enough. I expect they'll be around OK in 2016 in their usual fractious state.
I gotta hand it to you Paul, you're inching towards relevancy.
Interestingly, I also had the same views with regards to the hypothesis that A-list candidates are waiting for the next election. As usual, your posts are always fun to read!
Thanks Bleue,
I actually have little interest in the day-to-day grind of politics, so I can relate. After many years watching, knowing what I’m looking at is easy, though. 3 Stooges is a good comparison, but leaves out Ron Paul...like I did above...kinda running long, so he didn’t make the cut. The Marx Brothers would work Paul into it as Groucho, off the wall, but making more sense than Newt Chico or Santorum Harpo. Zeppo is the easily forgettable Romney, who has his shirts starched while he’s wearing them.
It could work, Abra

The most likely scenario has Santorum losing voters to Newt over his comment about mainline Protestantism, as good an excuse as any for backing away from the prig. Few of those will go to Romney, so Newt gains, but the vote keeps getting split to Mitt's advantage.
Mitt's hyper-overdrive manner of speaking is off-putting and his unappealing personality--the only way can use the word re: Mitt -- crosses party boundaries.
spum,
I am the International Standard for Relevance.

Kanuk,
It is pretty funny that the GOPers talk trash, threatening to go get their big brother to whup everyone's ass. When he shows up, he's an anorexic wisp that can be blown over by a sneeze. Without a doubt, if they thought they had this one as easy as they claim, the primary field would be crowded with more realistic contenders.

Sacrificial lamb Romney should make Mint Jelly his running mate.
I salute you, Mr. O'Rourke, with a tip of my flask fill with cheap scotch. A fun read indeed. I'm going fishing. My day is made.

Great stuff.
funny, insightful, and accurate, but this election won't be won or lost by "Republicans" in the final analysis. They've always been the minority party, but they vote. It's so-called liberals who defect from Obama who will determine the outcome and for that reason the Republican candidate doesn't matter--no matter how base and "stupid" their appeal.
Fly,
Thanks. I hope you caught more fish than buzz.

ben,
It's easy to excite the Rwing base voters, no matter what. However, enthusiasm deficits will still wear at the margins.
Those voters Obama disappointed will be excited by the excited Rwing , especially women, so he'll get a decent turn out. Enthusiasm, again, pecking away at the margins.

The problem with Obama and the Dems in general is they're not motivated to press the case they should because all they have to do is point at the Republicans, who are ass-over-head insane.

Newt, again. Newt is the GOP, the GOP is Newt.
I don't get the Newt part any more with Santorum picking up speed. His most pernicious jab so far, calling Obama the "foodstamp" president worked for him with the good old boys in SC, but didn't work in Fla., and I don't see it happening in Mi. either, which is where I'm from. I'm predicting a Santorum/Romney ticket--uniting the establishment and the fundies. While Newt personifies it best he's no Bush i.e. a blueblood who was redeemed. All I really feel certain about is once they pick their candidate they're gonna vote for him no matter what and Obama's bending over for them didn't work.
You can see it here on OS. The number of posts and posters who have railed against Obama as a traitor to their cause and his campaign have been silenced. I don't think that's because of anything moderates have pointed out to them.

If nothing else, the Republican primary has shown the true horror of what Obama has been facing--politically and ideologically. Whether they will relent, however, by election time remains to be seen.

I'm betting on Righteous Rick in Ohio.
ben,
My point here is to ridicule the base and the establishment and truthfully describe the split, not show why I think Newt will get the nod. I use Newt as a shepherd might a goat on a cold desert night. Though nobody knows for sure, I doubt Romney would want Saint Rick on the ticket. Santorum's religious right support might be stronger than Mitt's establishment support, but it's still wide and shallow.

After Mitt wins, the idea will be to put as much distance between himself and Santorumonious sanctificatin' as possible, so he goes for the southern balancing act with Rubio or something like that.
The religious Right knows they can't win with one of their Cause Candidates, so they'll play along, again, as much as possible.

I think Ohio might surprise us, as most are aware of the Importance of Ohio to the GOP Winning Template and perhaps there's enough base pragmatists who will acknowledge the futility of Rick.
I see Rick and Mitt holding hands on the podium as the ultimate proof of the unity and selflessness that will bring down Obama and hold together the Rove coalition. What more can the rank and file ask? If it's Mitt its gotta be a fundie, and not a Catholic. Mi. showed they're getting too educated to fall for the routine.
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very, very funny. wow...I wish you could do one of these on WI politics. Have you ever read "The Onion" out of Madison? This reminds me of them ~
I was monitoring a Tea Party website, and one of the cowboy hat wearing T-Pee'ers was snorting about how the Republican Party had betrayed them, and they were going to show them Krazy Khristers a thing or two and start their own party.

At that point, I felt like breaking open the bottle of champagne.
Love the puns, spoonerisms, entendres and logic. I just hope you're not overestimating the intelligence of the voting boobswazzie.