"This is how you create a Republican majority"
“A nuthouse divided against itself cannot stand.” A. Lincoln (sort of)
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:
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.)
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