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The International Writers Magazine:: Reality Check USA + Readers Responses

Revenge of the Nerds
• James Campion
GOP Establishment Corner Conservative Insurrection

The Alamo for the short-lived TEA Party Era and its social conservative underbelly is nigh. It takes place as this goes to press with its best presidential candidate left ignoring polls, election results, pundit prognostication, entrenched Republican power-plays, high-profile endorsements, a paltry campaign bankbook, history, and his party's better wishes to quit.

Rick Santorum's consolidated support has a staunch foundation that appears ready to make one last pitch to Republican voters to curtail the candidacy of moderate, Mitt Romney. And the anger in the Republican Party today is palpable.
    Despite protestation to the contrary, party officials are convinced that this primary season has severely weakened an already pathetic candidate, who after nearly six years running for president has taken far longer than any expected to clear a shaky field. The process has taken its toll; shedding likely Independent support as well as eradicating the women's vote, which has gone from a 14 percent gap to a present 37 percent chasm. A national candidate with a singular economic message in a dire economic landscape was dragged kicking and screaming into ethnic, social, religious and gender issues that has cost the party precious time and money in which to aim at an extremely vulnerable incumbent.
    The party knows this middling argument that a protracted primary fight that assisted the branding of Barack Obama in 2008 does not apply to Romney. In the winter of '07 Obama was an unknown commodity and trailing a political monolith whose credentials and long-standing party affiliation was daunting. Hillary Clinton not only owned the Democratic Party when Obama began his long slog to the nomination, she had all the money and prospects to earn her Madam Shoo-in tag. Not to mention Obama's grassroots, social media strategy that took time to develop and expand in each state he contested; something that closed the familiarity and money gap with each primary.
    In this hackneyed analogy, Romney is Hillary Clinton. He has the party gravitas, the treasure and the name recognition that by all measures of competition should have laid waste to what at first was a comical set of challengers that eventually turned into a rank amateur opposition. Newt Gingrich never had any money and hardly maintained a coherent strategy from the opening bell. After the anti-Romney wing ran out of Trojan Horses, Santorum was left standing -- a man with less resources and a far more haphazard organization than Gingrich.
    But it mattered little in the end. The Republican Party rounded up every statesmen, governor and celebrity within the contiguous United States to beat the drum, albeit half-heartedly, for Romney, reasoning that the object is to present a viable candidate to defeat this president, a constitutional lawyer, whose signature piece of legislation is about to be deemed a pox on that very document by the Supreme Court with an over 8 percent unemployment number and rising gas prices. Money and pressure from the media -- along with several antediluvian stances on 21st century concepts -- sunk Rick Santorum and the underground conservative movement. Allowing a rotting corpse to foul the Republican brand any longer is political suicide.
    But Santorum was never the issue for the anti-Romney contingent. They would have been just as happy with Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or the television hack or the pizza guy. Hell, up until two weeks ago there was serious talk by respected political minds of a brokered convention and another goddamn Bush being yanked from the closet to front the ticket. And so with the tolling bell, the anti-Romney voices shall rise up with a plan to press Gingrich to finally drop the charade and hand over his support and more importantly his delegates to Santorum for one last Pickett's Charge.
    However, reports are now surfacing that Gingrich is adamant in making a mockery of the Republican Convention in August, threatening over the past weeks that he would seriously consider an exploratory independent research party to siphon votes from a general election pool that would in all likelihood end up in a four to six point dogfight by November. Getting out of the race for Gingrich, who realizes at this stage of his career -- his advanced age and legitimacy within the party he once toiled for -- has scorched every bridge he has crossed and is acting like the worst kind of political wild animal; a man with nothing left to lose.
    Gingrich's exit is the key to sustaining any real hope for survival until August for the anti-Romney contingent. Making the case that a two-man race has prevented Santorum from truly challenging Romney will have to suffice. Having a candidate drop his home state, as it appears Santorum will do in Pennsylvania barring overcoming a 12 percent deficit, is a sinking narrative, but not the death knell wrongly reported.
    Ignoring the expected hoopla surrounding Romney's inevitability, the math simply does not add up. He cannot make the requisite delegate count by August and even with a body-blow victory in Pennsylvania, beginning on May 8, the month holds a minefield for the Romney campaign. If previous primary results are any indication, contests first in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, then onto Oregon (May 15), followed by Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), and finally the mother of all Southern primaries, Texas on May 28 will at the very least keep Romney in a stalemate and may make a case for a Santorum alternative.
     This is why Republican Party officials are calling for order and not a complete count of the votes. Santorum was technically right the other evening when he proclaimed the primary season at its halftime. There is voting to be done, none of which will make him the nominee, but could dismantle the inner workings of the party the way the Ronald Reagan late surge in 1976 pushed Gerald Ford to the brink, making him spend money and time proving for all intents and purposes he was as ineffectual a candidate as originally presumed. Ford's improbable two-month comeback against Jimmy Carter fell just short, a deficit Republican historians say now could have been solidified had Reagan not selfishly cut the incumbent president to ribbons.
    That is the Reagan Revolution in a nutshell; the revolt was internal, like all serviceable revolts, and like all serviceable revolts, provided casualties. But Rick Santorum is no Reagan. He is unlikable, spiteful and quick to irrational anger. Unlike Reagan, an actor, union leader, corporate pitch man and governor, he is untrained and sloppy and he, according the political high rollers, is a beast in the hen house that they have responsibly invested, maneuvered and intimidated all variables to secure.
    As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.
© James Campion April 6th 2012

Health Care On Trial
James Campion

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year. It was true then and it is true now.

Look Away Dixie Land
James Campion

The Sunshine State takes front and center this week for its ham-fisted legislative racketeering and obligatory confederate axiom to shoot first and figure out the motivation much, much, much later.


The following is just a flavor of the overwhelming response to LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND -- Issue: 3/28 and the in particular the Trayvon Martin shooting, Florida politics, Southern culture, the media firestorm, and the defense of George Zimmerman.

Mr. Campion,

Your calculated obliteration of the South may have tickled the elitist-driven hatred of your hero, the mean-spirited, foul-mouthed Henry Louis Mencken and today's North East journalistic establishment, but it comes off as petty, arrogant and horribly divisive. Where culture fits into this terrible tragedy for Florida and America in general is up for debate, but to make this a regional attack and bring up Medgar Evers and the burning of black churches in Mississippi was wholly irresponsible and the type of ill-reason that has more or less fueled the media-driven insanity going on right now.
    This is the lynch mob, sir. The trial by hearsay and innuendo that has already hung Mr. Zimmerman, who may or may not be guilty of cold-blooded murder vs. self-defense that is, (at least you got this part right, although I disagree with your assessment) within his rights on the Stand Your Ground law.
    You and your ilk should be ashamed.

E. Dunn

Wow. Holy crap that was a whiz-bang, kill-hell, shit-me-not column to beat all columns. You are the ballsiest mother whipping up a frenzy in the editorial world right now. I don't know whether to throw up or applaud. I, like yourself it seems, am fairly horrified by the actions of most of humanity around the world, and know full well what the South has represented in the far-reaching violent American culture for more than two centuries, but this is the most black and white of your sentiments, almost alarmingly so. I enjoy the JC that hits and runs without getting his hands dirty. Son, you are covered with the stuff; please pick whatever stuff you'd like to be covered with. But to be sure you have voiced an interesting strike across the bow.
    As Rick Santorum would say, "Game on!"

Wayne K. K.

Once again, James, you have taken a difficult and divisive event and cut it down to its most nerving nub; the law, my friends, that's what should be on trial, and the culture of violence that has led to that law! My God, can you imagine, as you did so brilliantly in your list of times and places had you had a gun and the complete right to use it based on a "feel" of being threatened the carnage that would have ensued, if this was the law of the land? So what if George Zimmerman was getting his ass kicked; first of all he asked for it by following and in a way harassing this poor kid. Then as he is being pummeled he shoots the kid dead? And then the police are prevented from doing proper police work for over a month and it wouldn't have even come to light if not for black activists. And now they are forced to pick up the pieces with no forensic evidence and barely any eyewitness accounts, many of them reportedly contradicting the others, as is usually the case in these things.
    This unbelievable naïve and dangerous law should be on trial, and with the exception of a few commentators and the odd lawyer interviewed about the case, this has hardly come up outside of the Reality Check universe.

Sharon Mondo

You have made the point. What is George Zimmerman guilty of if it is legal to kill someone based on your own, right at the moment (professional police officer trained in these situations be damned) understanding of a situation? Especially, you might add, a situation in which you may be threatened and then get to act out as judge, jury and executioner in that one vital moment when any human being -- Southern, Northern, American or otherwise would act irrationally. Jeb Bush and the Florida congress is guilty for allowing its citizenry to carry out personal justice and put the onus on them at the time of intense emotional rancor.
    What's next, back to lynching? New Salem witch hunts? Murdering more family planning doctors?
    What a mess.


Imagine if they had that law in N.J, It would look like Bull Run around here.

Kevin McCormick

I used to enjoy your articles; I actually thought you were a true gonzo journalist. Reading this article makes me loose (sic) much respect for you. Now don't misunderstand me I don't like the bigot norms of the South and I think what happened is a terrible tragedy.
    What disturbs me is that you are using this tragedy to bash a law. Just the kind of B.S. you would expect from a liberal, using a tragedy to promote your political agenda. This tragedy is not because of a law, just because people have guns does or the right to shoot each other doesn't mean they have to.
    This tragedy is a social one; lack of communication between citizens has lead to people not knowing their neighbors and treating everyone like a hostile stranger. Even your so-called liberals act like the black community doesn't exist until a tragedy like this happens. Just because you attend a couple charities in the so-called ghetto does not make you hip or down. Americans need to really get out there and meet there neighbors. Get to know them for the people they are, not what the media portrays, and maybe a tragedy like this could have been avoided.
    So next time you sit down and go to write a Reality Check do me a favor, reach up with your left hand, unclench your fist and let go of Nancy Pelosi's nut sac!

Bobby Devor


This one is tough because I do support the 2nd Amendment and I do support the right for civilians to arm themselves provided they meet all requirements in skill and sanity to carry a loaded firearm. I also support the "Stand Your Ground" law BUUUUUUUUT if you stand your ground and cap an unarmed teenager, your ass is going to the pokey. End of story. If the only thing that kid was carrying was a bag of skittles and you find that threatening then at minimum, you lose your weapons permit, if you cap that kid then you lose your freedom as well and become an inmate.
    We need to punish this guy but we cannot use it as a lever to help separate us from another Constitutionally protected right. Punish the individual not society as a whole.


Bill Roberts

Only in Florida; home of the hanging chad.


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