International Writers Magazine: Reality Check
Make no mistake;
Bush is president because he was able to represent the pro-corporate,
geo-conservative, and religious-right segments of his party, while also
managing to hold a place for its dwindling moderates. So far several
of the current Republican candidates have only been able to match this
template as a group. No individual figure has yet emerged to connect
the dots, something that needs to be rectified before the final bell
rings in Minneapolis this September.
Heart & Soul of Party politics
- Part One
Republicans Define Internal Battle For 2008
dismal approval ratings, second-term numbness, and a celebrity fatigue
worthy of the latest Britney Spears meltdown, George W. Bush is
still the president of the United States. Love him or hate him,
he represents the man holding the prize currently being grappled
for daily across the contiguous map. And although most of the Republican
candidates have conspicuously kept his name out of the debate, his
specter looms large on how each may ultimately gain party favor
by rallying every wing, inevitably becoming, well... becoming Captain
Mitt Romney Buys Nevada
McCain wins South Carolina
The alternative is a convention looking oddly similar
to the fractured goofiness of the Democratic Party forty years ago,
absent doped-up student theatrics and subsequent cop beatings.
At the time of this writing, Mitt Romney is now the third
Republican presidential candidate to achieve victory over three different
contests. Romney best represents the "New Bush", an
establishment frontrunner; primed and garnished as the Grand Old Party's
most serviceable representative of its fiscally conservative/military-industrial-complex
platform. His only competitor for this title is Fred Thompson, a retired
Tennessee senator cum actor, who has displayed a less than enthusiastic
fervor to compete, and as a result, has not. Just the same, Romney has
failed to spark passion across several other key Republican agendas,
mostly the fairly moderate or culturally obsessed Christian lobbies.
Romney's fragile balancing act on the "electable"
tightrope is mainly due to an affected hedged-bet with social conservatives
and war hawks while clumsily managing to consistently distance himself
from them. Romney's Achilles heel is that Arizona senator and one-time
loser in this endeavor eight years ago, John McCain, has also adopted
this type of Clintonian/Bushesque two-faced boogie. While Romney has
been hatched from a queer religious bent with questionable blood-stances
on race, gender, and other hot-button political death-knells, McCain
has traveled from the other end of the long and winding independent/moderate
road, soliciting hard-line conservatives with only modest success.
Former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, joins McCain
in this purgatory. In the arena of vague socio-political positions,
be it abortion, gun control, or gay rights, or the unenviable tact of
backing the party-harangued Bush Immigration Amnesty plan, McCain and
Giuliani are a two-sided coin. Giuliani also joins McCain in trumpeting
the current administration's wacky war plans, using a strength-in-defense-stance
to corner the all-important "fear" market exploited with Machiavellian
brilliance in 2004 by the recently ostracized Karl Rove.
But McCain and Giuliani also share something more damning;
the "near-broke, barely-maintaining" image laughably ignored
by Romney. With an obscene heap of cash unrivaled by any candidate standing,
Romney officials' plan all along has been to use unlimited funds and
party muscle to all-but obliterate their "moderate" competition,
as a phenomenal lack of interest will surely jettison Thompson's Reaganville
Ah, but not to be denied is the very vocal, extremely
motivated, and heretofore unshakable foundation of the party's main
2004 voting block; Evangelical Christian conservatives, represented
notably by former Arkansas governor and current Baptist minister, Mike
Huckabee. After an upset bid in Iowa, the Huckabee camp has been driving
the God-Vote home, unleashing the candidate into Bible-waxing infinitum.
As long as Huckabee hangs around he will continue to hoard
the anti-gay, pro-life, Christmas fascists, and if and when he goes,
may be a powerful endorsement to whomever is left; a bad sign for Romney,
who has spent an inordinate amount of time and money mudslinging Huckabee
left, right, and in between.
Finally, there is the variable Alternate National Candidate
Status, executed with superb precision by the Bush Cabal in 2000. The
once motivated Anti-Clinton Engine set its collective sights on the
droning visage of Al Gore, the poster-boy for eight long years of the
Same-Old-Crap. This allowed Bush to eradicate the loose-cannon nonsense
of an independent-minded McCain campaign with one goal; recapture the
White House for the Republicans. Without this safety net -- since Republicans
are now the ones pitching eight more years of the Same-Old-Crap -- the
need for someone who can shine in a general election is not yet revealed
Repeat: Not yet.
A few more Clinton surprise victories or another streaking
Obama run could change all that. But if things continue to be mucked
up across the ideological aisle, then closer to home the party's three
or four or five divisions will need to be mended. Failing that, one
will emerge as the singular voice and dominate the fall agenda, providing
a clear choice for the remaining fifteen percent of the electorate who
will not be expected to vote blindly along party lines.
And as Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush kick themselves for
not throwing their tattered derby into the ring, the always-dangerous
Mike Bloomberg waits in the wings to fill the vacuum from his Independent
NEXT WEEK: THE HEART & SOUL OF DEMOCRATS
© James Campion Jan 20th 2008
Hampshire: Same Song & Dance
Shoo-In Weeps To Upset/Mac Is Back & Rudy Exhales. Momentum Halted.
Freight Train Derailed. Revolution stalled.
Rises, Hillary Skids/GOP Field Swings Wide On A Holy Huckabee Blip
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