by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 30th, 2011
Surprisingly, the media has decided that, despite the eight candidates running, the race for the Republican nomination is a two man show between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
This seems oddly reminiscent of 2007, when the media reached a similar decision about Romney and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for the 2008 GOP nomination won by John McCain. If these two men are what the GOP has to offer, then so be it.
In 1994, when challenging Ted Kennedy for his senate seat, Romney declared that he could outperform Kennedy on issues of gay rights. Infamously among members of the far right, Romney also instituted so-called “Romney-care”, a universal health-care scheme in Massachusetts which allegedly served as the model for Obama-care.
Romney has done everything in his power to distance himself from his past bouts of sanity, mostly by attempting to canonize Ronald Regan. This strategy does not appear to be working, as Romney has been overtaken in the most recent polls by none other than Rick Perry.
If Romney is the Tea Party’s idea of a moderate, then Perry, who succeeded George Bush as governor of Texas in 2000, is their perfect man. When he proudly proclaimed that Texas executed a whopping 234 inmates during his tenure, the crowd at the NBC Republican Debate at the Reagan Library burst into spontaneous applause.
I will admit my beef with Perry is partially personal since he beat Houston mayor Bill White for the Governorship in 2010. (I volunteered on the White campaign.) Perry is the proverbial Tea Party ubermensch: a Pro-gun, Pro-life, Pro-Jesus-in-science-class, gay-basher politician who picked up right where Bush left off. Even with such a crimson record of orthodoxy, Perry still found himself defending one of his more moderate positions, on immigration, at the CNN Tea Party Debate. I am beginning to suspect Reagan himself couldn’t please the Right wing of today’s GOP.
The inadequacy of these two candidates speaks volumes about the current state of the GOP. Under most circumstances, the president would be in a very bad situation right now.
The economy is still weak, unemployment has risen back into double digits, and former Democratic strongholds, like Anthony Wiener’s old district, are going red. Yet the Republicans continue to drive themselves further right, away from moderate voters who otherwise might very well hand them the presidency.
The race for the Republican nomination now comes down to Mr. Generic facing off against Dubya’s heir, at least according to CNN and FOX. These two certainly seem like front-runner material, at least in this bizarre election, but I suspect there are more twists yet to come.
However, unless they involve aliens coming and abducting Michelle Bachmann, I fear that the future bodes ill for centrists and moderate conservatives alike.
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