Sunday, January 22, 2012
The Irony of Newt Versus Mitt
Republican primary voters in South Carolina have upturned the punditry by giving the amoral adulterer and sanctimonious hypocrite a primary win over the monogamous Mormon. As political analysts have said over and over, for the past 30 years, the winner of the Republican primary in South Carolina has gone on to get the Republican nomination. I have a feeling that it won't happen this time, though. Newt has more baggage than a luggage carousel at a busy airport terminal. But a win is a win and what this tells us is that South Carolina evangelicals do not like the Mormon church. This is obviously religious bigotry at its worst (when evangelical Christians would rather vote for a lying, hypocritical, adulterer who joined the Catholic Church when he married a third time than a monogamous family man who shares their same conservative values).
I actually laughed at the results of this primary because it is proof that karma is a real principle. One of the aspects of karma that I read about is that you eventually become the thing that you hate. In the case of the Republican Party, they made "family values" a campaign issue in 1992 when Governor Bill Clinton became the nominee, because he had a infidelity problems. It was such a shallow premise, though, because President G.H.W. Bush never spoke about "family values" prior to 1992. He didn't want to talk about the economy because the country was in a recession at the time, but they thought character was a winning issue. Clinton did have character, though. When the going got tough and the slings and arrows started aiming his way, he never quit and he never backed down. He was tenacious and though adultery was a problem, Clinton also never made himself out to be "holier-than-thou" or the bastion of morality. He simply focused on the issues that mattered ("It's the economy, stupid!"). Republicans continued the "family values" issue in 1994 mid-terms, 1996, 1998 mid-terms, and the 2000 elections.
How did the karma boomerang come back to the Republicans? Well, Newt Gingrich is that immoral candidate with no family values that "values voters" claimed not to want in a president. But in 2012, these voters will have to choose between a man who makes Clinton look like a Boy Scout and a flip-flopping, wealthy elite politician from Massachusetts whom no one seems to like. Doesn't that sound familiar? In 2004, the Republicans painted John Kerry as a "flip flopper". He was also wealthy / elite, and Republicans even made snarky comments in 2004 that he "looks French." Romney actually served a Mormon mission in France (when guys his age were fighting in Vietnam, a war that he supported but couldn't bother to participate in). It is amazing that in 2012, twenty years after the rise of Bill Clinton, the Republican Party is going to throw out family values and consistency as virtues to promote. In 2012, Gingrich is the Republican version of Clinton and Romney is their version of Kerry. Karma is a bitch.
Of course I laughed at the South Carolina primary results. The Democrats have become the Republicans and the Republicans have become the Democrats. For my entire life, the Republican Party claimed to be the party of foreign policy. They are the ones that will keep the country safe. You can bank on it. Since 1992, they claimed to be the party of "family values." Now, we have a president with incredible family values and a successful foreign policy we haven't seen since George Herbert Walker Bush was president. And Obama has a Nobel Peace Prize to boot, which no sitting U.S. president has won since Theodore Roosevelt over a century ago.
So Republicans, I hope you love your choices. Remember: stop hating because you will become what you hate. Now you have to choose between the Newt and the Mitt. Maybe in 2016, you won't be so ideologically rigid and actually choose a moderate (hint, hint: Scott Brown!). But, you have to get through 2012 first.