And we’re off and running.
Well, perhaps “running” is the wrong word.
More like “careening wildly downhill while waving little pipe-stem arms in the air and screaming manically.”
Three hundred and fifty million Americans, and these chuckleheads are the choices?
I am, of course, talking about the Iowa Republican Caucus last night.
I didn’t have high hopes for this show in the first place, and in that regard it lived up to those expectations perfectly. As the pilot episode for the upcoming reality TV series, America’s Dumbest Electorate 2012, there was nothing original. Same predictable plot, same unlikable characters, same humorless formula, same tired laugh track, same lame jokes, same lowbrow studio audience. As I said on Facebook last night, it is during events like this where I really miss the slapstick antics of Herman Cain, because if ever there was a TV show that needed some gratuitous nudity, ribald shenanigans, and crass sexual innuendo it is certainly this one.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of jiggling boobs and ass grabbing on TV last night, but unfortunately not the kind to keep your eyes on the screen.
The show could have used a car chase and some Kung Fu.
And a monkey in a little silver vest playing a harmonica or a clever Jack Russell terrier riding a unicycle.
The comedian Paul Rodriguez used to do this bit about how war was God’s way of teaching us geography.
…two week ago I didn’t even know what a Kuwait was! I thought it was like a fruit from New Zealand!
I think he might have been on to something. It’s entirely possible that presidential primaries exist solely in order to teach us where the silly people live. By the time it’s over there are nice color coded charts that map out the places I should probably avoid for the next four years (Coincidently enough, those charts often tend to correspond to a geographic plot of this blog’s readership. For example, I don’t have a lot of fans in Iowa. Go figure. Maybe I should write about corn more. Of course, perversely that doesn’t explain why a significant fraction of my readership apparently resides in Texas. I can only assume those folks are the secret underground resistance movement. Either that or they are fuming and plotting my untimely demise). It sure would be nice if you could print those charts out in handy wallet size.
Now, Standard & Poor’s grades each state according to its financial viability. Here at Stonekettle Station we perform a similar service, i.e. we rank each state’s level of douchebaggery according to the SFMS – i.e. the Speculative Fiction Movie Scale (Battlefield Earth to The Princess Bride) – and last night I was forced to officially downgrade Iowa from The Postman to Pluto Nash. I’m sorry to take away the dubious balding chick-movie honor of your Costner and levy a Murphy on you, Iowa, but it’s not like you haven’t been asking for it. Keep this up, and I’ll be forced to suspend your Shatner too (props if you catch all the references in that. You’re also a complete nerd).
I know, I know. Pretty severe. Be glad I didn’t downgrade Iowa all the way to Bicentennial Man, because I could have.
No, it’s not because Iowa republicans exercised their democratic right to vote for whichever idiot they chose, it’s because of the idiotic reasons they gave for voting for said idiots.
In the hour before voting started, I heard a dozen interviews with Iowans who still had no idea who they were going to vote for. They’d done no research. They had no idea of each candidate’s position. The only thing they were sure of was that they hated Obama and the country was going down the crapper. After it was over, and Romney, Santorum, and Paul were declared The Winner, The Other Winner, and third, respectively, the interviews seemed to come in three basic flavors of Kool-Aid:
a) “Well, I really really really really really dislike Romney, I really like [Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Joker From Batman], but I voted for Romney because I hope he can beat Barack Obama even though I don’t really think he can.” The logic apparently being, I’d rather have a Republican I don’t like and with whom I disagree and who I think belongs to some weirdo non-Christian cult in the White House than a Democrat I don’t like and with whom I disagree and who I think belongs to some weirdo non-Christian cult even though I consider Romney a slimy progressive elitist who probably can’t win anyway because the only thing that matters in the whole world is that I hate Obama. Go team.
b) “Well, I really really really really really dislike Romney, so I voted for this guy
Sanitarium, Sanitation, Sarsaparilla, Santorum. I don’t really know anything about him, but, um, well, um, Mormon! Cult! Babies! America! And I heard that he loves the Jesus and hates the homos. Good enough.” The logic apparently being: no way in hell he’s going to beat Obama, but hey at least he’s not Romney. He’s also Catholic and not Gringrich, or a woman, or from Texas. Go Jebus.
c) “RON PAUL 2012!” The logic being, RON PAUL 2012! Frankly, I just don’t understand the infatuation with this guy. He’s 76 years old and apparently doesn’t understand how the internet works – but about a quarter of Iowans think it would be spiffy if he was sitting in the big chair helming the most technologically advanced economy in the world. He talks up the whole personal responsibility thing, but won’t take personal responsibility for newsletters and tweets issued under his own name. They hate Obama, but embrace a spoiler whose only real position is to siphon off half the independents and about twenty percent of disgruntled conservatives. Go Ross Perot.
Look, I’m not saying it was all bad. Every show has its high points. Hell, even X-Men Origins: Wolverine had its moments (none of which involved Hugh Jackman, but still).
Michele Bachmann got voted off the island. I’d consider that worth the price of admission alone. Her I’m-a-real-person speech last night after it was announced that the only candidate she’d managed to beat was the one that didn’t actually show up for the caucus was just plain hilarious. I’m a real person? Really Michele, you’re a real live person? So are gay people. So are non-Christians. So are liberals. So are the rest of us. Screw you, I hope you choke on your defeat. Go somewhere else and cry, you nasty selfish bitch. Don’t let the door hit you in your skinny white ass on the way out.
Edit: You know, on second thought, Iowa’s rejection of Bachmann changes things. I’m going to bump you back up to The Search For Spock. You’re welcome.
Gingrich was doing what he considers humility. Before the vote, when it was already apparent that he hadn’t been able to bullshit his way into Evangelical hearts despite a personal endorsement from God, he started lining up his excuses. It’s never Newt’s fault. “It's probably that I'm too reasonable," Gingrich said. "And I should've responded to the negative ads sooner." I’m too reasonable? That’s why I lost. I’m too reasonable. I fooled around on two wives because I loved America too much. Jesus Haploid Christ, and he calls Obama arrogant. What a pair of stones this guy has. I’m too reasonable. It’s not fair. Romney ran attack ads. Boo hoo. Newt seems to forget he’s the guy that invented this form of political campaign. He stormed out of Iowa headed East, you won’t have Newt to kick around any more! If only that were true.
So far, Pray For Rain Perry’s hanging in there like a chad on a Florida punch ballot, but man if he can’t win in Jesus’ home state of Iowa, he doesn’t have much of a chance in New Hampshire. Probably why he decided to skip it altogether and head for South Carolina. Frankly, if I was a South Carolinian, I think I’d be insulted by the insinuation.
Here’s the thing, normally predicting the outcome of primaries this far out is a sucker bet – Obama himself is a pretty good example of that. But, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that the Santorum Surge is a flash in the pan. Romney is going to win New Hampshire. And he’s going to win pretty much everywhere else too. Romney’s going to be this year’s Republican candidate. Bet on it. And he’ll most likely name Marco Rubio as his running mate because even if he does manage to secure the nomination he’s a weak, weak candidate at best – not even as well liked by Republicans as John McCain was. The only thing he’s got going for him is that Conservatives hate Obama. Romney had better not make the same Veep mistake McCain did.
In the end, Romney beat Santorum in Iowa by a total of eight votes.
And he only got that because there weren’t any better choices.
It’s going to be a long, long year.
I just hope I don’t have to downgrade the entire country to Waterworld come November.