Saturday, January 26, 2013

A big tent of crazy

Today I ran into a page that was talking about what Obama's reelection reveals about America. Which was, of course, the standard "people reject Republican agenda" idea. Nothing new, really, and mostly true, but boring.

What made me chuckle, however, was that while discussing why Obama won, they forgot the reason number zero - that his opponent was a truly terrible candidate. There are probably a few hundred people in the US who could relate to Romney, and they are probably split equally between the two ruling parties. But a few hundred people are not enough to win the vote.

Come to think about it, Romney could have been a Democratic candidate for President just as well - he would have had a similar amount of "base" - which is to say, almost none. He just happened to be a Republican because... well, because that job was available. If he were a Democrat, he would need to switch fewer positions than he had to become a primary-worthy Republican.

The truth is, Obama was a terrible candidate. He promised change, but delivered more of the same. Government secrecy - worse than under Bush. Military budget - bigger than under Bush. Whistleblower prosecutions - more than under anyone ( Income inequality - bigger than under Bush. DOJ pursues a guy who stole a few academic papers, yet lets the banksters who stole billions off the hook.

For a liberal, Obama was uninspiring with a capital U. I could not bring myself to vote for him, and ended up writing in Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert in his place. Yet not for a second did I doubt that Obama would win. Because even though Obama was uninspiring for the left, Romney was an order of magnitude more uninspiring - for everyone.

I mean, we just came out of a financial train wreck of epic proportions, and here we go, a candidate that runs for a President is a poster child for the forces that created the wreck. What can you expect?

So how did Republicans get a candidate like this?

Because between elections Republicans maintain a big tent. A big tent of crazy. They have people who believe that the Earth is 6000 years old and that the Creation "Museum" is in fact a... museum. They have people who say that evolution and the Big Bang are "lies from the pit of hell" - and probably even more people who do not know what Big Bang is. They have people who think that Obama is a foreign-born Muslim whose Harvard transcripts bear the mark of the Beast. They have people who pray for rain, but don't listen to scientists. They have people who feel safer with the military bigger than the next 10 combined, than with the health insurance. They have people who believe in death committees, want to keep the government out of their Medicare, and want abortion providers to be executed.

After years of gerrymandering, the big crazy camp keeps electing the worst idiots ever in Congress with clockwork predictability. However, once every four years some one has to step out of this asylum to run for the national office - and this is where the process gets confused. People who can win Republican vote have no chance of winning Presidency, and a person who can win Presidency has no chance of winning Republican hearts and minds.

So what to do? So every four years Republican strategists have to source a "more normal" person to appeal to the whole country. After the previous four years in the crazy camp, they only have a very fuzzy idea of what that might mean. Clearly the passion is out - last time a Republican said anything that his party passionately believed in on the national arena this did not end well. Clearly the guy must be rich (because "American Dream", and also because elections are an expensive business). Clearly his personal beliefs must be very flexible - the guy should have a "normal" track record, then win the Republican primary, and then become "normal" again.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Mitt Romney. The rest, as they say, is history.