Monday, January 02, 2012

Politics: Reps as Dems

Yeah, I've been putting off talking politics, keeping to some local stuff. But as things heat up for next election, where we're not only choosing a president but the entire Washington State government, we'll get more notes here. In this case, we're in that wafer-thin space between the last debate and the first primaries and caucuses. Most people haven't been paying attention, and we've already seeing dropouts even before the first vote.

Now, for those new to the 'street, let me be clear - I'm a leftie. You can call it progressive, but I will go with old-school liberal. Worse, I am one of the goo-goo types (goo-goo being short for good government, a Chicago term), who believes in seeking consensus and using process to advance your cause and honoring the spirit of the rule as opposed to just the letter. And while I am to the left of the current occupant of the White House (who will be his party's nominee, and as such is bad television), I still can see daylight between the two parties, even if I think both are being too conservative and/or corporate.

So I'm not going to concern-troll here. There very little that will make me vote for any of the folk running for the GOP position (yeah, I voted for Ford back in the day, but that was forever and a half ago, so calling me a former Republican is like calling me a former child). I would prefer to see a Republican candidate who, if elected, would do a good job as opposed to a nutter that hopefully be unelectable (though Americans are often punished by getting the leaders they deserve).

All that said, I think that the problem for the Republicans is that they are acting like Democrats. The GOP is supposed to be tight, small, organized, and heavy on message discipline. And most of all, following Reagan's Commandment of "Thous shall not speak ill of another candidate". This bunch? Not so much. In fact, it looks like they looted the political graveyards of previous Dem candidates in order to pull their gang together. I mentioned this four years ago, and it is even more clear this time out -  I mean, look at the comparisons:

Romney - A Massachusetts, non-protestant who supports universal health care and is accused of flip-flopping on his nuanced views? Meet John Kerry.

Gringrich - A charismatic, intellectual populist intensely disliked by Washington and known for adulterous relationships? Why don't you just nominate Bill Clinton and be done with it?

Paul - Equal parts enlightened and scary with a good ground game and organization, passionate, young supporters, ignored by the mass media until they find the right tool to slam him? Say hi to Howard Dean.

Santorum - The political bad penny. Odious and sanctimonious, he leaves you wondering how the heck he keeps showing up at the weirdest moments. Assumed to be running for VP. When he grows up, he'll be Lieberman.

Perry - A tough one. But he was considered an obvious contender until he actually entered the race, upon which he was set upon, dismembered, and left for dead. Let's go with Bill Bradley or Mario Cuomo.

Bachman - There are candidates that are not running for president or to make sure their issues are heard so much as maintaining their brand, so that after the inevitable defeat they can appear on TV shows as representing a particular demographic. The Dem version? Al Sharpton.

Huntsman - The candidate that everyone supposedly loves, but has no chance of winning. And if he ever got over single digits would be immediately savaged. Treated as a punchline by the cogonesti. The liberal version is that perennial short straw Dennis Kucinich.

(Cain) - Already dropped - Complete non-politician with hardcore following and makes whacky statements - Lyndon LaRouche.

(Palin) - Never declared but made a number of headfakes, looked at as being the great hope who would ride to the party's rescue - Wesley Clarke.

(Trump) - Another one dedicated to his personal brand, willing to run a third party despite the fact that it would be ultimately bad for his side of the argument - Ralph Nader.

(Palenty) - Here's an apparently nice guy for a politician, but never really gets any traction, could be confused with most of the rest of the Senate. Gephardt. I mean Edwards. I mean Richardson....

What's missing from this collection? A centrist who gives a good speech. Of course, we already HAVE one of those running as the Democrat.

More later,