Michele, we hardly knew ye (and other notes on the horse race)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announces the end of her presidential campaign in West Des Moines

Reuters photo

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann announces today that her sixth-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucuses has induced her to quit her quest for the White House.  

We won’t have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore. At least not for a while.

Bachmann dropped out of the Repugnican Tea Party horse race after garnering only 5 percent — sixth place — in the Iowa caucuses yesterday. 

Yahoo! News quotes Bachmann’s communications director as having told reporters of Bachmann, “She doesn’t see where she made mistakes. None of us, you know, see where there were mistakes made.”

Gee, maybe that was their primary problem: their inability to recognize their mistakes. 

I remember when “President” George W. Bush, on at least one occasion before a television camera, struggled to come up with any mistakes that he’d made as “president” when a reporter had asked him to list any.

The inability to enumerate any of one’s mistakes is a pretty fucking serious pathology.

Speaking of Gee Dubya, it is interesting that his name rarely comes up in the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential horse race when he was his party’s last occupant of the White House, for a full eight years.

It is as though extraterrestrials shoved memory-erasing probes up our collective national rectum, completely wiping out our collective memory of the years 2001 through 2008, idn’t it? Indeed, we went right from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, did we not?

Speaking further of Gee Dubya, about the only time He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned has come up this quadrennial go-around is when people have asked if we really want another governor of Texas ascending to the Oval Office.

Speaking of Texas governors, unlike even Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Prick Perry can’t take a hint. Despite coming in at fifth place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (with only 10 percent of the vote), Perry has proclaimed that he will compete in the January 21 South Carolina primary, where, he remarked, “real” Repugnican Tea Partiers will vote, as opposed to those “quirky” Iowans.

Iowans indeed are quirky, although “quirky” sounds like a dangerously minimizing euphemism for “bat-shit-crazy theofascist.” 

However, Perry should have done better in Iowa, with its plethora of “Christo”fascists to whom he is trying to appeal. If he doesn’t appeal to the “quirky” Iowans, it’s difficult to see him appealing to the Repugnican Tea Party nationally.

The Associated Press reports that Perry today “said voters in South Carolina share his values and that he feels confident he will do well there.”

Share his values? Is that code for Texas and South Carolina both being bastions of white supremacists who long for the “good old days” of the Confederacy? (“Quirky” Iowa, of course, never was part of the treasonous Confederacy, but both Texas and South Carolina seceded from the Union before President-Elect Abraham Lincoln even took office in 1861.) 

Prick Perry had an uphill battle as it was, joining the horse race relatively late and reminding everyone of the last governor of Texas who went to the White House — the “president” who was so shitty that the members of his own party pretend as though his two terms hadn’t even happened — but Perry blew it by acting like a drunken Alzheimer’s patient in the nationally televised debates and in other public appearances.

He might do fairly well in fellow secessionist state South Carolina, but only 11 states formed the Confederacy, and Perry would have to do much better than that to win his party’s nomination.

Perry has only himself to blame for his failure, not “quirky” Iowa or anyone or anything else (with the possible exception of Gee Dubya, of course, for having soured the nation, even his own party, on governors from Texas).

Hopefully, though, Perry will do horribly in South Carolina and we’ll be done with him then.

Ditto for Rick Santorum.

However, at least one pundit posits that Santorum, because he trailed permacandidate Mitt Romney, the party establishment’s choice (indeed, 2008 party presidential candidate John McCainosaurus just endorsed Romney), by only eight (yes, 8) votes yesterday in the Iowa caucuses, might make it even beyond “Super Tuesday” on March 6.

I can’t see Santorum winning the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party nomination. Do the Repugnican Tea Partiers really want to front against President Barack Obama a candidate who lost his last election (his 2006 re-election bid to the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania) to his Democratic challenger by 18 percent, which Wikipedia calls “the largest margin of defeat for any incumbent senator since 1980 and the largest margin of any incumbent Republican senator ever”?

And how can Santorum, whose fundraising and organization lag woefully behind permacandidate Romney’s, catch up now, even if he does get the lion’s share of Newt Gingrich’s and Bachmann’s and Perry’s supporters? (Gingrich came in at fourth place in Iowa yesterday, by the way, which I’d find more encouraging if McCainosaurus also hadn’t come in at fourth place in Iowa in 2008 yet still won his party’s nomination.)

But I can see Santorum dragging the whole mess out, although hopefully not nearly as long as Obama and Billary Clinton dragged out the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential primary season (in which Obama didn’t emerge victorious until June 2008).

Oh, well.

It will, I suppose, provide more blogging fodder, and a prolonged fight between the establishmentarian Repugnicans, represented by Romney, and their “tea party” wing, represented, for the moment, by Santorum, might only swing even more “swing voters” Obama’s way in November 2012.

Obama sucks* and does not deserve to be re-elected, but push come to shove — and you’d have to push and shove me pretty hard — I suppose that I’d prefer his re-election over another Repugnican in the White House. I, for one, have not forgotten the eight long years of unelected rule by George W. Bush.

P.S. How could I forget Ron Paul? He did, after all, come in third place in the Iowa caucuses yesterday (at 21 percent, just behind Romney and Santorum, who were tied at 25 percent), and anyone who makes the top three in Iowa generally is considered to be a viable candidate for his or her party’s presidential nomination.

Well, let’s face it: Paul has a few positions that even progressives like me agree with, and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald is correct that Paul, while wrong on many if not most issues, has brought up some critically important issues that neither the Coke Party nor the Pepsi Party wants brought up in a presidential campaign. But the bottom line is that Paul isn’t taken seriously even by his own party, so what progressives think of Paul is a fairly moot point.

Ron Paul is treated like his party’s crazy old uncle, and having attained only to the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul never really had a chance anyway. (This was unfortunately true for Democratic Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is treated like his party’s crazy uncle [he was my ideological favorite for 2004, but his nationally presidential unelectability was clear, and so I supported John Kerry, whom I viewed as much more electable] — and fortunately true also for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.)

If Ron Paul wants to run as an independent/third-party candidate, he has my blessing, though. Although many if not most Democrats deny it, it seems to me that the third-party presidential bid of billionaire H. Ross Perot (yet another Texas special) largely was a reason that Bill Clinton denied the first George Bush a second term in 1992.

*The Obamabots have easily toppled “defenses” of President Hopey-Changey — you should read Ted Rall’s recent column titled “How to Talk to an Obama Voter (If You Must)” for a list of a few of these “defenses” and why they’re bullshit. Here, I think, is the money shot:

Obamabot Talking Point: If I don’t vote for Obama, the Even Worse Republicans win.

Answer: So vote for Obama. Or don’t vote. It makes no difference either way. Voting is like praying to God. It doesn’t hurt. Nor does it do any good. As with religion, the harm comes from the self-delusion of thinking you’re actually doing something. You’re not. Wanna save the world? Or just yourself? That, you’ll have to do outside, in the street.

But perhaps Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi delivers the most scathing criticism of President Hopey-Changey that I’ve seen (at least in a long time) in his recent piece titled “Iowa: The Meaningless Sideshow Begins.” The money shot of the piece, I think, is this (the links are all Taibbi’s and the emphases are mine):

… But the ugly reality, as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.

That damning statistic just confirms what everyone who spends any time on the campaign trail knows, which is that the presidential race is not at all about ideas, but entirely about raising money.

The auctioned election process is designed to reduce the field to two candidates who will each receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from the same pool of donors. Just take a look at the lists of top donors for Obama and McCain from the last election in 2008.

Obama’s top 20 list included:

 McCain’s list, meanwhile, included (drum roll please):

Obama’s list included all the major banks and bailout recipients, plus a smattering of high-dollar defense lawyers from firms like WilmerHale and Skadden Arps who make their money representing those same banks. McCain’s list included exactly the same banks and a similar list of law firms, the minor difference being that it was Gibson Dunn instead of WilmerHale, etc.

The numbers show remarkable consistency, as Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup all gave roughly twice or just over twice as much to Obama as they did to McCain, almost perfectly matching the overall donations profile for both candidates: overall, Obama raised just over twice as much ($730 million) as McCain did ($333 million).

Those numbers tell us that both parties rely upon the same core of major donors among the top law firms, the Wall Street companies, and business leaders – basically, the 1%. Those one-percenters always give generously to both parties and both presidential candidates, although they sometimes will hedge their bets significantly when they think one side or the other has a lopsided chance at victory. That’s clearly what happened in 2008, when Wall Street correctly called Obama as a 2-1 (or maybe a 7-3) favorite to beat McCain.

The 1% donors are remarkably tolerant. They’ll give to just about anyone who polls well, provided they fall within certain parameters. What they won’t do is give to anyone who is even a remote threat to make significant structural changes, i.e. a Dennis Kucinich, an Elizabeth Warren, or a Ron Paul (hell will freeze over before Wall Street gives heavily to a candidate in favor of abolishing their piggy bank, the Fed). So basically what that means is that voters are free to choose anyone they want, provided it isn’t Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul, or some other such unacceptable personage.

If the voters insist on supporting such a person in defiance of these donors – this might even happen tonight, with a Paul win in Iowa – what you inevitably end up seeing is a monstrous amount of money quickly dumped into the cause of derailing that candidate. This takes overt forms, like giving heavily to his primary opponents, and more covert forms, like manufacturing opinions through donor-subsidized think tanks and the heavy use of lapdog media figures to push establishment complaints. …

President Hopey-Changey can’t even pretend to be on the side of the 99 percent when it’s the 1 percent — the Wall Street weasels and their allies — who gave him many more millions than they gave even to McCainosaurus in 2008.

And it’s the numbers next to the bullet points above that explain why I refer to the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party: the two are fairly indistinguishable. (I am, by the way, a registered member of the Green Party, and proudly so.)

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