Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Marianas Variety

It is interesting to contrast the 2012 Republican primary with the 2008 Democratic primary. In 2008, Democrats were overcome with stressful joy at the prospect of having so many great candidates, two of whom (Clinton and Obama) would be historic and nation-changing figures if elected. Fast forward to the Republican’s 2012 and we see a huge array of candidates, but little consistent enthusiasm.

In the last half of this year, Republicans have flirted with more “frontrunners” than Newt Gingrich has marriages. It will all be coming to a close soon, as the endless string of debates about who loves troops, tax cuts and Ronnie Reagan more will be eclipsed by the actual primary contests. Just as with the Democratic debates of 2008, little was yielded from them, as candidates are often more in agreement than disagreement, and did their best to score points by hitting each other with meaningless, witty one-liners. Before this great season of Republican tomfoolery comes to an end, I thought we’d look back at the Pokemon-like line-up that they’ve assembled so far.

Mitt Romney: The drama however where Romney seems unable to secure the first position in polling, and always seems to come in second to some temporarily insurgent flavor-or-the-week candidacy has been very interesting to watch. Romney always being a bridge groom and never a groom seems to be some friendly hazing. Republicans must really enjoy watching Romney pandering himself into knots in attempts to erase the memory of his liberal Massachusetts past. Still, his numbers have been consistent and he looks to be the likely nominee.

Ron Paul: Ron Paul is no longer supposed to exist. He and his kind were forced out of the party and into the wilderness in the 1980’s. When Republicans hear Ron Paul speak that are both enchanted and disgusted, in the same way you might react when you see pictures of yourself in high school. Ron Paul is a previous incarnation of an American Republican, and has such, something they respond to with great nostalgia, but also revulsion and embarrassment.

Donald Trump: He is the 1% and he is not ashamed of it. He is so rich he doesn’t have the ability to even consider what other people think, which is why his rhetoric as a politician is self-centered and childish. He is like much of the real estate and speculative projects he peddles; flashy and attractive from a distance, but up close, a terrible investment. In cartoonish fashion he is threatening to run if Republican voters nominate the wrong candidate.

Michelle Bachmann: Bachmann’s inability to admit that she is wrong, even about historical facts, would mean that she would be great at leading the party on time traveling adventures to change her mistakes into facts, and the lies Republicans tell themselves into truths. She is the type of candidate that you would most likely never want to actually have elected president, but you always want around because you never know what she is going to say next.

Rick Perry: If Rick Perry would lose his ability to speak, than he would immediately be the party’s nominee. Until then, he’ll just be great fodder for late night comedy shows.

Newt Gingrich: Since Rick Perry has thus far panned out as a candidate, the idea of nominating another type of George W. Bush “I think that candidate is dumb as a brick, but dammit I’d love to have a beer with that brick” is looking less and less appetizing. Gingrich is articulate, intelligent and therefore a nice conservative counter to Obama. The only problem with him is that if you know anything about Newt Gingrich, and what he has done or what he stands for, then you probably know enough about why he should never be President.

Herman Cain: The greatest candidate of them all. He argued that his appeal as a candidate was akin to a flavor of ice cream (black walnut). He reduced the intricacy of the economy to the number 9, written three times. He dealt with sex scandals the way a karabao swats away flies with its tail. His masterstroke unfortunately came, as his campaign imploded. During his speech where he officially suspended his campaign, Herman Cain uttered what The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has argued are the greatest 9 words ever spoken by an American politician, “I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie,” and he proceeded to then quote a Donna Summer song from the film Pokemon 2000.

Herman Cain is a rare treasure of a candidate. To continue the metaphor he invoked, he is like a rare, impossible to catch species in the field of so many colorful, barely electable, but simply irresistible political Pokemon. This great season of Republican indecision is almost over, enjoy it while it lasts.

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