Republicans have a wide variety of conservative white males now vying to be their nominee. No really. Bear with me:
They have former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich summing up the worst of the ‘90s GOP. Not only did he shut down the government during his tenure, he attempted to oust a president for doing what Gingrich was doing at that very moment. The Speaker investigated Bill Clinton for hanky panky with an intern (a paid one – FYI – oh the ‘90s were a golden age) while Gingrich was messing around with a Capitol staffer; soon to be his third and current wife, Callista.
I’ve stopped using the word “hypocrite” for people like Gingrich. It’s a 75-cent word no one cares about. A better term is “fraud.”
Gingrich enjoys going after people for the things he’s guilty of; like when he said we should lock up Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd. Gingrich described them as “the politicians who profited from the environment and the politicians who put this country in trouble.” This was before it was disclosed Gingrich was paid $1.6 million by Freddie Mac for what any reasonable person would call lobbying. (He maintains it was anything from being a celebrity to being a historian that “earned” such a paycheck.)
He’s now attacking Mitt Romney for “making people unemployed” at the leverage buyout firm Bain Capital, while not mentioning Gingrich was on the advisory board at a competing leverage buyout firm Forstmann Little after his stint as Speaker.
But don’t worry, Republicans also have a sample of the worst of their party from ‘00s: Rick Santorum. Now Santorum believes your uterus doesn’t have a right to privacy. If Santorum has his way, women’s private parts are up for public scrutiny and federal regulation. He’s also bravely stood up for states being able to ban birth control and not wanting to make black/blah people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money.
But Santorum ranks among the worst of the Bush Era because of a blah spot on the Grand Old Party called: The Terri Schiavo case. In 2005, Schiavo was in a decades-long vegetative state; her husband wanted to abide by her wishes and not keep her alive by artificial means. Her parents disagreed. They went to court. Then Congress got involved. Then the President of the United States at his home in Crawford boarded Air Force One on Easter to fly to Washington to sign legislation to “save Terri.”
Santorum was at the bedside of Terri Schiavo (uninvited) to make a national spectacle of himself. How’d he get there? Walmart corporate jet. Why was this Pennsylvania senator in Florida? Outback Steakhouse fundraiser. So an industry toady uses his corporate favors to publically moralize our most intimate issues? He’s pro-life, with the caveat of being pro-er-big-big-business.
A few months later in that same year, nearly 2,000 Americans died in Hurricane Katrina without a special session from Congress or a visit from Santorum. It’s hard to embrace the sanctity of life while corpses float along the streets of an American city. Santorum lost his seat by 17 points the next fall.
So worst of the ‘90s, worst of the ‘00s and just to add diversity – the cartoon of an absurd GOP future: Rick Perry.
All that really needs to be said about Perry is he was finally able to list all three agencies he’d cut while president and got a nearly standing ovation from an otherwise subdued New Hampshire crowd last Saturday at ABC’s debate. As they say in Texas, Perry is all hat and no…
“Uh … I can’t … sorry … oops.”
Which leads us back to the 1 percent (tipper) representing, Mitt Romney. Because all the other candidates remind us of bygone ethics violations, shameful hysterias, China or Ron Paul, the GOP looks like they’re stuck with Romney. But they do not love him.
His campaign has been like the rehearsal dinner for an arranged marriage: kind of sad, kind of inevitable – fun to watch from another party.