Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who's gonna be the new right-wing whack?

Pat Robertson:  the old right-wing whack
Remember back in 1988, when Pat Robertson ran for President?  You know?  Pat Robertson, the Bible Belt hero who recently claimed that the earthquake which devastated Haiti was a consequence of that country having made a "pact with the Devil?"  When he defeated then-Vice President George HW Bush in the Iowa caucuses that year, the political punditry blew a gasket imagining the implications.

Ultimately, of course, Robertson's campaign came to grief, and in fairly short order.  But things are different today. 

Believe it or not, when Robertson made his run, the Republican party was broader and more inclusive than it is today. Doesn't that sound crazy?  How could the GOP be less inclusive than it was when Ronald Reagan was fighting tooth-and-nail to protect South Africa's apartheid government while chortling at entertainers in blackface? 

The answer, of course, is George Bush the Lesser.  No president before Junior ever so fully embraced the anti-intellectual, snake-charmer wing of the GOP.  Most pundits credit Junior (and his political handler Karl Rove) for lighting the fire under the religious zealots that allowed him to squeak out a victory (or at least get close enough to cheat) in the 2004 election.

Today, Junior's stink continues to devastate not only the nation generally, but the GOP specifically.  In his "there is no tomorrow" style, Junior nurtured the Bible-thumpers.  He made them believe they were legitimate.

He dealt platitudes to the 700 Club fans ("Jesus" is his favorite "philosopher," remember) like candy, all the while screwing them with his wars and regressive tax policies.  And in doing so, he undercut the moderate wing of the Republican party.  He was so successful in his efforts to convince Bible Belt rubes they mattered that today, any Republican candidate that strays one iota from the hard-line dogma of the Pat Robertson gang has to push against some pretty stiff headwinds.  (Just ask Mitt Romney.)

How could love so right turn out to be so wrong?
And so, today, potential Republican primary voters are full of piss and vinegar.

The Pat Robertson Republicans, finally waking up to the fact that Sarah Palin isn't going to be their standard bearer are now considering Michelle Bachmann.  Don't laugh, people.  She's serious as a heart attack.

Another option for them is Texas neo-Confederate Governor Rick Perry.  Despite earlier reports that the Rickster had removed himself from consideration, rumors are flying that he may be the new right-wing savior.  He recently participated in a "prayer event" in Houston, where he "call[ed] upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles.” 

I suspect that Perry is being put forward by GOP kingmakers as an alternative to Bachmann, expressly to appeal to the Bible-thumpers.  The GOP needs a candidate that appeals to the right-wing, but that isn't quite so ostracizing as that crazy dame from Minnesota.  Although Perry is every bit as nuts as is she, he is a governor, which gives him a facade of gravitas and theoretically makes him more acceptable to voters who are disturbed by Michelle Bachmann.  (And who can blame them?  Look at the woman's eyes!  They don't focus!) 
"Praise Jesus!  I'm a-gonna shoot me a librul."
The GOP bigwigs don't expect or hope that Perry will win the nomination, but they hope he can position himself for a Number 2 spot on the ticket, probably with Romney at the top.  In that way, they can have a presidential candidate that doesn't repulse the political middle and, at the same time, throw a bone to the Pat Robertson crowd.

It's all good for a laugh.  Or it would be, anyway, if the stakes weren't so high. 

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