Money, influence, and party politics are turning to chum whatever reasoning Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can muster for staying in a race for the Republican nomination for president. The contest has been, for all intents and purposes, over since this space declared it so on January 18. Well, not completely “over” in that it will take an unforeseen streak for the inevitable nominee Mitt Romney to reach the requisite 1,191-delegate threshold by the August convention, which makes way for greasy dealings and backstabbing galore.
But at this juncture either Gingrich or Santorum would have to first convince the other candidate to leave the race and make Romney sweat his 38 percent voter ceiling to lend the slightest credence to a sustained candidacy. But neither is likely to do that and thus, with mostly proportional delegates awarded, this dog-and-pony show will likely drag on long enough to force the Romney camp to spend crucial general election cash and endure a slew of unflattering interviews and awkward stump speeches further yanking its candidate to the Right.
So far the Right has not been kind to Romney, neither in base voting, which languishes in the 28 percent range, nor perception; whether it is his spectacular three-hour flip-flop on the idiotic Blunt Amendment or the bold-face lying on his opposition to a single-mandate Health Care Law, which he trumpeted as late as 2009 in his own Wall Street Journal op-ed piece. It is a place Gingrich initially (immigration) and now Santorum (social issues) have succeeded in cornering Romney that has slowly eroded his national election polls among likely Independent, women and Latino voters.
Still, the math favors Romney measurably.
Super Tuesday’s six out of ten state grab-bag for the frontrunner may have provided fodder for punditry, but it hardly changes the cold fact: Even a mano-a-mano campaign with either Santorum or Gingrich would call for the challenger to net over 60 percent of the remaining vote to make this competitive.
Wrangling over a margin of victory in Michigan or Ohio (likely Democratic states come November) or his no-show Southern vote unless Ron Paul is the only challenger on the ballot, as was the case in Virginia (another strongly potential Barack Obama battleground) still finds Romney entering the late spring in a commanding position to gather more Republican establishment power and unite the guaranteed 42 percent of the national electorate.
And so the two-year TEA Party run is reduced to a sad echo and whatever is left of the whining “Anyone but Mitt” contingent will be expected to get in line like obedient anti-Obama automatons, hold their collective nose, and vote, vote, vote.
The only question now is how much more damage can the Gingrich/Santorum Road Show do to the Republican brand?
Gingrich is finished. His campaign trail has lead to a sad commentary on his character and more so on his very subsistence on the national stage that appears like more of joke every day he spits out his predictable Clinton-era drivel. He is the comedy relief, the new Donald Trump; a slow-motion political car wreck merely perpetuated for cheap headlines and bombastic quotes. Ironically, only his sworn enemy, the media—beyond a Las Vegas gambling mogul—gives a shit about Newt Gingrich anymore. He’s good press like Lindsey Lohan or the Octomom. Gingrich has succeeded in being the celebrity footnote he’d always dreamed, but this farce of his has a week to go.
Santorum is another thing altogether.
Santorum has the Mike Huckabee mojo behind him. He will keep getting Republican votes, as they were painstakingly created during the Reagan Revolution and used to great effect by Karl Rove in George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. The Religious Right may not have national muscle, but regionally, especially in the South, it is a bitch and it resonates. It resonates so sharply that a candidate with practically no funding and an organization so inept it failed to fill out simple campaign paperwork that cost Santorum key congressional districts in Ohio and the entirety of Virginia Primary is still relevant.
The Religious Right, despite its abhorrence of the Catholic Church, urged Santorum to up the ante on the religious liberty canard, attack birth control, slander homosexuality and engage in an embarrassing breadth of moral proselytizing. This daily emesis stirred the Liberal press, which consequently tumbled into the Conservative radio market, where its champion, Rush Limbaugh, channeled his inner Howard Stern and began to sound like the crazed mother from Carrie, chasing over 30 sponsors and provoking his obligatory public apology.
Why in the world, beyond placating sponsors, would a man handsomely paid to be provocative have to apologize for doing his job is anyone’s guess, just as it is anyone’s guess why the Georgetown law student he called a slut, or any woman or man over the age of 10 for that matter, would give a flying fart what this gasbag says?
Fuck Limbaugh and fuck this whining little shit, and fuck the president for “calling to see if she was alright.” This gratuitous condescension reeks of dime-store misogyny and sets women’s rights back decades. Limbaugh is a glorified carnival barker with crippling marrying and eating disorders. This Sandra Fluke woman is as much a victim as the poor souls who have to listen to her sniveling martyrdom. If she is a victim at all, it is merely of bad taste and a shitty swipe at humor from a guttural swine that wouldn’t know funny if it bit him on his considerable ass.
I ask you; who isn’t the victim of bad taste?
Holy crap, this column has gone off the rails.
Suffice to say the only subjects worth writing about when the alternative is Mitt Romney are disc jockeys, law geeks and a Democratic Party that exploits this kind of atavistic “kitty stuck in a tree” garbage every woman in America should find offensive.
I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.
And I’d rather not write anymore about Mitt fucking Romney.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.