Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cain/Gingrich

by Gaije Kushner


I have a dream for the Republican party, which I have had since sometime this summer. It's simple enough, and far more realistic than most. At least, it’s much likelier to come true than my getting Maureen Dowd's job, or my own talk show.

Whatever might this be, you're hopefully wondering by now? Only the possibility, probability maybe even, at this point, that the Republican primary voters who don't want to vote for Rick Perry, because he's crazy, and carries a gun when he heads out for a run, and those who don't want to vote for Mitt Romney, because he's a Mormon Ken doll, and used to be a baby killer, will come together to nominate a true freak show as their presidential candidate, thereby ensuring Obama's second term.

Despite the punditocracy's best efforts to imbue Romney with a sense of inevitability, his support consistently hovers below 30%, running neck and neck with the amount of likely primary voters who say they will never vote for him, for whatever reason. Mittens has been running for president for at least the last five years. Unless he's been saving his best material, if he hasn't sold the voters' on himself by now, it isn't going to happen. It's probably time for him to start sending out some resumes, get himself a real job.

It's almost impossible to think of Rick Perry as a serious contender at this point. His poll numbers have been dropping like flies, ever since the first time he was allowed to speak in public. If only he could somehow contrive to spend the rest of primary season in Texas, silently killing animals or something, for the rest of primary season. But that's probably not a viable option.

For a little while, I thought Herman Cain might just be the man of my dreams. He's so very entertaining, so preposterous a presidential candidate. A conservative talk radio host no one had ever heard of, former CEO of a third-tier pizza chain, who'd never held public office? Seriously? Of course not. Add in the creepy, inappropriate jokes about electrified border fences, and Anita Hill, his apparent inability to understand, or even remember, his own anti-choice position, and of course those allegations about his crotch grabbing management style.

It's the last of those finally eroding Cain's support. I was surprised it took so long, so many accusations for it to happen. But then I remembered, Republicans have no souls, and understood it all. It's really too bad, as a Cain nomination would have guaranteed both an entertaining general campaign, and Obama's reelection. But life is full of disappointments, or so I'm told.

All those Cain supporters are going to have to choose another candidate eventually. You might think they'd give up the fight, and get onboard with Mittens, or resurrect Perry's campaign. But that doesn't seem to be what's happening. Whose numbers are rising as Cain's fall? None other than Newt Gingrich's. Remember him?

It makes some sense, at least as much as anything Republican voters do. He's been so far below the radar thus far, he somehow feels like a fresh faced newcomer to the field, despite his lengthy political career. Simultaneously, that lengthy career makes him a comforting, adult figure, in the midst of all the primary mayhem and madness, to those who fondly remember his tenure as Speaker of the House. Apparently some do.

The lack of attention has also allowed voters to forget Newt's obvious flaws in a general election. The ethical problems, the serial infidelities, his overall smarmy nastiness. There are reasons he's no longer Speaker of the House, or even a member. They should suffice to keep him out of the Oval Office, and he's pretty entertaining himself. So, Cain, Gingrich, either way, I'm good.

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