David Brooks, "Workers of the World, Unite! " (Behind a Republican). January 2
FIRST, does any one else smell fecal matter and propylene glycol?
The lead for Republican front-runner has changed seven times since May, according to a Gallup report Monday, with Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich all making it to No. 1 at some point in 2011….
Meanwhile, the Republican battle most closely mirrors the Democrats’ contest in 2003, when Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and Wesley Clark each took a turn at the top spot, Gallup found. Before Kerry secured front-runner status at the start of the 2004 primaries, the lead changed nine times during 2003.
I'm sorry; do you remember it that way? I didn't. In fact, I didn't to the extent that I checked the original article.
And the first thing I discovered was that what was being compared was the year 2003 in the Democratic race vs the last eight months of 2011 for the Republican, probably because Republicans winter somewhere else. My own aggressively indolent research turned up Mike Huckabee leading the field--according to Gallup--last February; would Sarah Palin and Donald Trump wind up in the mix if we included the whole of January-April? Michele Bachmann didn't even make the cut, though she certainly led some polls. Is it too much to ask that someone writing for Gallup bother to look?
One of those nine Democratic ties occurred between January Early and January Mid, and consisted of the Lieberman-Kerry-Never a Candidate Daschle tie somehow transmogrifying into a Lieberman-Kerry tie. Seismographs all over the country must have been set off by that one.
Say what you wanna about the running gag that was Joementum, or how a turd like Dick Gephardt ever managed to lead a national poll, but, c'mon. In 2003, timidly attempting to ride the rising awareness of the clusterfuck in Iraq most of 'em had timidly enabled the previous summer, Democrats faced a wide-open campaign after Al Gore declined to run. That's nothing like the fortnightly hysteria for one Not Romney candidate after the next, followed by public defenestration, which has marked the GOP slug fest since last spring (and I mean "slug" as a common noun).
Look, if you just want to help the Republican party, let alone the Republic all Republicans seems to imagine tottering on the Edge, it's time to stop pretending this stuff is normal, explicable, and chockablock with historical precedent. Our politics have always been screwy; this doesn't mean the kid eating paste in third grade is indistinguishable from the serial arsonist jerking off at a fire. Self-identified and phone-answering Republicans did not hem and haw among a list of United States Senators, Representatives, and a sitting governor. They've backed--in a dizzying display that makes preteen pop culture look sedate--a moronic self-promoter with a reality show, a half-witted Jebus fanatic, another half-witted Jebus fanatic, an even-dumber pizza magnate, possibly the slimiest and most disingenuous politician in living memory, and the remaining Jebus fanatic.
You're enabling! It's bad enough doing it for the sake of Faux Balance. It's another thing entirely to do it out of a natural inclination to flinch which is part congenital and part partisan political ploy:
The Republican Party is the party of the white working class. This group — whites with high school degrees and maybe some college — is still the largest block in the electorate. They overwhelmingly favor Republicans….
The Republicans harvest their votes but have done a poor job responding to their needs.
Says David Brooks, educated on Philadelphia's Main Line and the University of Chicago, and possessor, ever since, of a series of Beltway sinecures.
Santorum is the grandson of a coal miner and the son of an Italian immigrant. For years, he represented the steel towns of western Pennsylvania. He has spent the last year scorned by the news media — working relentlessly, riding around in a pickup truck to more than 370 towns. He tells that story of hard work and elite disrespect with great fervor at his meetings.
First, there's a distinction between "scorned" and "ignored because he's a colorless, humorless professional scold who can't be separated from his 13th century worldview far enough that the press could write about him without imagining it was angering all the snake-handling religious bigots it seems convinced inhabit every Applebee's and Red Lobster between the Alleghenies and the Sierra Nevada".
Second, he's the son of a clinical psychologist and his wife, both of whom worked for the VA. This is why grandpa and the Old Country make that guest appearance. If you go back far enough, everybody's ancestor dug for something for a living. If Rick Santorum ever got calluses from a hard day's work, they were on his ass, and came from pulling all-nighters in the Dickinson Law Library.
His worldview is not individualistic. His book, “It Takes a Family,” was infused with the conservative wing of Catholic social teaching. It was a broadside against Barry Goldwater-style conservatism in favor of one that emphasized family and social solidarity.
Forgive me; I keep meaning to pick it up. And forgive me if I imagine the whole thing was more broadside at Hillary Clinton than Barry Goldwater. The religious right has had thirty years now to get out from under the yoke of secular conservatism. Seems it's a helluva lot easier impugning Mammon Conservatives in print than it is turning down their campaign contributions.
While in Congress, he was a leader in nearly every serious piece of antipoverty legislation.
For "serious" read "Republican-sponsored" and for "antipoverty" read "anti-New Deal". Santorum's name was on "compassionate" "conservative" legislation for the same reason Britney Spears' name is on some abominable simulation of perfume. Republicans inside Washington realize they can't just sever the safety net (at least they used to recognize it, back in the days when Santorum had an actual elected position), so they needed Jesus as a wingman.
On the stump, he cries, “The left has a religion, too. It’s just not based on the Bible. It’s based on the religion of self.”
You mean he doesn't mention Goldwater?
But I suspect he will do better post-Iowa than most people think — before being buried under a wave of money and negative ads. And I do believe that he represents sensibility and a viewpoint that is being suppressed by the political system. Perhaps, in less rigid and ideological form, this working-class experience will someday find a champion.
Jesus Fucking Christ. The closest that Republican dais gets to a non-Mormon, non-loony-nutjob religious babbler is Newt Gingrich, and just because he's clearly a Devout Cynic; he certainly had the sound political instincts to get himself right with God, and Catholicism, to boot (and so under the protective cloak of Abortion is Murder), before he ran. Hell, Gingrich is more "authentically" working class than Santorum. Bachmann and Cain are too, and they're just as Jesus-mazed as he is. Can't you even be bothered to try anymore, Dave? Wishing (that is, pretending to wish) for a populist Republican sans religious mania is like hoping to find a purebred mongrel.