GOP Lockdown 2012

Aquarian Weekly 5/2/12 REALITY CHECK

GOP LOCKDOWN Republican Establishment Begins to Clean House

Reince Priebus is on the wagon. The RNC chairman’s days of drunken violence and crude behavior are behind him. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and the faux conservative uprising of 2010 has been duly defeated. The TEA Party is a memory and so is all of the ugliness of Paul Ryan and debt ceiling debates. Revolution and upheaval has been replaced with spin-with-the-wind business lingo; the framing of national debate best figured by pinpoint polling results. This is about quiet opposition and bland rhetoric; gone will be the religious pronouncements, social reconstruction or fatalistic demagoguery. Show time, folks, is over. The return of Rockefeller Republicanism is back.

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall. It has been a steady slog, interrupted slightly by messy voting and nose-holding support from those who naively misread the 2010 mid-term elections as some kind of binding grass roots anti-government sentiment, the way the Left was sure the 2008 elections put the kibosh on the prior eight years of geo-political, big government overreach.

The Republican Party is not in the business of changing or challenging or creating serious opposition to the status quo. It wants a healthy slice of the status quo and its titular representative, the head of its aims, is Willard Mitt Romney, a 65 year-old moderate ex-governor and mediocre corporate raider with comportment from central casting and an amazing ability to live not only above the fray of most pressing national issues, but outside any true ideology. He is a political automaton created to be the face and breadth of a political party – easily molded and coachable. His debate performances, although mildly uneven and malleable, against fairly ferocious debaters in the primary season was testament to his ability to shift and parry. His post-primary speeches, strikingly general election orientated, rang the bells Republican leaders needed rung; “You don’t like this, neither do I, and I’ll stop it.” No details, no plans, no direction, but up.

Anyone who thinks this horribly weak model is not a good national election candidate is working on a short memory. Bill Clinton comes to mind, a centrist candidate with a fairly moderate gubernatorial record, bobbing and weaving his way through primary gaffs and faulty rhetoric. Of course, Romney is no Clinton in the sense that his charms fall more on the muted side, if there are charms at all, but this is the perfect anecdote if you are going against the Rock Star President, Joe Cool; who is well liked to the tune of over 70 percent, despite nearly the same number believing he and his policies stink to high heaven; an interesting balancing act that only Ronald Regan was able to pull off in 1984.

The Republican establishment might not have enthusiasm, glitter and pizzazz on its side, but it knows that this year that’s bullshit. Glitter and pizzazz straddled the party with Sarah Palin, one of the most damaging characters that hit the national stage in over half a century; a truly vacuous polarizing gasbag, who while exciting the base scared the living shit out of the crucial Independent vote and handed vital states like North Carolina, a Republican stronghold, over to Barack Obama.

This time the polls, although hardly a trustworthy measuring stick in the past two presidential election cycles, have been steady for months. Even with the complete obliteration of the Hispanic vote and a major shift among women voters, the Independent stronghold for Obama in 2008 has continued to wane without halt. Depending on the poll more Right Wing pollsters decide the Independent vote comes in at 45-37 in favor of Romney, but more balanced have it at 47-45, which is spot-on for a fairly non-threatening economic-centric (bland and steady) candidate to keep, if there are no Sarah Palin screw-ups.

Mitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall.

But social, gender and independent voting blocks aside, this is not technically a national election (ask Al Gore), but a gathering of electoral votes throughout 50 diverse states of varying districts, social constructs and economic realities. Think, for instance of Michigan, a state for which Romney and the Republicans have rightfully determined is a goner, whether its candidate publicly decried its subtenant business existence during the auto bailouts or not. But Pennsylvania, a Democratic bedrock for decades, is in play. The party had figured as far back as January during Priebus’ booze-addled hiatus, that Santorum was going to follow-up his 2006 senate re-election bid trouncing by failing to win his home state, a state he would likely cough up in November. If Romney is the candidate the party thinks it has bargained for, Pennsylvania and even Ohio could be taken.

This is the only way Romney can win. While national sentiment and modest Independent support is a given, the electoral map is not friendly territory, and only a non-factor candidate can change that.

Right now Republicans poll miserably in the swing states, as well as many of the states not guaranteed to the president, meaning if the economy does not improve and/or unemployment doesn’t dip into the mid-sevens, a scarecrow with enough money could put dents into this reality. This was never going to happen with Santorum or Gingrich or the bevy of misfits before them. According to Republican thinking, this time around cold strategy, not passion wins the day. Passion was 2008, and what Republicans want is to forget that year and the economic collapse its party helped to create and the resultant big-government stimulus that ultimately averted it.

What in late 2007 this space described as a detriment could well be a winning element in 2012:

“Watch Romney speak some time. Really watch him. The eyes dart spastically, the brow furrows, his speech patterns falter and then queer altogether. He often looks like the boy who has just realized he’s lost in a department store; that eerily suspended moment of panic-clarity before the freak-out. Romney has that look right now as he blurts out the phrase “moral convictions” every thirty seconds to keep from convulsing. I half expect a reptile to explode from his rib cage at any moment.” – MITT ROMNEY – DON’T ASK – DON’T TELL – Issue: 12/12/07

This was our coverage of a speech Romney delivered trying to separate his Mormon faith from that of his legitimacy for the presidency, the kind of speech that makes religious stalwarts like Santorum ill, but makes strategic sense. It was something Romney and his advisers felt he had to do in 2007, but now rings as hollow as Romney himself. This is economic times, not a time for “moral convictions” to which Barack Obama wins in almost any poll conducted.

It is the year of the tortoise and the hare, in which the Republicans will paint the president as a celebrity good-guy whose charisma has failed to unite, galvanize and “change” this nation or more importantly this government over his first term. That, and only that, and whatever unforeseen happenstance may happen this summer, will give the Republicans a chance to do what five years ago seemed like a goofy pipedream, control the two main branches of the government again, as it did in 2000, when the nation had a surplus and thought itself impervious to international attack.

In other words, the salad days for Republicanism, before the Bush/Rove/Cheney people hijacked it with so-called anti-Republican nation building and non-funded government bloating.

A state-by-state, statistical strategy devoid of purpose or direction, beyond winning the White House, will transform Mitt Romney’s weakness into strength.

 

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The Buffett Rule?

Aquarian Weekly 4/25/12 REALITY CHECK

THE BUFFETT RULE?

It’s national campaign time and the Democrats have joined the crazy. Six months of idiocy from the Republicans was apparently enough. Check that; to understand what is going on in congress with what is officially coined the Paying a Fair Share Act is merely the volley returned for the TEA Party induced mayhem that stalled Capitol Hill during last year’s Debt Ceiling Debate. Congress has now become the land of vacant bills thrown into the chamber to make grandiose ideological statements with a political slant; or, as they like to say on K STREET, “business as usual”.

The Paying a Fair Share Act has as much teeth as the legislative branch of the federal government not paying its bills, to which it should mean none. But what it does accomplish, although eventually backfired on Republicans – unless there are still some who hang their hat on calling this the “Lowered Credit Rating President” – is put the 99 percenters (the latest street-cred protest, ala the TEA Party) in the conversation and fan the flames of class warfare and populism that is polling through the roof these days.

It’s a wise move from a defensive party hoping to maintain the executive branch in a crawling economic recovery and escalating gas prices, but it’s the epitome of farce; “a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character”. Substitute “plot” with “public discourse” and “character” with “law” and you got yourself a free campaign ad.

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe. It’s the grand ruse you must swallow to be part of an ostensibly free society wherein freedom is merely doled out incrementally through a series of pacifications. We agree only with this systemic patronization because, really, what’s our choice?

The origin of the Paying a Fair Share Act is of course the famed Buffett Rule, dubbed by Barack Obama in 2011 after billionaire Warren Buffett’s claim that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. This led to Senate minority leader, Harry Reid’s proposal of a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. This predictably went nowhere with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and wasn’t even broached in the president’s 2013 budget proposal, but suddenly with the Rick Santorum follies shut down for the season, here comes the big guns.

Of course, big guns are never needed when shooting fish in a barrel, as it is when the rich are put on trial. It’s the oldest scam on the books. French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Cuban Revolution, hell you can make a solid case for the American Revolution propping the wealth class up as a symbol of a country’s ills. You could even rightfully argue that in all those cases the wealth class was indeed public enemy numero uno, but what does that do for the proletariat but to be force-fed into another cauldron of steaming bullshit to be exploited by the fallout?

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe.

This is no place to start bringing up capital gains taxes and debt reduction and redistribution of wealth. Let the economists and pseudo pundits frame their own guesswork there. The problems with both the Buffett Rule and the Paying a Fair Share Act can be found in its choice of terms; “paying” and “fair” and “share” and “rule”. None of these apply to the United States of America, no matter how many countries we bomb or benefits we bestow. This was not a country founded on “fair” in any way shape or form. It is also a country loath to “share”. In fact, there are still paid employees of the state who yammer on ceaselessly about the veiled threat of socialism the minute they hear the words fairness and sharing. This is why in its humblest way this is the greatest nation in modern civilization. It reflects the barest truth about life in general: It is unfair and sharing is about as natural a human trait as flying. And “paying”? Who the hell likes paying for anything; monetarily, emotionally, personally, or otherwise? And nobody, but nobody, beyond the truly religious (.00001 percent) digs a fucking “rule”.

This space spent months last year warning Republicans that harping on the national debt was bad mojo which would come back to claim its pound of flesh, and boy has it ever. Republican Patron Saint, Ronald Reagan once proclaimed that “deficits don’t matter” and he did so because his main goal was to cut taxes and bloat military spending, the former of which he failed miserably to achieve having raised taxes some seven different times during his two-term presidency, as the latter he joyfully scored again and again. This apparently is still the Republican goal, which is something akin to toasting sobriety. Without raising taxes and cutting spending the national debt will soar, something the Bush 43 presidency blatantly illustrated, and precisely why 60 percent of Americans are keen on having the rich foot the bill.

Here’s the thing; why don’t all the wealthiest assholes that want to pay down the debt pool their money and do it. No rules. No fairness. No sharing. No new laws. Just get together a handful of billionaires, pro jocks, rock stars, computer geeks, reality TV jack-offs, and slip some checks to the Chinese. Find that dipshit G.W. Bush and his daddy and pull some of his own patriotic bullshit and guilt him into some funds. The Clintons are worth millions. Let’s pony up, Billary.

The biggest problem with the Buffett Rule and The Paying a Fair Share Act is that it forces the hand of those with coffers to legally hand it over. Why not appeal to their better angels, or failing that (since “better angels” usually does not apply to hiding laundered money in the Cayman Islands) boycott their interests. Now we’re talking some real grassroots, ugly, sweaty unfair misrule of democracy.

Until then, count this as the first salvo to pit popular opinion against Mitt Romney, who already has a steep hill to climb pivoting on some goofy anti-Latino and anti-women shit he had to spout to jettison the pesky Santorum that has cost him dearly. This is why you already hear him desperately pissing on the media. Maybe Romney forgot, the key to democracy is that “unfair” applies to everyone.

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Revenge of the Nerds

Aquarian Weekly 4/11/12 REALITY CHECK

REVENGE OF THE NERDS GOP Establishment Corner Conservative Insurrection

The Alamo for theshort-lived TEA Party Era and its social conservative underbelly is nigh. It takes place as this goes to press with its best presidential candidate left ignoring polls, election results, pundit prognostication, entrenched Republican power-plays, high-profile endorsements, a paltry campaign bankbook, history, and his party’s better wishes to quit. Rick Santorum’s consolidated support has a staunch foundation that appears ready to make one last pitch to Republican voters to curtail the candidacy of moderate, Mitt Romney. And the anger in the Republican Party today is palpable.

Reince PriebusDespite protestation to the contrary, party officials are convinced that this primary season has severely weakened an already pathetic candidate, who after nearly six years running for president has taken far longer than any expected to clear a shaky field. The process has taken its toll; shedding likely Independent support as well as eradicating the women’s vote, which has gone from a 14 percent gap to a present 37 percent chasm. A national candidate with a singular economic message in a dire economic landscape was dragged kicking and screaming into ethnic, social, religious and gender issues that has cost the party precious time and money in which to aim at an extremely vulnerable incumbent.

The party knows this middling argument that a protracted primary fight that assisted the branding of Barack Obama in 2008 does not apply to Romney. In the winter of ’07 Obama was an unknown commodity and trailing a political monolith whose credentials and long-standing party affiliation was daunting. Hillary Clinton not only owned the Democratic Party when Obama began his long slog to the nomination, she had all the money and prospects to earn her Madam Shoo-in tag. Not to mention Obama’s grassroots, social media strategy that took time to develop and expand in each state he contested; something that closed the familiarity and money gap with each primary.

In this hackneyed analogy, Romney is Hillary Clinton. He has the party gravitas, the treasure and the name recognition that by all measures of competition should have laid waste to what at first was a comical set of challengers that eventually turned into a rank amateur opposition. Newt Gingrich never had any money and hardly maintained a coherent strategy from the opening bell. After the anti-Romney wing ran out of Trojan Horses, Santorum was left standing — a man with less resources and a far more haphazard organization than Gingrich.

But it mattered little in the end. The Republican Party rounded up every statesmen, governor and celebrity within the contiguous United States to beat the drum, albeit half-heartedly, for Romney, reasoning that the object is to present a viable candidate to defeat this president, a constitutional lawyer, whose signature piece of legislation is about to be deemed a pox on that very document by the Supreme Court with an over 8 percent unemployment number and rising gas prices. Money and pressure from the media — along with several antediluvian stances on 21st century concepts — sunk Rick Santorum and the underground conservative movement. Allowing a rotting corpse to foul the Republican brand any longer is political suicide.

But Santorum was never the issue for the anti-Romney contingent. They would have been just as happy with Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or the television hack or the pizza guy. Hell, up until two weeks ago there was serious talk by respected political minds of a brokered convention and another goddamn Bush being yanked from the closet to front the ticket. And so with the tolling bell, the anti-Romney voices shall rise up with a plan to press Gingrich to finally drop the charade and hand over his support and more importantly his delegates to Santorum for one last Pickett’s Charge.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

However, reports are now surfacing that Gingrich is adamant in making a mockery of the Republican Convention in August, threatening over the past weeks that he would seriously consider an exploratory independent research party to siphon votes from a general election pool that would in all likelihood end up in a four to six point dogfight by November. Getting out of the race for Gingrich, who realizes at this stage of his career — his advanced age and legitimacy within the party he once toiled for — has scorched every bridge he has crossed and is acting like the worst kind of political wild animal; a man with nothing left to lose.

Gingrich’s exit is the key to sustaining any real hope for survival until August for the anti-Romney contingent. Making the case that a two-man race has prevented Santorum from truly challenging Romney will have to suffice. Having a candidate drop his home state, as it appears Santorum will do in Pennsylvania barring overcoming a 12 percent deficit, is a sinking narrative, but not the death knell wrongly reported.

Ignoring the expected hoopla surrounding Romney’s inevitability, the math simply does not add up. He cannot make the requisite delegate count by August and even with a body-blow victory in Pennsylvania, beginning on May 8, the month holds a minefield for the Romney campaign. If previous primary results are any indication, contests first in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, then onto Oregon (May 15), followed by Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), and finally the mother of all Southern primaries, Texas on May 28 will at the very least keep Romney in a stalemate and may make a case for a Santorum alternative.

This is why Republican Party officials are calling for order and not a complete count of the votes. Santorum was technically right the other evening when he proclaimed the primary season at its halftime. There is voting to be done, none of which will make him the nominee, but could dismantle the inner workings of the party the way the Ronald Reagan late surge in 1976 pushed Gerald Ford to the brink, making him spend money and time proving for all intents and purposes he was as ineffectual a candidate as originally presumed. Ford’s improbable two-month comeback against Jimmy Carter fell just short, a deficit Republican historians say now could have been solidified had Reagan not selfishly cut the incumbent president to ribbons.

That is the Reagan Revolution in a nutshell; the revolt was internal, like all serviceable revolts, and like all serviceable revolts, provided casualties. But Rick Santorum is no Reagan. He is unlikable, spiteful and quick to irrational anger. Unlike Reagan, an actor, union leader, corporate pitch man and governor, he is untrained and sloppy and he, according the political high rollers, is a beast in the hen house that they have responsibly invested, maneuvered and intimidated all variables to secure.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

 

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Health Care on Trial

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/12 REALITY CHECK

HEALTH CARE ON TRIAL

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year; originally in HEALTHCARE U.S.A. 3/24/10 and later that year, CITIZEN HEALTHCARE 12/29/10. It was true then and it is true now.

No politically charged Supreme Court decision in this politically charged election year is going to change that. It is not within the boundaries of the Congress of these United States to make such laws as to force its citizens to purchase insurance. This should have been the case for the 1935 Social Security Act that forced Americans to purchase retirement insurance or the Enrollment Act of 1863 that forced American men to fight for the Union and every subsequent Selective Service or Draft laws that wiped out thousands upon thousands of American citizens, many of them in unconstitutional “wars” like Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II or even before all that the Militia Acts of 1892 that forced every American to buy muskets and gunpowder.

U.S. Supreme CourtThis shit has been going on for a long time, folks.

Hell, the damn U.S. Constitution was only four years old when the second official congress and George Washington, the first president, pissed on it. The next guy in charge, John Adams, by far the most influential revolutionaries of the 1770s, but a lunatic chief executive, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which granted the president the power to deport citizens of questionable allegiance to the United States and jail or deport journalists for writing “slanderous” or “malicious” (determined by the White House) anti-government sentiments. Andrew Jackson became the godfather of Jim Crow by wielding an iron fist across the fruited plain with the 21st congress’s unconstitutional 1830 Indian Removal Act. Oh, boy did the South hammer that baby home over one hundred years of racketeering, voter intimidation and government-sanctioned murder.

Need we go on?

Yes?

Okay, how about this nation’s most revered and influential chief executive, Abraham Lincoln, who forced an entire region to restructure its moral and economic foundations through military invasion, which brought with it an unconstitutional drafting of the poor, the eradication of due process and habeas corpus, the jailing of dissidents against the federal government and of course the radically unconstitutional Marshall Law. Woodrow Wilson subsequently abused these “safety during war time” tactics during WWI and FDR during WWII when both presidents interred thousands of innocent German and Japanese civilians respectively. The world champion of unconstitutional nonsense, Richard Nixon used the same scheme to bug, slander and intimidate anti-war protestors, wielding the CIA, IRS, FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a clumsy attempt to destroy political opponents until he was asked to leave the premises.

Some of these cases were never challenged, some challenged and overturned or embarrassingly watered down or left to expire ungracefully. Some were regionally challenged for decades like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a needed intervention of the federal government to impede Bill of Rights abuses. In the recent case of the Patriot Act, a whopper of unconstitutional chicanery, every case that was brought against it was successful, rendering most of it flaccid and ineffectual.

Not so with what the political culture pejoratively refers to as Obamacare, which has been challenged in lower courts across the land in several states and exonerated each time. Every liberal and conservative judge has seen fit to uphold the law as constitutional, despite its controversial Individual Mandate, an invention of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s and vocally supported by the Speaker of the House and leading Republican voice at the time, Newt Gingrich. It was a collective Right Wing knee-jerk response to the massive socialized medicine overhaul presented by then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course.

This same blue print was formed and enacted by another current Republican challenger to the president, Mitt Romney, when his derisively coined Romneycare became the law of Massachusetts in 2006. And the man he now challenges? Barack Obama spent thousands of campaign dollars horse-whipping the aforementioned Ms. Clinton for “mandating Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty” in the spring of ’08, something he signed into law 24 months later.

The Individual Mandate, reeking with congressional history through Conscription and Social Security is the constitutional sticking point of Obamacare and not the Single-Payer socialist model utilized in every industrialized nation in the free world and what the liberal/progressive lobby has bellowed about for 60 years. This is a halfway house for insurance companies, one of the leading lobbies in the final days of this law’s formation, to gain millions of new clients.

Perhaps only the Individual Mandate will be struck down by a predictable 5-4 margin or maybe, in an uncommon move by the highest court in the land, a reasonable hedge decision of cutting off the Individual Mandate clause and leaving intact the most controversial law since the Patriot Act and certainly as economically driven a law since the Civil Rights Act. But as a fulcrum to the process, the Individual Mandate may take with it the entirety of the law and consequently the thousands of participants either benefiting or being hounded by its slow infusion into the national marketplace.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course. The vagaries of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, although in spirit was originally included by the framers as a legal means to prevent a federalist construct in interstate trade and currency, certainly left a gaping legal hole in its letter. It is not unlike the currently eviscerated Stand Your Ground law that proponents claim was not implemented to include blue-line wannabes chasing down and murdering black teens. Sorry, no rule is singular, and neither is the Commerce Clause.

Thus the Commerce Clause has been used for a myriad of insanities over the two-century plus existence of this republic and it has its place here. If the Supreme Court rules against it, then it will be doing so in abject rejection to former rulings on Wickard v Filburn, which allowed congress to limit the amount of wheat grown by an Ohio farmer in 1942 or the 2005 criminalization of homegrown marijuana case of Gonzalez v Raich.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is eventually ruled unconstitutional in June of this year, it will certainly reveal an incredible opportunity for those motivated enough to abolish Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare or Federal Income Tax or any of the dozens of federal laws that are and have always been unconstitutional.

Don’t tread on me?

Indeed.

 

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Super Tuesday Dud 2012

 

Aquarian Weekly 3/14/12
REALITY CHECK

SUPER DUD
Derailed February for GOP Ends with a Super Tuesday Whimper

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.

Romney is SafeBut 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 St. 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.

Thus…over.

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 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.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

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 ten 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 all right”. 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.

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The Frontrunner Shuffle 2012

Aquarian Weekly 2/29/12 REALITY CHECK

THE FRONTRUNNER SHUFFLE or Where the Hell is Reince Priebus?

Since I am the only reporter willing to go on record as to the extent of the Republican National Committee Chairman’s increasingly alarming drinking problem, it is also incumbent on this space to place it in context with the queer developments surrounding its fallout. By all accounts and clearly evident in the dramatic closing of Republican establishment ranks prior to an unsuspecting and purportedly damaging Rick Santorum surge in popularity, the spastically bizarre public behavior of Reince Priebus, while understandable, has sent shockwaves through the halls of the GOP powerbase mere days before the Michigan and Arizona primaries.

Rick SantorumAfter an alleged 72 hours of no sleep and a regrettable slip in press judgment, Priebus spent the first week of February tossing out urbane similarities between a sitting U.S. president and a foreigner accused of negligent homicide. This prompted angry stewards of billionaire Republican donors, David H. and Charles G. Koch to summarily pull the chairman from the public spotlight. Several backroom meetings for which the buzz from moles included “mild face slapping to repeated beatings over the head with a rolled up Wall Street Journal” led to a Priebus media blackout.

A spokesman for the RNC claimed that the days leading up to what aids are now describing as “the post-Triple-Sweep” binge wherein Priebus, caught shouting at a frightened cabbie in front of Denver’s swank Hotel Teatro, disappeared without a trace.

Reports of the RNC’s befuddled reaction to the abject whipping of party frontrunner, Mitt Romney by a suddenly resurgent Santorum sent Priebus’ already fragile state and penchant for Scotch-shooters to deplorable levels. Assistants were left to scramble to bus in confused vagrants and angry students promised Xbox 360 systems to fill out the student center at the University of Colorado for what was to be a victory speech turned funereal groan. By the time Romney was done speaking the crowd had turned ugly, but word spread that Priebus was already halfway to Grand Junction, where he was to pick up the latest windfall of Salt Lake City Super Pac money that never arrived.

Priebus then disappeared until his unhinged television appearances and the subsequent Koch Brothers beatings.

Problem was that no one noticed.

There has been a great deal of doom-speak coming from the war room lackeys now that a crazed fox is in the 2012 hen house. Many who believed Romney’s steady politico static-free waxen anti-Obama figure would cast a mighty shadow over what the Grand Old Party was sure this past summer was the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter. Rick Santorum was considered at best as a strange counter-point to whatever wild nonsense Newt Gingrich was spouting to split enough votes to keep a moderate billboard candidate from unraveling.

Two weeks of a religious loon going off half-cocked about sex, drugs and Satan was not on the agenda.

Long before the Santorum nightmare, worries began to fester throughout the party when Romney stumbled off script and told a CNN morning show that he didn’t care about the poor and chuckled lightly when asked why he thought his extra 300 grand in speaking-engagement income for 2011 was small change, but once his tax records were brought to light and the Republican machine began accusing the White House of playing “class-warfare”, all appeared well. Best of all, Gingrich spit the bit in two uneven debate performances and in an obvious panic started talking seriously about building lunar colonies and calling it a 51st state. Consequently, Romney stomped in Florida, a key swing state Barrack Obama carried in 2008.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Combined with a subsequent Nevada caucus win, the word cocky was used in several interviews with insiders this space conducted after Florida. The Romney camp, backed by RNC strategy, ignored the sanctioned Missouri Primary, which was stripped of its delegates due to scheduling problems with the party. But while Romney spent his time trying to sew up Colorado, a caucus he would lose to Santorum along with one in Minnesota, the former Pennsylvania senator spent weeks pulling together his Iowa plan of door knocking/flesh pressing retail politics in Missouri to complete the 2/7 sweep.

Banned from media appearances, rumors abounded that the party dispatched Priebus to Maine to stop the bleeding, and with heavy party participation, which reports out of Bangor are now citing as “insider party fraud”, Romney squeaked by Ron Paul. Stunned, the Paul campaign, having done its own Santorum-like sweep of the state for months, challenged the results, and once the local and then national press began sniffing out the tallies, it was obvious that many counties — key Paul strongholds — were either not counted or erroneously called for Romney.

Details of the shenanigans pulled by Republican officials in Maine are sketchy and the delegates are being withheld pending investigations or a complete re-vote, but what has happened in the past three weeks to the Romney campaign does not exactly defy explanation.

For one, Romney’s only claim on his candidacy is a de facto John Kerry argument that he is the most electable and not the guy currently in charge. And secondly, he is the self-proclaimed economic wizard and therefore holds the best fulcrum against a damaged economy. But as weeks wore on past Christmas the stock market made its three-year Obama administration climb up to 13,000 for the first time since the spring of ’08 and was soon followed by a slow dip in unemployment and a gradual pace of domestic growth, consumer confidence, and a Super Bowl ad by a Hollywood touch-guy icon lauding the resurrection of the once tanked U.S. car industry.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Meanwhile, with a renewed advantage in an upward economic swing and its opponents for the moment stalled, the White House found itself embroiled in a ridiculous Religious Liberty vs. Public Health issue that was nothing of the sort. This ready-made controversy emboldened the social issue/culture warrior base of a party that had been yanked back into a fiscal responsibility platform by the TEA Party surge of 2010. The grateful recipient of this severe shift in public debate from money to contraception is Rick Santorum, who took the football and literally threw Hail Marys all over the joint; pulling out the Jerry Falwell playbook on family, God and apple pie until it hurt.

Santorum hit every cultural low note from Detroit to Tempe and actually took minor leads in Michigan and Arizona, as well as overtaking Romney in the national polls. His Johnny Lunch-Pail gate mixed with a sweater-vest kind of sweet uncle charm made Santorum the perfect anti-robotic Romney. According to Republican strategists, Santorum’s only weakness as a national candidate is that he is out of his fucking mind, much of which was on full display in a plethora of stump speeches given since his Triple-Sweep performance. A careful reading of his 2008 religious/culture warrior screed, It Takes a Family; Conservatism and the Common Good that made the rounds of media derision didn’t help.

This daily dose of voodoo goofiness forced blow-back from the highest rafters of party donors, many of whom leaned so hard on Santorum it reduced his recent polished debate performances into a glassy-eyed Al Goresque charade in a CNN debate days before the primaries. This roused a Romney poll comeback. At one point in the televised massacre, Romney had Santorum apologizing for voting for derided crap the last two-term Republican president pitched as viable policy.

One week until Super Tuesday and Reince Priebus is still at large.

How long until he finds Jesus?

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The Israel Threat

Aquarian Weekly 2/22/12 REALITY CHECK

THE ISRAEL THREAT A Sideways Path to War with Iran

The near east U.S. military outpost known as Israel is about to go rogue. For all intents and purposes, much to the eternal glee of Hezbollah and whatever is left of al Qaeda, our overextended and bankrupt nation is about to be dragged into a direct confrontation with Iran. This maneuver, while antithetical to any sane solution in dealing with an already heavily sanctioned and highly motivated regional instigator, bloodshed is coming; and not the big-talk, ostensibly humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign we usually employ. This is the IDF we’re talking about, the most deadly efficient military in the world. It will not be pleasant and it will plunge the entire shit house into flaming wreckage and our fingerprints will be all over it.

Benjamin NetanyahuMake no mistake, the United States of America wants no part of Iran and hasn’t for decades of seriously dangerous Iranian madness, not the least of which happened in the late-70’s when its theocratic revolution topped off festivities by taking American citizens hostage. During the post-9/11 American “humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign” in Iraq, Iran (mortal enemies of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) repeatedly aided, funded and directly carried out insurrectionist attacks on U.S. soldiers and contractors.

None of this brought about even a discussion on the invasion of Iran, nor did its tired rhetoric about turning Israel into rubble and massacring the evil Jew sautéed in a thick Arabic sauce of Holocaust denial. And this was during the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld era of war-tribunal-free-for-all. Now after over ten years of Middle East wars, economic disaster and a renewed sense that no amount of bombing, killing and nation-building is going to take the crazy out of the crazies, a conversation about taking aggressive action against Iran is about as an unwelcomed as can be imagined beyond a CPAC Convention.

This would normally be bad news for Israel. For without a nod from the United States, Israel cannot seriously contemplate all-out aggression against Iran, never mind the type of military invasion it has hinted at for months should Iran cross some imaginary “redline” of nuclear advancement.

However, the bad news is also on the other foot, since according to Israel the “redline” is apparently within striking distance.

This week’s show biz routine rolled out by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which featured an unveiling of an operational nuclear reactor with fancy fuel rods and impressive form-fitting white labs coats, was in one bold swoop a show of scientific progress achieved by 16th century tribesmen, a nose-thumb to international sanctions and a veiled threat to Israel. There was high talk of medical isotopes and major progress on nuclear centrifuges, all of which the U.S. State Department announced was “nothing new” and what the international community was expecting for some time, even in the face of Iran’s continued insistence the operation is purely an energy upgrade.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

No one, of course, believes a word of it. But while the U.S. sees a slow-moving national ego-stroke within a region quickly turning into an anarchistic tinderbox in Syria, Egypt and Libya, Israel, and especially its knee-jerk Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, sees opportunity.

The Central Intelligence Agency lists Netanyahu as a loose cannon, whose iron fist approach has garnered him non-consecutive victories over a 16-year period and a host of belligerent military campaigns of variant successes and failures, His performance last year berating the president of the United States in the Oval Office in front of the international press and the assassinations of Iranian scientists over a two-year period has put the U.S. on notice. Despite billions of American aid and military might, Israel will not sit this one out.

For its part, Iran has been begging for an irate reaction from the blustery Netanyahu. Its underground terrorist hits of Israeli diplomats in separate bombings of India, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and most recently Bangkok, the blame of which has been denied by Iranian officials, has carried with it an air of vengeance and overt saber rattling that flies in the face of its own diplomatic attempts to reopen nuclear talks with the West. This has all smartly transpired amid rumors that there could be an olive-branch agreement to allow UN inspectors to tour the Tehran nuclear facilities.

This and U.S. intelligence reports that Iran is at best two years removed from achieving the ability to make warheads, has dispatched a State Department envoy to Tel Aviv to allay Israeli fears and keep the United States from dealing with what appears to be no imminent threat its interests.

Although the same people who believe Iran is developing its nuclear capabilities for energy concerns also believe there will be a threat at some point in the next five to ten years, there is a two-front dilemma occurring in a more pertinent area to U.S. interests; the vital Strait of Hormuz. This slender waterway provides the transport of nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply, which not only affects the West, but Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as well as the new burgeoning republic or Iraq to the north.

The United States decade of carnage in the region and the crumbling resolve of a once moderate to malleable Arab coalition, one in which George H. W. Bush exploited to exacerbate the already pathetic ties to our oil addiction, has forced this stand-off into a diplomatic pussyfoot. Our Saudi alliance against a nuclear Iran, tenuously kept under wraps, is threatened by any hint of U.S. military involvement in Israel’s growing fury. It is simple pragmatism. It confronts each and every era in this volatile loony bin called the Middle East to which we must bow or begin trading in those monster trucks for hybrid minis.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

But what is the reality in that?

As a wise man once uttered; “Slim to none and slim just left the building.”

And thus, in an ironic twist Israel has become as dangerous a threat to U.S. security as any terrorist organization.

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Joe Cool Carries The Two

Aquarian Weekly 2/1/12 REALITY CHECK

JOE COOL CARRIES THE TWO White House to Play Percentages in 2012 Race

For ninety interminably long minutes on 1/24/12, the president of the United States played his hand. All that anyone needs to know about the obligatory laundry list cum base rouser that usually fills a final first-term State of the Union address is that it’s going to be the Summer of Populism for the most pragmatic chief executive of my lifetime. This is how Barack Hussein Obama burst upon his first campaign for the job he eventually won in the autumn of 2008, and the way he has governed since. The White House will play the percentages, weigh the margins, and use the Karl Rove schematic for winning a national electoral election: Ignore useless national polls and vacillating approval ratings and figure the best way to get to the magic 270.

Barack ObamaWhile his proposed Republican challengers walk all over each other trying desperately to shift Right, mainly because two of the frontrunners have to distance a centrist to liberal past and get the party’s nomination, Joe Cool studies the trends of a thorny electorate that has shown the kind of mercurial nature mostly exhibited by the bipolar. In the last decade alone the national vote has gone from geo-political to anti-war to wildly progressive to conservatively entrenched to whatever the hell is happening now.

This is why Obama’s State of the Union appeared to be written by less ideologue than actuary.

The Numbers People are what matter in elections. They have the vital information on who is available to woo, who is already on board, and who is most likely to be courted. National politics is not sport. An election, as it is at every level, is a sum-game; the first one to the measuring stick takes the oath. Emotions, ideas, credentials; these are the tools of the loser. Winning a presidential election is about key numbers — not the most, but the most within the most. Think of a Salvador Dali painting sifted violently through a Warholian blender. This is the Electoral College in action, a warped contest of democratic synergy dominated only by those who embrace nuance.

And here’s what Joe Cool’s Numbers People read…

Currently, the percentage of Americans jazzed about cutting deficits and protecting the Middle Class tax burden by raising the tax rate on the wealthy is 73.

Seven out of ten Americans in this polarizing political climate is a margin akin to a Hugo Chavez election result. This will get the attention of even the most naïve Numbers People. As unpopular as any proposed tinkering with National Health Care was two years ago, which gave rise to the TEA Party movement, sticking it to the rich is even more beloved. This also includes the trendy Occupy Wall St. movement, whatever that is now.

Not only has the idea of putting the squeeze to the wealthy grown in popularity since the hilariously unnecessary piss fight over raising the debt ceiling a few months back, but it has happened on the insistence of Republicans. Normally, or more to the point forever, Republicans have mocked deficit hawks as chicken-little anti-capitalists. This has changed, and thus become bad news for those who know that the only way to cut deficits and pay off the national debt is through either draconian cuts to popular programs or raising government revenues.

Election year calls for austerity is shitty game planning. Ask Jimmy Carter. So it’s raising revenue, and the way this works is whoever has the most is usually tracked down. Kind of like your rich uncle when your band was after seed money for that P.A. you needed to gig.

No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

The White House will be jacking up this winning formula to dizzying degrees if half of what we heard in the State of the Union can be believed, because 73 percent of anything sings the high note to 46 percent approval ratings and 63 percent wrong-track polling.

Although much of the anti-Obama stuff, a fair portion of it fabricated by dumb-speak about a forged birth certificate, Muslim roots and socialist leanings, is white noise to Independent voters; the other key set of digits for the Numbers People.

In the last three presidential elections not skewed by Ross Perot, the Democratic and Republican bases equaled out at 42 percent each. This means that roughly 16 percent of the national vote is Independent, which rolled to George W. Bush in two elections and overwhelming in Obama’s column in 2008. Recent polls have the Independent vote, including newcomers, which were predominantly Democrat in ’08 but a fair portion have flocked to Ron Paul so far, ballooning to nearly 30 percent. However, much of this polling, according to the best Numbers People, cannot be trusted since there appears to currently be a rabid anti-government sentiment on both sides of the political aisle clearly borne out in the 11 percent approval for 112th congress.

Still, neither party can rely on the base to elect their candidate. Independents remain the only source of gained votes, the individuals for whom every attack ad, stump speech and debate performance will be aimed.

Finally, Numbers People, for all of this talk about “people”, are not as interested in the human error of spastic belief systems and knee-jerk political climate changes. The actual “winning” lies in the Electoral College and its 270 votes needed to be president.

Right now the White House has gone on record in surmising that with Obama’s fat-cat coffers and concentrated canvassing of Democratic strongholds, the president is most likely to garner the John Kerry votes of 2004. This is what gamblers call an even bet, the short odds, the hedge numbers. This, according to Numbers People reasoning, leaves them 19 electoral votes to corral. No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

This, mind you citizens living in the non-numbers world, is an exacting summation without an actual opponent, which appears to most assuredly be either a rich robot or a raving lunatic; or if you are a student of recent history; Michael Dukakis or John McCain.

So, while the rest of the nation and the world heard a State of the Union replete with political rhetoric and class warfare tactics wrapped in a red, white & blue gunny, friends of the Numbers People heard the cold clatter of calculation.

Carry the two and hail to the chief!

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South Carolina Mudsling 2012

Aquarian Weekly 1/25/12 REALITY CHECK

SOUTH CAROLINA MUDSLINGRepublican Fringe Fights Back Against Citizen Romney

Fifteen days after the Iowa Caucuses, Mitt Romney, its presumed victor, received pre-dawn news that he actually placed runner-up. Antiquated third-world vote-tallying techniques perfected in the mid-nineteenth century by Boss Tweed led officials in Des Moines to report Rick Santorum had actually won. Realizing that along with losing a few delegates, the frontrunner will no longer be able to claim “only non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep the first two contests of the primary season” status and thus draping himself in the cloak of inevitability was not Citizen Romney’s worst turn of the day.

Newt GingrichRomney, enduring his most trying week as a national candidate over calls, much of it from his opponents, for the release of his tax records stemming from allegations of an off-shore tax dodge, received darker vibrations only hours later. Before the morning was out, former Texas Governor and the field’s comedy relief, Rick Perry dropped out of the race and quickly endorsed Romney’s only real competition in the South Carolina Primary, Newt Gingrich.

Many were initially shocked that the self-destructive Perry, having been buried in Iowa, decided to limp from is “reassessment” conclave in Texas to contest South Carolina despite anemic poll numbers and strange debate performances in which his brain failed him and when it functioned was concocting a new invasion of Iraq. But rumors abounded for the past week that Perry promised a Secret Conservative Coalition, then meeting in his home state to coalesce behind one sustainable conservative alternative to Romney, that if he polled below ten percent on the eve of the South Carolina Primary he would toss his support, however pathetic, to the candidate closest to winning the state.

And so Perry’s rapidly paced quit/endorse routine was less a surprise to Romney than the Santorum campaign, which was promised the full support of the same Secret Conservative Coalition immediately after its emergency summit wrapped the previous weekend. Scrambling to beg the Perry staff on holding off the Gingrich endorsement until after the South Carolina vote, scheduled for 1/21, Santorum’s staff soon realized it was a lost cause. Perry, avoiding any mention of the Texas deal to back the most likely candidate and best derail Romney in South Carolina, instead cited his long-standing friendship with Gingrich, which led to the former speaker penning the foreword to his 2010 book, Fed up!, as the source of his reasoning.

In a strange twist of events, Gingrich received word from Texas to roll up behind Santorum two days before the Perry endorsement. The best reporting on this, much of it barely existent, describes a defiant candidate spending nearly an hour deconstructing the former Pennsylvania senator as a one-trick pony, who, outside of moldy social issues still has the stench of ignominious senatorial defeat upon him. Gingrich allegedly finished the one-sided conversation by promising the type of scorched earth South Carolina technique that the George W. Bush campaign unleashed on John McCain in 2000 that all-but sealed up the nomination.

Amazingly, this put Newt Gingrich, left for dead three times on the 2012 campaign, as the main challenger to a breezy Mitt Romney nomination.

Santorum’s sudden Iowa victory and the Gingrich resurrection notwithstanding, Romney’s clumsy dance around releasing his tax records and a series of verbal flubs slowly but surely had begun to paint the former Massachusetts governor as an unholy amalgam of Gordon Gekko and Daddy Warbucks. The detached business mogul, Citizen Romney, a big hit in New Hampshire, is a losing play in the south. By the time Perry tossed his five percent support to Gingrich, Romney’s fifteen-point lead had shrunk to less than ten in most polls.

You could almost hear the feint echoes of “vast left-wing conspiracy” in this tired nineties-era act.

For his part, Gingrich’s red-meat performance in a FOXNEWS debate before a rabid southern conservative crowd a few days prior, which garnered him several standing ovations, helped the former speaker gain serious traction. While Santorum appeared oddly civil and Romney predictably wooden, Gingrich fired one spiteful sound bite after the next, hammering the press, the president, and the entirety of the American system of governance since 1835. By the time Gingrich concluded his multi-pronged stomp, the edgework mystic, Ron Paul appeared a far more viable centrist choice.

This is the hardcore South Carolina pushback that was promised by Republican insiders and the very reason for RNC chairman Reince Priebus’ drinking binge that was dutifully reported in this space three weeks ago. It is, as history dictates for the GOP, the challengers’ firewall and the last-chance corral for someone to put the brakes on the Citizen Romney machine — well funded, methodically organized, and far-reaching — that is still boasting double-digit leads in Florida and beyond.

But the rosy comeback glow was quickly dimmed the very same night Gingrich was apprised of his recent surge and the Perry nod, as ABC News aired an interview with his second wife, who candidly talked of his six-year affair with a House staffer and current wife while he spent months publically decrying the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. The buzzword to come out of the interview was “open marriage” that, while not as horrifying as “gay marriage” to the Right, appears to shamelessly defecate on even the vaguest concept of “family values”.

Gingrich then took to his defense by pitching one of his celebrated fits for the first four minutes of a CNN debate by blaming the “left-wing elite press” for screwing a woman who wasn’t his wife for the better part of a decade. You could almost hear the feint echoes of “vast left-wing conspiracy” in this tired nineties-era act. But it was ultimately a key debate for Santorum, as he took the fight in a surprisingly cogent fashion to all comers and lifted his brand beyond goofy religious axioms to the only real conservative candidate left standing.

In the same debate, Romney, who has made an art form of playing both sides of an argument, broke the record for contradicting one’s self. Rightly hammering Barack Obama for what he deemed “crony capitalism” — the president’s kowtowing to labor interests and failed environmental concerns — within 25 seconds (20 of which were consumed by the moderator) he stated, “I know we’re going to get attacked on capitalism and people say we have to practice it ‘this way or that way’, but my view is that I will defend any type of capitalism.”

Make no mistake, Santorum, a solid debater, Gingrich, an excellent sound bite, and Paul, an enviable rebel, are all sucking Romney’s fumes. But their yo-yo campaigns clearly illustrate that he is a dangerously flawed candidate. Yet he remains the man the Party wants to court a vital and growing Independent vote that will ultimately decide the presidency in November. Something the Republican establishment fear Gingrich or Santorum will fail miserably to achieve.

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Citizen Romney 2012

Aquarian Weekly 1/18/12 REALITY CHECK

CITIZEN ROMNEY

It is futile to fight against, when one doesn’t know what one is fighting for. -Ayn Rand

Mitt RomneyFor all intents and purposes, the Republican Primary season is over. The unprecedented victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have taken the starch out of things. Not so much for his own prowess, as his flimsy character chronically reveals severe fault lines that become ever more distinct upon the slightest inspection, it’s that not one of his opponents appears to be a viable candidate for president, have a third of his funds, and suffer daily push-backs from every corner of the GOP establishment. All that is left of this gory charade is for the drag-ass press monkeys to scratch out sorry stories of failed hopes and disingenuous claims, gaffs a-plenty by desperate challengers too stubborn to admit the jig is up, and an agonizing rehashing of poll after miserable poll.

Don’t be fooled by any of it.

It’s over.

No Republican non-incumbent has ever won the first two contests in a run for president — and after January 21 in South Carolina, most likely the first three — and failed to become his party’s nominee. The Romney Campaign has made mincemeat of an already compromised field — unprepared, unrealistic, underwhelming and unfortunate bottom feeders, and Ron Paul, who, to his undying credit, has run as staunchly unwavering an ideological race as this reporter has ever covered or witnessed.

There is something wickedly crucial about what Dr. Paul is pulling off; getting on national television and state ballots talking about gutting the Federal Reserve, legalizing drugs, eradicating all modes of food and energy regulations and pulling every last American soldier from all over the globe. But he’s running for president, not Super Id Guru, and after he collects his run-off delegates and puts the scare into the RNC that he might bolt with his new and improved voters to offer a third party choice, he will shuffle off to Wonderland.

Unless someone, and fast, finds a live boy or a dead girl, Romney is on his way. Lord knows he’s been running a national campaign from the get-go. He fails to even acknowledge there are any other Republicans in this thing. It’s “Obama this and Obama that”. This is as national a campaign as can be run this early and it ain’t gonna stop. And why should it? He gets shit from the far Right, and he wins. He gets shit from radio row, and he wins. He gets shit from the Wall St. Journal, The National Review, Time, FOXNEWS, MSNBC, your cousin, your cousin’s friend and their local bartender, and he keeps winning.

My father, a man of few words and one who is not known to weigh in on these things too deeply, said to me the other day; “Someone other than Mitt Romney will have to win a primary at some point to make a case, no?”

Romney apparently doesn’t need to be a formidable candidate, barely garnishing a third of his party’s support.

Romney apparently doesn’t need to be a formidable candidate, barely garnishing a third of his party’s support. Even in what is ostensibly his home state, which borders the one he ran from 2002 to 2006, he pulled only 39 percent of the vote. This is known in stock car racing circles as “cruise control”. Romney is the quintessence of a tepid caricature, Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman; “Liked but not well-liked”.

This queer combination of succeeding by default has filled Romney with an “aura of invincibility”, a bravado born of a frontrunner running way out front. And while a disturbing preponderance of voters prefers someone else, there are too many of the “someone else” crowd. Since none of them have gained any traction for more than two week clips, there is Citizen Romney.

Citizen Romney is the new and improved candidate, who has smartly buried Willard Mitt Romney’s senate candidate/governor past as a fiscal and social liberal by selling himself as Business Man Deluxe. This outsider, “not a politician” move went as far as having the candidate utter in a recent debate that he doesn’t consider politics a career. When asked to comment why a man running for the most powerful office, and thus the most coveted by a politician, would have the gall to claim no real interest in the profession, a member of his staff offered this space a polite “no comment”.

Good move.

Citizen Romney is betting the farm that voters will 1) Forget he has repeatedly concocted dozens of personalities and embraced two-sided ideologies to get elected to whatever was in front of him and 2) In a grander scale, he wishes to bypass the messy furor of TEA Party/ Occupy Wall St. — anti-big government/anti-big business marauders to play the unrepentant ruthless millionaire baron. Don’t like it? You’re just offering up “the politics of envy”.

The only problem with the Citizen Romney character is Mitt Romney was at best a fair and at worst a crappy business man, if he was a business man at all. His only claim to fame, Bain Capital, consists of the kind of investment firm that feeds off weak corporate models of bloated workforce and wasteful production rank and file. To claim, as the candidate repeatedly has, that this corporate chop-shop activity resembles a “job creating” enterprise stretches credibility until it screams for mercy.

When hammered in New Hampshire by Newt Gingrich (fresh from taking his own beating in Iowa by Romney) and Rick Perry (merely fighting for relevancy) as a “vulture capitalist”, Romney cited his opponent’s’ socialist leanings, gaining support from many Republican mouthpieces who’ve adopted the turd-like notion that any measure of the free market is to be defended. While Gingrich rightly argues that “criticizing one business man for one set of practices is not an assault on capitalism” it’s bad Republican mojo, and for a fleeting moment actually put a minor conservative wave under Citizen Romney.

But “minor” is the operative word here.

Echoing much of what is coming from conservative circles following Romney’s victories, this week, in a lengthy American Spectator screed disemboweling the candidate, conservative pundit Peter Ferrara compared Romney to such ignominious losers as Thomas Dewey, Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, and John McCain.

Ferrara writes; “As the Republican candidate, he would be the least electable most of all because he would not inspire the maximum vote from grassroots conservatives, failing just where his friend John McCain did, as Bob Dole did before him. That effect would be felt all the way down the ticket, as Republicans fail to win the Senate and Congressional seats with a disappointing turnout that they could have with a grassroots earthquake, as was inspired by the Reagan Revolution in 1980.” And Citizen Romney keeps on winning.

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