Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why the GOP is f***ed in 2012

By Nicholas Wilbur 

The future of the Republican Party rests on the shoulders of one candidate. Unfortunately, not even the Republican Party has any idea who that candidate will be. 

The long list of potential, possible, likely and too-stupid-to-calculate-basic odds second-string presidential hopefuls include: a flip-flopping Mormon with a soft spot for government-run health care; a libertarian advocate of legalizing heroin and prostitution; a perpetually stoned former governor from a state most Americans don’t know is part of the union; another Mormon (this one who worked for a socialist as ambassador to communists), a paranoid Constitutionalist whose followers have threatened to rape a high school girl who challenged their candidate’s knowledge of America’s founding documents; an evangelic whose last name has come to mean “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter”; a hopelessly unattractive Minnesotan with no redeeming qualities other than his own self-awareness in admitting publicly that he’s boring; and a pizza maker.

Romney is ready to take on
supporters of Medicare. Other
potential GOP candidates,
 order your red man suits online today

With such a pathetic roster of uninspiring candidates, the Republican Party was more than happy to leave the media spotlight for a weekend as the perpetually campaigning Mama Grizzly from the Upper One state launched a Memorial Day “Rolling Thunder Magical Mystery Bus Tour” along the east coast. Riding into DC on an all-American hog and dressed in full leathers, the still unpopular, still unqualified former half-term governor of the Great Frontier, who sold her soul to Rupert Murdoch in order to prolong her short-lived 2008 Mama Grizzly publicity tour, kept the limelight burning for one last-ditch effort to sell some books and boost her public image before the media finally catches on and permanently turns the cameras away from the publicity hound and onto the real, equally hopeless but nonetheless inarguably “legitimate” candidates for the presidency. The most that will come of this magical bus tour is a Fox News segment on patriotism and motorcycles – and possibly a sequel to Hustler’s 2008 porn flick “Nailin’ Paylin.” (“Nailin’ Paylin Part II: The Bang Bus Tour,” or maybe “Paylin Does Pennsylvania.”) 

Whomever the GOP trots out as the next “savior of the party” better come equipped with a red man suit, a dog-eared copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and either Scott Brown’s Cosmopolitan centerpiece photographer, Brad Pitt’s personal trainer or Bristol Palin’s cosmetic surgeon – because he’s going to have a lot of heartened hearts to soften before Election Day. 

Between near-riotous town hall meetings prompted by Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to “voucherize” Medicare, the party’s backing of anti-union laws, and the continuous state- and federal-level efforts to defund family planning services and undermine women’s right to choose, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee will face the seemingly impossible feat of convincing retirees, women and laborers – not to mention the unemployed, the LGBTQ community and college students fighting for grants and scholarships – that the GOP cares about more than securing the votes of the Tea Party base. 

Then, of course, there’s the question of party’s post-primary strategy: how will he (or, less likely, she) go toe to toe with the supercandidate (and popular incumbent) Barack Obama, who enters the race with the political equivalent of a Seal Team 6 campaign apparatus? President Obama – the Commander in Chief who captured and killed Public Enemy No. 1, the international uniter, the eloqutionist and the level-headed pragmatist – is already salivating at the prospect of debating a presidential challenger about the fiscal ramifications and social consequences of continuing tax cuts for millionaires, abolishing the health care reforms that stopped insurance companies from dropping coverage on a whim and bankrupting families without mercy, eviscerating the social safety net for seniors and the poor through radical changes to Medicare and Medicaid, holding hostage federal funds for disaster relief to ravaged states until Democrats embrace more budget cuts and every other radically unpopular policy the GOP has pushed since 2010. 

All of this is to say that the candidate Republicans nominate to face off against Obama in 2012 won’t be a candidate who is capable of actually winning. There is no such candidate. Not even in the party’s wildest, homoerotic political wet dream does such a candidate exist. But that isn’t what the 2012 race is all about. If Republicans are smart (a rhetorical question if there ever was one), they’ll take advantage of the free publicity, use the opportunity to train a future leader in the art of presidential campaigns, save the estimated $1 billion they’ll have to spend in order to make a dent in the Obama incumbency, and use 2012 as a primer for the only election race in which they have a fighting chance: 2016.

(Cross-posted at Muddy Politics.)

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