I Wanted That Pause

I have to admit that even though I disagreed with almost everything that he claimed to stand for, I am genuinely bummed that Rick Santorum has dropped out of the presidential race.  I agree with his decision to do it, and it was weeks (if not months) overdo, since we all knew that he wasn’t going to get the nomination.  But I really wanted him to somehow make it happen.

I’m sure some people might assume that my desire to have Mr. Santorum’s silly ass as the Republican national candidate was motivated by the want for a weak candidate that would offer less of a challenge to President Obama.  But that is not entirely true.  I wanted him to get the nomination because I believe he was, as he often proclaimed, the most “conservative” candidate in the race, by the politically skewed definition of that word.  He and I wanted the same thing.  We both wanted that “clear contrast.” Now with Santorum out, and Mitt Romney almost guaranteed the nomination, if Romney loses it will be blamed on the party’s failure to nominate and run a truly conservative candidate.  The “not conservative enough” excuse was born the very second that Santorum stepped down, and that baby will grow into the greatest and most popular excuse for any failures of the eventual candidate. 

Hell, Santorum himself was alluding to it a week ago before he even decided to quit, when he compared his campaign to Ronald Reagan’s failed bid in 1976.  (Ignoring that St. Reagan himself would be called a RINO by today’s Tea Party patriots)

That lame “not conservative enough” excuse is exactly why I wanted Rick Santorum to win the nomination.  Every GOP candidate has been proclaiming themselves to be a true conservative while attempting to portray the other candidates as lesser so.  The highest profile Republican spokespersons all use the word “moderate” as though it is the dirtiest thing any person could be called, except “liberal” of course.  But liberals are clearly the god-hating creation of the devil, so they’re hopeless.  Many GOP supporters, Republican Party members, and conservative pundits have expressed a desire to seek out the most conservative candidate that they can find, and that message has clearly been heard.  How else can people like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, and Rick Santorum all attain front-runner status while aggressively alienating the independent voter?   Why did John Huntsman’s declaration that he believed in evolutionary science and demonstrated willingness to work with a democrat essentially kill his chances to even compete?

Now, I’m not stupid.  Not completely stupid anyway.  I know that in any election, anything can happen.  And with 2010’s Citizens United decision now allowing unlimited corporate influence and the people’s complacent reaction to blatant misinformation it would be incredibly naïve to assume that Rick Santorum couldn’t win an election against Barack Obama.  But if he could, that would be a valuable learning experience too.  If someone that openly states that he would roll back even those tiny steps made toward equality for homosexuals, that proudly participates in the ongoing over-involvement with women’s reproductive choices, that clearly doesn’t understand the separation of church and state, that would admittedly get us involved in another unnecessary war, and that accuses the federal government of waging a war on religion while at the same time feeding the paranoia of the nonexistent threat of Sharia law can win, I need to know that.  I need to know that I am in a country of people that I cannot relate to anymore.  I need to know that my retirement plans will have to include moving to another country.  Adjustments would have to be made.

The search for the most conservative candidate possible has to be predicated on the belief that the majority of the country is sitting in nervous anticipation of a candidate to the extreme right.  Doesn’t it have to be?  If someone wants to collect as many votes as possible, wouldn’t they naturally have to align themselves with as many people as possible?  Pandering to an extreme minority would seem to be a poor strategy in winning any majority-rule competition.  But that is what it appears the GOP is saying.  They are not doing it of course, because Mitt Romney is definitely not the most conservative candidate.  But it is what they are saying and that is why Romney can’t seal the deal.  They want someone further to the right. 

I don’t understand that desire at all, but I wanted them to succeed.  Why?  Because I think that the further right (or left for that matter) a candidate gets, the less likely they are to win.  And if they could nominate their dream vision of a super conservative and that super conservative got destroyed in the general election by a President that they’ve labeled as some extreme liberal Islamo-socialist boogie man, then they would have to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they are in fact not in step with what the majority of the good people of this country believe.  I know that no matter what happens, the far right will never acknowledge that they are not a majority.  They have created such a vivid alternate reality to this one, that normal communication with that world has become difficult.  But having their dream candidate lose to their fabricated demon-monster of a president would have to cause some moment of pause.  And I wanted that pause…way more than I want to hear the excuses.

 

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  Benjamin Franklin.

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Forward Thinking?

Politics in general is supposed to be complicated and slow. It has so many facets and complexities that it would be unrealistic to expect any candidate or pundit to be able to express his or her complete view, or your complete view, in a single sentence. That being said, I was impressed to see Rick Santorum do the inverse. Two days ago, in a simple two sentence statement, he expressed the total opposite view to my own.

“We don’t win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.”

Well done Sir. More polarization and less cooperation is the obvious answer.

And sadder still is that he clearly doesn’t know the definition of “forward.” If only God hadn’t created him so stupid.

for•ward [fawr-werd] adverb Also, forwards. 1. toward or at a place, point, or time In advance; ONWARD; AHEAD: to move forward; from this day forward; to look forward.

I realize that the exact direction of forward can be somewhat subjective, but unfortunately for Rick, backwards is never forwards.

If we’re going to call them leaders, we need politicians to do just the opposite of his ridiculous statement. We need them to seek out compromise and to look for reasons to cooperate. We need them to alienate the extremists at either side of an issue and focus on the larger rational population of people that are still capable of measuring their response to a political disagreement with some level of reason and the understanding that they just might not know everything. Every politician claims that their dedication is to the greater good of the country (or state, or district, etc.), but so many of them somehow manage to ignore the damage to our country that is caused by the vitriolic nature of the discussion.

Congress’s approval rating hovers just over 10%. How can they possibly be representing the citizenry if almost 90% of the country holds a negative view of their work? Could it be because the grid-lock of personalities has made them unable to get any work done? Maybe, but what it definitely does is feed into the long held desire for a third party. I would love a third party, but I don’t want another party that thinks they have all of the answers and will be equally unwilling to compromise (Cough, cough, libertarians). I see absolutely no need for another group of uncompromising personalities pulling away from the middle. No one has all of the answers. Everybody has ideas. I want a third party to be born from the middle. I want a centrist third party that is formed by representatives that are capable of listening to all of the ideas with an open mind, find any parts that make sense in each of them, and find a way to bring the best parts of every angle into the mix to write legislation that benefits all people. I know that sounds fantastical and it‘s incredibly unlikely, but how many great things have ever started with a small idea? I don’t know the answer to that question.

As a country we seem to have fallen so in love with the fight that we don’t care at all about the damage that we’re causing ourselves. There is room for compromise on every single issue ever brought to the floor, but that compromise is impossible as long as the debate is allowed to be polluted with lies and conjecture and continually dictated by people like Wondernuts Santorum who have absolutely no desire to find a middle. The “my way or no way” attitude is incredibly stunting to any forward progress, no matter which direction you think is forward. And it’s all a moot point as long as so many people continue to pretend that every issue is a life or death decision and should therefore be fought with religious level tenacity. Our political differences are not differences between “good” and “evil” as so many people like to pretend. Political opponents are not automatically your enemy and deserving of destruction. Neither political party is holier than the other, and to my knowledge no deity has ever showed up to endorse a political candidate. Allowing every single issue to be presented in this “good vs. evil” fashion only radicalizes the arguments, putting further gap between the two sides that could likely agree if they could only take off their “D” and “R” team jerseys and talk to each other and the public like reasonable human beings.

But what do I know? I went to public school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js3BYcHmBhE