Short Tales From Bizarro World: The GOP Primaries Edition

Short Tales From Bizarro World The GOP Primaries Edition

Former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Bahwitabah da bang da bang diggy diggy diggy said the boogie said up jumped the Mitty…

Sorry, couldn't help myself. You see, I was perusing the New York Daily News and came across this little gem about Mitt Romney choosing the Kid Rock song “Born Free” as his 2012 campaign anthem. “The patriotic pick,” reported the Daily News, “comes as Romney tries to shake the image that he's a buttoned up elitist who has little in common with the average American.”

Mitt Romney and Kid Rock. Throw them together with Fred Phelps and the ghost of Lee Atwater, and you'd have the most phenomenally deranged golf foursome in the history of the universe.

It is moments like this that make life, for me, very much worth living. This is what we have come to expect from the Republican field as they have staggered across the landscape in search of the opportunity to challenge President Obama for the White House some eleven months from now. It has been, at times, truly magical to behold, as when Rick Perry went off on his extended derp-a-thon and single-handedly blew out all the tires on his campaign bus. There was Herman Cain's recent dramatic flameout, the culmination of which was a press conference of such stupendous, weighty idiocy that it bent the very light. Michele Bachmann is still forging ahead, and could very well throw the entire GOP primary season into a state of bedlam by winning in Iowa right out of the gate, which to me is the very definition of awesome.

Speaking of Rock & Roll Mitt, Derpy Rick, Hopeless Herman and Manic Michele, let us all bow our heads in a moment of thanks to the Republican brain trust, who surveyed the field of dimwits, lunatics, ego-trippers and plain fools vying to carry the banner for their party, and said, “You know what'd be great? Let's have these people participate in 43,212 nationally-televised debates! What could possibly go wrong?”

Thank you. From my heart, thank you.

The past is but prologue, however, and the best is yet to come, because a whole lot of polls – nationally and in the key primary states – are speaking what would have seemed impossible only a few short months ago: Newt Gingrich is making a charge, and is in many important places actually leading Mitt Romney. This tells me two things, one about Romney specifically and the other about the GOP in general.

It says, first of all, that Mitt just can't find a way to feel the love from Republican voters. It could be the Mormon thing, it could be the Massachusetts (read: commie) thing, it could be the fact that Mitt has on occasion held positions that were not to the right of Genghis Khan, it could be the fact that he has flopped back and forth between these positions with such metronomic regularity that the GOP base has gotten seasick watching him, or it could be a combination of all four. The fact of the matter is that GOP supporters have been wheeling from hither to fro and back again like a flock of startled birds in a desperate attempt to avoid nominating Romney.

I may be losing my knack for reading the Republican Overmind, but this has been a very strange phenomenon to observe. After all, Romney is a handsome, well-spoken, well-funded candidate who lays claim to most of the policy issues Republicans hold dear. He is just enough outside the mold to be attractive to independent voters, and his business credentials have to be appetizing to the Wall Street crowd…and yet at every opportunity, Republican voters have turned away from him to embrace whatever shaggy dimwit gets up on their hind legs to offer themselves as the “Alternative to Romney.”

Which brings us, of course to the rise of Newt, and my second thought on the matter, which is very simple: if the GOP actually nominates Newt Gingrich in 2012, they will have finally and forever earned the mantle, in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, of being “a bunch of raving nutters.”

Newt Gingrich, in his time on the American political stage, has said so many stupid, obnoxious, harsh, contradictory things that it would require a tome roughly the size of the Oxford English Dictionary to encapsulate them all. He is walking, talking, breathing fodder for the attack ads that will certainly descend upon him soon like crows lighting on the body of a dead raccoon in the road. He has more baggage than a Samsonite factory, and as much personal self-control as a toy poodle on a crystal meth binge. To top it all off, he has all the interpersonal charm of a battering ram, and a cruel streak wider than his awe-inspiring forehead.

The Democrats are positively foaming at the mouth over the potential opportunity to saturation-bomb his campaign in the general election, but before that happens, it will be all-out warfare between these GOP candidates during the primaries, and Newt will, as usual, pull no punches. This was, after all, the man who shut down the federal government and annihilated his reputation in one fell swoop because he didn't like his seat on Air Force One. When his GOP rivals move on him, he will move on them with surpassing force and venom, and the fur is going to fly most gloriously.

If that isn't enough to get your mouth watering about the fun to come over the next several weeks, there's one more item lurking over the horizon that, if it actually happens the right way, promises to be Barnum & Bailey, the Women's Flat-Track Roller Derby Association, a Comedy Central roast of Zippy the Pinhead, and the company picnic for the Never Sweat Copper Mine in Butte MT, all rolled into one delicious ball.

Yes, Donald Trump – the first “Anti-Mitt” to rise and flame out this year – is going to host his own GOP debate…maybe. Most of the invited candidates have declined Trump's invitation, but Gingrich and the always-berzerk Rick Santorum have said they will show up. That alone would be worth the price of admission – Newt, Rick and The Donald trying to out-wierd each other on national TV – and the prospect of it has the establishment GOP practically gibbering with fear:

Republican strategists on Monday bemoaned the prospect of a presidential debate hosted by Donald J. Trump even as Newt Gingrich, surging in recent polls, made a pilgrimage to see Mr. Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star.

Veteran Republican operatives are increasingly agonizing over the image of a party whose contenders have been beset by scandals, factual gaffes and a fickle electorate that seems unimpressed by the choices they have been given.

Now, Mr. Trump promises once again to inject his personality in the Republican race as he hosts a debate days before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. But leading Republican strategists and campaign officials on Monday condemned a Trump-moderated debate as a spectacle that would do more harm to the party than good.

Karl Rove, the former political adviser to President George W. Bush, railed against the idea of a debate hosted by Mr. Trump. In an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Mr. Rove called on Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to put a stop to the debate.

In an interview, Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for Mr. Bush, called Mr. Trump's debate “an invitation to a circus” and urged the candidates to refuse to attend. “Donald Trump risks making a carnival out of a serious presidential campaign,” Mr. Fleischer said. “I think this is an opportunity for a candidate to stand up. I don't understand the fear of Donald Trump, politically. He doesn't have a constituency or a following.”

Whether or not Trump decides to follow through with his debate is almosgt immaterial; there is still a lot of epic craziness about to happen, and we should all sit back and enjoy it…but without forgetting the craziest part of all.

One of these buffoons stands a pretty damned good chance of being sworn in to the office of the president in January 2013.

May you live in interesting times.