Thursday, January 26, 2012

Out with the Good and in with the Bad: It's just so yesterday.

Guest post by Ramona

Ed. note: This is Ramona's fifth guest post for us. Her first four were on cruelty in America, abuse against women, the creepiness of Herman Cain, and Black Friday. -- MJWS

Ramona is a freelance writer based in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her blog, "Ramona's Voices," is liberal-leaning, with such a small amount of navel-gazing you'll hardly even notice. She is also on the masthead at dagblog, a gathering place for dissidents and reprobates and other friendly people.


Here it is nearing the end of January and at long last, after 17 Republican debates -- count 'em, 17! -- we're down to two actual contenders and a couple of valiant bench-warmers. While Ron Paul and Rick Santorum work hard to make some headway, it looks like it's Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, neck-and-neck, fighting it out for a chance to clobber the current White House occupant and show this country what a real president looks like.

Brian Blanco/European Press Photo Agency

Mitt the Peacemaker, the soft-spoken everyotherman, knows going in he'll never be able to out-mean Newt. Newt the Hysterian has perfected condescending bulldoggedness until it's a veritable political art form. Nobody does it better. His opponents drool at the scope of his talents, awestruck by his ability to use those tools to sidestep any attempt at a messy question. Bad Newt! Bad Newt! And (sigh) the crowds love him.

Poor Mitt stammers, stutters, fast-talks until he's blue in the face, ripping into Newt with all he's got, and nobody cares. So the decision has been made: No more Mr. Nice Guy! He goes for the jugular in the Tampa debate but barely strikes a nerve. It's anybody's guess where he'll need to go from here. It won't be pretty -- a thought that goes against gentle Mitt's Bain, um, grain -- but it's not as if he hasn't had to take people out before.

So there goes Good, off to fend for itself while the candidates get their Bad mojo going so they can become crowd-pleasers, too. Rick Santorum tried it the other day when a woman in his audience went off on President Obama's legitimacy. She wouldn't call him "President" because he shouldn't be there. "He is an avowed Muslim," she said, "and my question is, why isn't something being done to get him out of our government?"

Santorum could have done what candidate John McCain rightly if reluctantly did in 2008 when a woman in his audience repeated that same "Obama is a muslim" mantra. To McCain's everlasting credit, he stopped the woman dead, saying, "No ma'am, that's not true." But Santorum side-stepped it, feeding the woman's fears with, "Believe me... I'm doing everything I can to get him out of the government."

When the press called him on it later, he Gingriched it, huffing and bluffing, "It's not my responsibility as a candidate to correct everybody who makes a statement that I disagree with. There are lots of people who get up and say stuff in a town hall meeting and say things that I don't agree with, but I don't think it's my obligation, nor should it be your feeling that it's my obligation to correct somebody who says something that I don't agree with." (And he's appalled that they would even suggest such a thing. Appalled! Wait -- frankly appalled!)

Ron Paul says the housing mess is "all government manufactured. The best thing you can do is get out of the way." This from a man who wants to be president. Of the United States. Because the last thing we need is some huge honcho giving us advice. Or telling us what to do. So if you elect him, rest assured that he will not do his job.

But then, not 24 hours after that last debate in Tampa, Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address. It's an elegant, impassioned plea for fairness, a love song to the people, a nudge back to sanity. It's more than a promise to get things done, it's an outline of how it will happen. The scorched earth is greening up. Hope is on the horizon. And Gabby Gifford's smile lights up the universe.

AP photo/Saul Loeb

Krauthammer concedes that "Obama has set the right tone." Daniels rebuts with faint praise. The Twitterverse goes wild! Good is off the mat and on its feet, ready for another round.

And four horsemen can be seen riding off, their banshee howls echoing, then fading, then gone.

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