Tuesday, September 22, 2015
One less GOP hopeful to laugh at
The parade of dunces that the Republican Party has been marching through America's living rooms over the summer was just too entertaining to last. Inevitable that the lowest, most rotten fruit would drop away. Last week it was Rick Perry collapsing in a heap, after making a game but failed effort to overcome his humiliating gaffe of 2012, when he demanded the closing of three federal agencies, but just couldn't name that third one, not off the top of his head. The new glasses did not help.
Monday was Scott Walker's turn to cease—no, no, "suspend," his campaign, a mere pause just in case the nation wants to fall to its knees and beg him to stay in the race.
Won't happen. The pride of Wisconsin, who most recently polled at 0.5 percent of the likely Republican voters, declared that other doomed candidates would take his lead and quit too so the party could focus on finding somebody to counter Donald Trump, who's been spanking their bottoms for months now. He seems to be forgetting that his whole problem is none of the voters care what he says or does, so the odds of his erstwhile opponents doing so are pretty slim.
Walker made the mistake of believing that dominating Madison made him fit to conquer the world. He actually said that if he could face down 100,000 angry union members, outraged over his keelhauling of government employee rights, he could take on ISIS too. Though my favorite shred of Walker stupidity was when he appeared on Meet the Press, and told Chuck Todd that building a wall along the 4,000 mile border with Canada was a "legitimate" idea to keep out the terrorists who might start pouring over any moment now. (Add his recent invitation to Ben Carson to drop his trousers and reveal his shameful bigotry, and Chuck Todd is becoming the go-to guy for egging on self-immolating Republicans) .
Walker's downfall seems to be that he was out-crazied by Donald Trump. The charisma-challenged Walker lost the lunatic fringe and thus the footrace to the bottom of the American soul.
So a big bye-bye as Walker bites his lip and confronts a future where the harm he can do is limited to Wisconsin.
Now the question is: who's next? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would be a natural, though there is real doubt whether he possesses the self-awareness needed to quit. Lindsey Graham does, at least, have the photo receptors and ganglionic clump that Jindal lacks, which might inspire him to look around, see where he is on the evolutionary scale, and go home. He does have a sense of decency that makes him unelectable as a GOP contender -- he actually chided Carson for his vile bigotry about Muslims, which, in Republican circles, is the equivalent of joining Jane Fonda for an inspection of North Vietnamese gun emplacements. But Graham did moderately well at last week's loser consolation undercard debate, and that probably splashes enough water in the face of his swooning campaign that it can endure a few more turns of the thumbscrews.
No, Rick Santorum is the next baby GOP baby bird to be pushed out of the presidential campaign nest. Santorum, whose very name has morphed into a term for a gross sexual byproduct — a usage that is certain to outlive him, the way "bowdlerize" lived on long after Thomas Bowlder — couldn't even distinguish himself in the pageant of midgets, his performance drawing comments like "lackluster" and "weak." Given the blats of ridicule he receives, expect him to slink off with whatever injured dignity he can muster, I'd say by St. Crispin's Day, or Oct. 25.
My wife, by the way, using her generally spot-on intuition, announced at supper Monday night that Marco Rubio will get the nomination and win the presidency because he is young, handsome, and seems able to gull GOP diehards into thinking he's crazier than he actually is, then reversing course and tacking toward a generally acceptable flirtation with rationality when the general election rolls around. We could do a lot worse.