Friday, January 20, 2012

The Scorched Earth Primaries and Republican Tactics

When Obama became President of the United States, there was much talk about an era of "new bipartisanship." He came in and started offering the hand of friendship, nominating Republicans for top offices like ambassadors and important policy decisions. His health care plan was crafted to mostly a wish list of Republican ideas - mandated health insurance, for example.

The Republican response was to basically say "If we don't get our way on *everything*, then you get *nothing*." Ideas they had championed for decades - Pay As You Go legislation to head off deficits, for example, ideas that Republicans proposed were suddenly voted against if Democrats were willing to go along with it. Chuck Grassley proposed mandated health insurance - then attacked it as unconstitutional and dangerous when Obama put it into the health care bill.

The plan seemed simple: All for me, and nothing for you. Not just nothing for you - the Republicans have spent nearly 4 years saying "Screw you" to everything and anything the Democrats propose, even if 24 hours before Republicans agreed with it. Every vote in the Senate is now cancelled unless Democrats can get a 60 vote majority. Every Obama nomination requires the same. Oh, did we pass a law saying there was consumer protections? Yeah, good luck getting anyone to fill the seat to head it up.

The idea is by denying Obama anything and everything, they can get what they want. And for the most part, it worked. When faced with blowing up the entire country or giving in to Republican demands, Democrats have decided not to let the entire system fall apart. So Republicans have learned the lesson: acting like terrorists holding a bomb to the United States will get you result.

And now - that mentality has struck the Republican primaries.

You have Mitt Romney, the would-be nominee. On paper, he doesn't look too bad. Republican who was in governor of a liberal state. Has enough money. No major skeletons in the closet. Clean cut. Looks nice.

And yet - he can't close the deal. Maybe it's the "I was for abortion now I'm against it," "My health care plan for Massachusetts which the Obamacare plan is based on is a horrible thing," "Gay marriage is awesome until I'm running for the Republican presidential ticket and then it's awful" issues. Or it's the "I only pay 15% in taxes and I have $200,000,000 in the bank - yet I pay less money in taxes than a secretary because that's totally fair because mine is investments instead of actual work." Maybe it's the Mormon thing - evangelicals have their scrotums vanish up into their bodies at the idea of a Mormon president ordering the US military to send Mormon missionaries two by two unto every doorstop in America.

Whatever the reason, the scorched earth policy the Republicans took with Obama - is now being visited upon Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich is totally unelectable, he's been making racist comments about how "black people should stop asking for food stamps and ask for jobs" (Why black people, specifically, Newt? I mean, "poor people" is at least a Republican talking point for the lazy, but why are "black people" the ones not working compared to the what - "hard working white man on medicare who's not on the government dole unlike those lazy black people"?). Same with Senator Rick Santorum. You'd think that they'd fall in line, support their candidate's party-

And yet they are doing everything they can to destroy Romney. Calling him a "moderate liberal." Rick Perry is dropping out and going to support Gingrich. The conservative christian base is nominating anyone but "that Mormon" because well - you know. Mormons aren't Christians (even though they worship Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior from sin forever and forever amen - but that's not Christian enough for those folks).

From what I'm seeing, the Republicans are willing to destroy even themselves if they don't get what they want. "We don't want Romney, and we have this bomb set to go off if he's nominated."

I don't know if Romney could beat Obama in the general election. But at this rate, it won't matter if the Republicans are willing to destroy themselves.

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