Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At the Circus: Total War

With a turnout lower than the last presidential primary, Florida GOPers favored juggler Richie Richney over high wire artiste Casino Newt.  About 40% of Richney's voters also wished for a different candidate.  Newt Gingles took the Tevangelical north of the state, while Richney prospered in places that will probably go Dem in the general.

But the move of the night was Gingles talking about his Inauguration Day, unveiling "46 States to Go" signs, and failing to congratulate Richney in his speech, or concede that Richney had won, or to call Richney afterwards.  In case you didn't get the message, that's tripling down on common courtesies he meaningfully violated.

Richney slimed Gingles with $16 million in negative ads ( over 90% were negative, and less than 1% made any positive case for Richney.) It was an ultra rich man's demonstration of the power of money to destroy someone (It turns out that Richney is twice as rich as the last eight U.S. Presidents were at their richest, put together.)  It's the cynical horror to teach a merely rich man like Gingles where the real power is.

 Gingles clearly is in no mood to forgive or forget.  If there was doubt that the revenge thesis offered yesterday by several pundits was accurate, it's looking pretty certain now.  Gingles got the deeply Rabid Right vote, did his racist dog whistles in his speech to further confirm his hold on the Grand Old Confederate White Southerners Party, which votes on Super Tuesday in March.  By asserting that this was a campaign of People vs. Money, he signaled that even if the Casino millions falter, he'll keep going, debate by debate.  Rick Sanctimonious and Ron St. Paul seem comfortable in staying in the race as well.

Though some MSNBC commentators thought Gingles was suggesting he might run anyway if the GOPers don't nominate him, I'm less certain of that--he spent the first part of his speech talking about the need to have a conservative GOPer majority in Congress.  But it is hard to see Gingles endorsing Richney. Even former McCain pro Steve Schmidt, not exactly a raver, predicted that the nomination process was now "total war" in the GOP.

Now the action goes to arcane caucuses,  maybe leaving a few weeks for circus goers to wipe the elephant shit off their faces.  On the other hand, this is a circus without limits--it probably doesn't even seem all that weird anymore than FOX news would slime the latest Muppet movie for being anti-capitalist, and the latest critique of the credibility of FOX News would come from Miss Piggy.      

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