Cowboy Rick went jogging and was inspired to stay in the race, surprising his own staff. Maybe God spoke to him again. And maybe that Voice was heard by way of the upcoming meeting of self-important preachers in Dallas (Texas, get it?) to decide if they can back a single righteous Christian candidate instead of getting beat all the time by one of them goldurn moderates, like Romney, who is to the right of every Republican who ever ran for President before this year, including himself. They could still back Cowboy Rick, the only one of the remaining three (with Gingrich and Senator Rick Sanctimonious) who allegedly has money to burn. Gingrich seems more likely to back Sanctimonious. in such a unified effort, but Cowboy Rick still have this last card to play. If he doesn't get their clear endorsement, he may hear something else whispered to him on a subsequent jog.
The other Rick, Sanctimonious, got a million bucks in online contributions, which he could easily blow in a week of New Hampshire media. One of his superpacs has dissolved, the other got more professional help, and the jury is still out on whether he will be more than the latest and maybe last anti-Romney flavor of the month.
Meanwhile, Romney's showing in Iowa is being interpreted as showing weak appeal among GOPers. "Independents" who participated in the GOPer caucuses generally were there to vote for Ron St. Paul. There were actually fewer GOPers participating in this year's caucuses than in 2008, suggesting that not only Romney but the GOPer brand is dazed and confused.
What's happening to GOPerland is instructive to Democrats tempted to indulge in their purism, which no human and certainly no governing President could live up to. Divided, dispirited, and angry with everybody. Even the candidates are hopelessly incompetent and narcissistic, dragging everybody down to their own level. John McCain endorses Romney, who he loathes, because he has a worse grudge against Sanctimonious. Countering the analysis that an extended messy GOPer campaign for the nom is good for Obama, some pundits suggest that the protracted battles between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 wound up strengthening Democrats (registering a ton of new ones, for one thing.) That's true but the analogy doesn't hold. GOPer participation is flat or down, and the Obama-Clinton contests forced both candidates to be sharper on issues, whereas the GOPer race so far has been a contest in who can be the most thoughtlessly outrageous.
The GOP is in a cul de sac--a comfortable upper suburban one for some, a modest Southern suburban one for others--but they are on a street that leads nowhere. By taking the logic of the post-Civil Rights Act 60s to its logical conclusion, the GOP has become the White Peoples' Party, when the proportion of white people in the voting population is steadily declining. As evidenced in the states where they won in 2010 as well as in their nom campaign, the GOP has gone all in on Rabid Christian Right attitudes towards reproductive rights and privacy, sexual preference, science in schools as well as the 1% war on the global environment, all of which are on the opposite side of most Americans, especially younger ones. And finally, even in a progressive state like California, GOPers are incapable of supporting tax increases to support badly needed functions of government that they as well as everyone else depend on. That will do them in sooner rather than later. We might end up with a paralyzed government for another four years. But in the longer run this GOP is doomed.
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