Something Happened: The Most Disappointing of Tuesdays

The hype around ‘Super Tuesday’ a few days before the giant primary competition was palatable.

It was to be the ground upon which Romney would finally break the back of Santorum and ascend to his righteous place on the holy throne of nomination.

Santorum, beaten and broken by his continuous attempts to turn America into a papocracy would fade into the background, like a half-stepped on slug and slowly breathe his last in a dark damp space. Oh if only we could return to those bright and beautiful days where Mittens, his hair perfectly aligned would pick up the chalice of victory from the poisoned swamp of the GOP base.

It was meant to be a metaphor of Christian redemption so sickening it’d have CS Lewis reaching for antacids. Of course, though, the GOP base were having none of it. Gingrich, the only man with an ego big enough to be visible from the heliopause outside of Kevin Rudd, took his home state of Georgia in an absolute rout.

Santorum, with the power of the Holy Roman Empire at his back stormed through the primaries, winning North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, the Czar of Christ landing a fatal blow to the Mellifluous Mormon in the deep south, where these sorts of contests are usually decided. Those of the south have quite strong feelings about a man’s religious conviction and the idea that the earth was created 6,000 years ago and Eve was made from the rib of Adam is accepted as gospel, but the idea that the gods left magic plates for the people of Israel who were the original Mormons is absurd. Ah, the narcissism of small differences.

There was much to-ing and fro-ing about the winner of Ohio, the Eden-Monaro of the US. The count went on into the night with Romney declared the final winner in a fairly tight race. The media was somewhat ecstatic, the winner in Ohio has generally gone on to win the nomination at the convention, and Romney seemed to be on somewhat of a roll with the victory in Ohio.

That said, if you can’t carry the south as a Republican candidate, that territory so rich with the red-meat of whatever the hell conservatism means these days, then you may as well not bother running. Romney has the same problems McCain was faced with throughout the nomination; he’s simply not crazy enough and not willing to really gag down the yardglass of absurd and outlandish statements to really connect with those whose politics are formed mostly in a moonshine-fuelled haze.

Romney, for his almost comical ability to be on both sides of every issue over the years, is simply not the kind of candidate they want. Someone who is willing to examine the evidence and change their position is somewhat of an anathema. He’s not thinking with his gut, in the words of Stephen Colbert.

As we move further and further south as the primaries continue we’re going to see some real down and dirty fighting over the nomination. The candidates are doing whatever they can to muddy up one another so that even when a final candidate emerges at the convention (brokered or not), they’ll be so tarnished and saddled with so many attacks on their character, Barack will probably be able to walk it in.

The current thought going around is that if there is a brokered convention, the party will parachute someone in to save them. Someone like Jeb Bush, to put his hand on the till to right the ship of state. National polling wise, Romney could potentially beat Obama, that’s fairly borne out and apart from Paul who won’t have enough delegates at the convention to secure the nomination, the others simply are not electable in the eyes of the American public.

The idea about parachuting in a candidate at the convention is frankly, political suicide in a situation where elections are run not by popular votes, but basically by who picks up the most donations. Obama had a far larger war chest than McCain at the last election, and any other latent ‘youth vote’ issues aside, that seems to be the biggest predictor for electoral victory. Obama’s Super PAC has already started raising money, with Bill Maher donating $1 Million to it in a big televised extravaganza.

Obama is already in campaigning mode, and with a PAC at his side the media is throwing around the number that he may be the first candidate to ever reach $1 Billion in total funds. Though this may be scaremongering at the moment, and many Republican establishment figures have attacked the number, it’s truly a shocking indictment of the system that these political stoushes waste so much money.

The Republican candidate, whoever they are, will be on the back foot when they’re chosen at the convention in August. They’ll have to raise money, put out ads and get into fully fledged campaigning mode 8 months after Obama has gotten the ball rolling. Incumbency it seems, has more than a few benefits. The fight for who will take office will be mostly a huge stoush between different corporations rather than those of different ideologies.

Come November 2012, there’ll be a man in office deep in the pocket of any number of companies with the power to sign checks banked at the Government treasury. The idea of being owed a debt by the man who controls the levers of power, is too tantalising for most large corporations to ignore.

This fetishisation of elections and political power, alongside the requirements of eye-watering amounts of money to win elections just demonstrates how eagerly the American political-industrial complex is to descend into this raucous and unholy corporatist, rent-seeking hellhole. Long live the 1%, the parasitic architects of the downfall of the most powerful nation on earth.

Dan Nolan