Friday, May 6, 2011

Thoughts on the GOP debate...

So. The first GOP debate is a done deal.

I'm really troubled. I'll come back to it.

I thought it was Herman Cain's night. I like Cain. He's not my first preference, but I could get behind him.

I'm disappointed for Gary Johnson. Read that:  for, not in. His problem is, he comes off as kind of a dork. He isn't a great public speaker, and he tends toward low-key. He's got some great ideas, and some remarkable accomplishments as Governor... but few conservatives on Twitter knew much about him (Their fault. If you don't know something, educate yourself before you form an opinion!) and judged him on presentation. It didn't go well.

Oh, dear... if only we could find a President who was eloquent... and photogenic... and could whip out a snappy soundbite!  Oh.  We've done that.  I believe that's what we've been told about the last two Democrats in the Oval Office. President Rockstar has certainly worked out well.

It's a shame we couldn't have heard more about his record. As Governor, Johnson cut taxes fourteen times without ever raising them. He cut the size of government. He cut the growth of government. He privatized much of the prison system and did the same with highway construction. He fought for school choice. He was nicknamed Governor Veto because he vetoed over 750 pieces of legislation and used line-item veto on thousands more.

And, in fairness, he didn't get the same questions/face time as others. People on Twitter were calling him a whiner when he brought it up, but it isn't whining if it's the truth.

But it's early. I can hope. He is tenacious. And really, Herman Cain walked away a star because he is one. I'm not taking anything away from him. If he's the GOP pick, I'll back him.

What troubled me last night was the reaction to Rick Santorum. On Twitter, and in the Fox focus group.

They loved him.

I'm aghast. Literally, and I've never used that word before to describe myself.  I'm concerned, and horrified, and disgusted, and as close to speechless as I get.

I understand social conservatism, even when I disagree with it. Or, I thought I did.

But Rick Santorum is a bigoted, hateful human being.

I'm not generalizing or stereotyping. Most of the so-cons I know from life and from blogging strike me as great people, sincere and remarkably tolerant of this admitted social-libertarian in their midst. I wasn't born an atheist, and I understand the faith behind the position most times. We've had differences of opinion, but for the most part it's been congenial and respectful from both sides...

Which is why I just don't get the slobbering over Santorum.  More than that, I'm repulsed by it.

He's infamous for his "man on dog" nonsense, and went so far as to imply that accepting homosexuality would put us on a slippery slope to acceptance of incest and bestiality. As to gays in the military, he says "We have a volunteer army... they can un-volunteer, too." (Perhaps he'll enlist to replace them?)  His thoughts on women make the Geico caveman look highly evolved (I covered an interview between him and a fawning SE Cupp here, where he implies that Sarah Palin would be distracted by "all those kids" she has if elected... never mind that he has a passel of his own kids, there's a wifey at home to tend them.) While I have little use for feminists, when it comes to Santorum they're right on the money.

He voted to stop big malpractice payouts... after his wife won her suit against a chiropractor. He's opposed to abortion... other than the one his wife had, of course. (In fact, when they met, Santorum's now-wife was living with the founder of the first abortion clinic in Pittsburgh. How pro-life is that?!)

And Santorum is a fan of Big Government. Not the website, the soul-crushing, liberty-stunting expansion of the federal government.

How about the fact the he purported to represent PA while living in a Virginia McMansion? (With apparently questionable financing? Very interesting article. If you support him, go read the whole thing.) And during that time, a local PA school had to fund his kids' cyber-schooling... in VA.

But what caused me the most consternation wasn't any of the many things about Santorum that already curl my hair. (Like his insistence that you can't have fiscal or any other stability without strong faith. How insulting! While I try to be accepting and tolerant of others' faith, apparently I'm not good enough for ol' Rick because I don't believe as he does. Guess he won't want my vote...)

No, what troubled me is the conservative reaction to this pompous ass.

If Rick Santorum is an example of what Republicans are looking for... well, I'm not sure I have any place among them. He's anathema to what I believe people should hope for and hope to be. He's a hateful, judgmental little man who COULDN'T WIN HIS OWN STATE!

And if the GOP runs this clown, they will also lose. Period. Four more years of Obama if this ass wins the nomination, bank on it. Not only will moderates and independents never back this arrogant prig, I'll be on a one-blog mission to convince every voter I can reach.

So please, so-cons... think carefully. I get that many of you will never set the pot issue aside long enough to learn something positive about Johnson. And I fully realize his stance on abortion is off-putting to many. (Odd that those same cons aren't bothered by Santorum's ok-for-my-wife-but-not-for-you philosophy...) While I'm a big fan of Gary Johnson, I get that my first choice probably won't make the cut. Fine. As I said, I sincerely like Cain also. Run him and you can count me in.

But Santorum? Never. I mean that. Never in this life.

And if the GOP primary goes to Santorum... I'll have to seriously consider whether I can be a part of conservatism in any form. And maybe that's for the best. If Santorum is what conservatism is all about, clearly my values and ideas are not valid or desired as part of the conversation anyway.

It makes me genuinely sad, as I fully back most of what conservatism stands for. I think I have something to add to the equation, and I certainly can't self-identify as liberal. But acceptance of Santorum effectively marginalizes me - and millions of other moderates.

For now, I'm going to take a "wait and see" approach. The way I feel this morning, I don't even care if I blog about politics for a while.

This might be the beginning of a blog vacation...

UPDATED to clarify:

After a private conversation about this post, I realize this bit didn't come across the way I meant it. Rather than change the body of the post, I'll just try to explain myself a little better...
And if the GOP runs this clown, they will also lose. Period. Four more years of Obama if this ass wins the nomination, bank on it. Not only will moderates and independents never back this arrogant prig, I'll be on a one-blog mission to convince every voter I can reach.
By that I do not mean that I'll support President Obama. I mean that if the fringe has their way and Santorum is nominated, the moderates and independents who've been looking to cash in that "Change" they got will flee the Republican candidate in droves.  If you think they tacked left for a candidate they convinced themselves was moderate, wait 'til you see their response to a Santorum theocracy.

And while I'll take my blog down before I turn it into an Organizing for America offshoot, I will do everything in my admittedly limited power to remind folks why Santorum couldn't win his own state.


theCL said...

Yeah, mainstream conservativism has lost me. I have no idea what it is they stand for anymore. Well, other than "Beat the Democrats," "Go Republicans!"

I thought the whole debate was disappointing. Boring. More of a Q&A session with some meaningless questions. Too much foreign policy, not enough economy.

Cain is a Fed bankster. You can't get anymore statist than that. Besides, I've never heard him say anything of substance.

Americans should be very, very, very skeptical of Cain.

ScratcherMMBI said...


More of a Q&A session with some meaningless questions.

Like "What reality show would you be?" I thought, what is this - the Miss USA pageant fergawdssake? And what was with the shows of hands?

Cain is a Fed bankster

A valid point I hadn't even considered. I think he appeals to me in the same way Perot did. (Yes, I just wrote that.) As a businessman, he would seem to have more fiscal sense. But you do have a point...

I'm worried this will be one more "hold my nose" election. You may have had the smartest idea the last time - just stay home.

Man, I hope this improves...

Matt said...

I had the same level of alarm about Santorum. I'm a native of PA, and we were disappointed with him. I'm definitely a skeptic, and it scared the hell out of me that folks didn't see through him.

I really have to do some more looking into Cain.

ScratcherMMBI said...


Thanks for you comment. It relieved me some to read it, as you're one of those so-cons I meant when I said great people who are remarkably tolerant of me. ;) I respect your opinions, and your skepticism of Santorum is good news to me! said...

Pretty worthwhile data, lots of thanks for your post.