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GOP Dream Team: Cardinal Rick and Moonman Newt

9:23 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Moon Man

Gingrich Wins Another Primary (image:wikipedia)

There’s only one way for the GOP base to stop Willard’s march to tainted victory in Tampa: encourage a merger of the campaigns of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. The last time a non-nominee announced a running mate prior to the convention was in 1976, when insurgent candidate Ronald Reagan teamed up with “running mate” Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania in a last-ditch attempt to upend Gerald Ford’s nomination for his own not-to-be presidential term.

 

All that did, essentially, was give Nelson Rockefeller the heave-ho from the Naval Observatory, elevating conservative attack dog Bob Dole to prominence with his autumn characterization of the 20th century’s existential conflicts as “Democrat wars.”

But in 2012, with the Mittmobile clunking, in fits and starts, to an increasingly tarnished brass ring, it’s probably time for the conservative rank-and-file of the GOP (otherwise known as “the GOP”) to choose: Rick or Newt?

To which I say: why not both? In the great tradition of the fluffernutter sandwich, why not combine two great ‘insurgent’ conservative tastes into a creamy delight that stands up to Mitt’s unpalatable pablum? Isn’t this a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup moment for the GOP?

A Rick/Newt ticket stands in the great 21st century traditions for “winning” GOP presidential tickets, too: an above-the-fray, slightly oddly-spoken evangelical, with earnest appeal to the wanna-have-a-beer crowd with not-too-articulate-to-be-scary folksiness and Nixonland-goes-to-JesusCamp resentments and fears. The bass note to this overarching Frothy odor of bowling shoes and AquaNet is of course the Intellectual Anchor of the GOP: the successor to Shooter Cheney’s Veepness, Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich will line up the K Street donors on their way into the campaign offices, make them stand orderly while emptying their pockets. He’ll assure the Owners’ establishment that, “sure, that young pecksniff atop the ticket might be a little sanctimonious, a little full of his own morality, with a few too many kids and too few wives — but we know the score, fellahs: just leave the money on the dresser.”

And Newt’ll be the Idea Man to Rick’s 1950s Morality Man: just keep popping off about bases on the Moon, kid janitors, glassing Tehran, and the horrors of Old Yurp. In the meantime, the cash coffers stay full and promises to America’s extraction industries get made left and right.

The last time the GOP tried a Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen act like this, it almost worked on Election Day 2000 — and the clowns left America open to terror attack, led our nation into endless war, gave away the regulatory store, and bankrupted the middle class in only eight years. What the 1% calls VICTORY!

Surely voters’ memories aren’t that long to hold Bush & Cheney against the GOP?

Frank Luntz Tees Up Newt’s Tears

11:43 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

So, the big story out of Iowa today: Newt Cries!

Reminiscent of the moment that our Traditional Media claimed to see Hillary Clinton snatch victory from surging Barack Obama post-Iowa 2008, when she [hadn't actually] cried when speaking about the effort to run a presidential campaign, Newt cried. About his dead mom.

In response to a question no voter would ask in a roomful of Iowa moms.

So Frank Luntz, death-tax message man to the GOP stars, had to ask it.

Newt Gingrich teared up during a campaign stop on Friday, speaking about his late mother in front of a group of mothers in Des Moines.

Gingrich displayed emotion in response to a question from GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who asked the former House speaker to recall special memories of his own mom.

On cue, Newtie turned on the waterworks, something no one in Iowa wanted to see or ask about.

“First of all, you’ll get me all teary eyed,” Gingrich warned at the outset of his response.

Predictably, NBC made the connection to Clinton’s reaction to personal attacks. One wonders if Luntz fed them that angle, too:

Those attacks may have worn on Gingrich, whose outburst Friday is almost reminiscent of 2008, when Hillary Clinton broke into tears at a campaign stop in New Hampshire when reflecting on the difficulties of the campaign trail. That moment was interpreted to have helped Clinton politically.

Newtie kind of gave away the game elsewhere in his answer, though, when he provided the clue that maybe his campaign got Luntz into that situation in order to provide some needed humanization:

At another point during his answer, Gingrich quipped: “I do policy a lot better than I do personal.”

I don’t know about you, but one thing I always manage to do when crying about a dead parent is quip.

Bonus Link: Here’s the Gingrich’s master bath, scene of the children’s tale by Elphaba the Elephant, “Too Many Callistas!”

Wife-Abandonment: A GOP Nominee Tradition

4:09 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Despite the heavy lift among evangelical leaders hoping to convince their flocks that Newt Gingrich’s adultery-based serial divorces aren’t misaligned with Family Values and that Newt has earned forgiveness for his bad behavior, GOP primary voters actually have a long modern tradition of nominating wife-abandoners for the Presidency.

As GOP voters weigh the stylistic differences between Mitt and Newt, it’s important for them to understand their own party’s recent tradition, as well. Mitt Romney would break the party’s pattern of presidential picks’ — those not named Bush, at least — multiple marriages. The two Presidents Bush aside, all GOP nominees since 1980 had previously shed a spouse.

1976: The GOP experimented with putting divorce on the ticket; Appointed President Gerald Ford replaced Appointed Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (of whom, more later) with Kansas Senator Bob Dole as his Veep running mate. Four years previously, Dole had disposed of his first wife, the occupational therapist who nursed him back to health in a military hospital after his severe WW2 wounds, during the Senate recess in the summer of 1972. He arrived back in Washington a single man.

By 1975, Senator Dole had acquired a Watergate apartment that came fully equipped, including new wife Elizabeth Dole, whom he’d met spring 1972. Dole’s personal history wasn’t viewed as contributory to Ford’s loss, although his discussion of “Democrat Wars” — one of which he served and was wounded in — lent him the reputation, never shed, of a partisan bomb-thrower.

Practically unknown at the time, but an intriguing footnote, was that Gerald Ford had delayed his marriage to wife Betty when he first sought his Congressional seat because he didn’t know how voters would react to his marrying a divorced ex-dancer. That year, both GOP ticket-holders’ families had divorce in their past, one recent and one distant.

1980: Ronald Reagan, he of the dysfunctional family values, had been previously married to actress Jane Wyman before he locked in the special skills of the ambitious Nancy Davis.

Reagan’s tax-cut religion, grandfatherly befuddlement and nasty hippie-bashing charmed the GOP base, who have subsequently elevated him to undeserved small-government tax-cutter sainthood. He is now the icon of the party who wouldn’t ever nominate him. But Ronald Reagan also set the trend of nominees with colorful marital histories, embraced by the base.

1984: Reagan Redux

1988: GHWBush, whose wife Barbara Pierce tolerated peccadilloes but wasn’t about to be replaced, lending as she did a certain presidential sheen, albeit drenched in melancholia, to his ambitions.

1992: Bush Redux

1996: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole topped the ticket. See 1976, above.

2000: Little Bush becomes the country’s first SCOTUS-selected occupant of the Oval Office.

2004: Shrub Redux

2008: Vietnam War Hero John McCain defeats marital-fidelity exemplars Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee for the GOP’s nomination. McCain had returned from his Hanoi war prison only to quickly dispose of his disfigured accident-victim first wife, who in his unplanned absence had raised their children, been through painful physical rehab, gained some weight and lost six inches in height after painful operations to repair her legs.

His history was spotlighted every time chic beer heiress and Wife Number Two Cindy Hensley appeared with him, dripping with money that financed his rise in GOP circles. The GOP base mumbled about having a RINO atop the ticket, but ignored his adulterous marital history as unimportant and, critically, forgiven in some unexplained way.

Let’s reflect, though, shall we? GOP voters now find themselves almost 48 years from the GOP nominating convention at the San Francisco Cow Palace. There, wealthy divorce’ and Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller, having lost the presidential nomination to Barry Goldwater, insisted on his right to speak to the delegates who then booed and hissed (and, by some reports, spat at) him for 16 minutes. Rockefeller was reviled by the Goldwater Family Values Party because of his divorce from the mother of his five children and quick remarriage to a just-divorced staffer named, unhappily, “Happy.” The Rockefellers put the spotlight on the two-suddenly-broken-homes issue by giving birth shortly before the hotly contested California primary, which Rockefeller narrowly lost.

Additionally, Rocky had been publicly denounced by Connecticut Senator Prescott Bush, Hitler-backer and self-appointed marital moral arbiter, father and grandfather of the later Presidents Bush.

That was the last time the re-marital history of a potential nominee hurt his chances, though. It was, coincidentally, the last public paroxysm the GOP displayed at its nominating convention. I remember it, and the reaction across America to it. Rockefeller’s treatment at the hands of his party’s delegates was an ugly episode. It has never been equaled.

And, apparently, the Family Values that animated it have been turned upside down.

Now, divorce is a requirement to be nominated for president by the GOP — if your last name isn’t Bush. I wonder: can Mitt Romney successfully buck his party’s penchant for men who’ve disposed of their wives? Or will the GOP go with what they know, and double-down (if you’ll pardon the expression) with the twice-divorced former Speaker?

Don’t be fooled by anguished Villager pundits and cable news talking heads who despair over whether the GOP base will accept Newt Gingrich’s “colorful marital history.” Far from a disqualification, it’s a prerequisite.

It’s not a bug; it’s a feature.