If the last two weeks are any indicator, the man who secures the Republican Party's nomination for President of the United States will be the most put-upon, under-appreciated, and maligned citizen in the country.
Reading a transcript of stump speeches and debate comments from Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich reveals two people whose most enduring argument for the presidency is that they already do so much for you, but what thanks do they get? AND STOP TRACKING MUD ACROSS MY NICE WAXED COUNTRY.
For two people with so much in common, they at least go about their victimization differently:
Newt's is a top-down misery, harried by Washington elites: the sorts of intellectuals he considers himself superior to, as well as the sorts of DC "insider" he somehow never became, despite thirty years in the city. This stratification is what he invokes when he says he has an ability to "articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people." He's just a swell dude, like the rest of us, endlessly buggered back and forth—across a changing, alien landscape—by a faceless cabal of technocrats who belch Taittinger and limousine fumes as they peel away from the wreckage of America. He's mad as hell. He'd sit on the barstool next to you and tell you all this, if he weren't so barstool-size-unfriendly, obscenely rich, and unlikely to want to spend time with you.
Then there's Mitt, the well-meaning landowner being carried off to the guillotine by the Jacobin mob, the lamb sacrificed to bottom-up anger and "the bitter politics of envy." And dig this: the poor homeboy is unemployed. He said so. And, despite that unemployment, he only pocketed $20+ million in each of the last two years, on which he paid a rack-rent-esque 13 percent tax. With charitable donations, he believes he paid as much as 40 percent. Sure, voluntary payment is at odds with the whole mandatory concept of a tax, but the important thing is that he did this. And is the madding crowd listening? No. Their Thunderdome-like hooting drowns out his non-apologies for success and his willingness to cut an annual check for, like, lepers, Alopecia'd-Americans, and the terminally non-Mormon and stuff. When you think about it, he's basically Jesus.
It's an amazing spectacle for both these men to be so maligned they have to stand between two opposing malevolent forces and somehow effect the fictional position (for them) of "decent middle-Americans." Thus you have a conception of two powerful, white Christian millionaires having their country stolen by supercilious wealthy elites above them, as their heels are nipped from beneath by grubbing hordes all too happy to try to rob and execute them. The hordes are probably black and on food stamps, and favoring taxation makes black hordes the worst reverse-racists of all.
What makes this funnier is that Mitt and Newt are so busy trying to limbo beneath each other on the abused/scorned scale that they can't stop victimizing each other. Mitt's Super PAC essentially destroyed Newt in Iowa, while Newt's Super PAC has gone after Mitt ever since. Never in the field of human conflict have these two—who've owned so much—been able to lift so few fingers, as millions of dollars have been barfed on American citizens in the form of attack ads, each painting the other as craven and privileged.
Gingrich had his moment of high dudgeon in Iowa, where he wagged his finger at Romney for debasing the campaign with negativity. Newt just wanted to be able to run on his record without his record actually being mentioned. He wanted to show that he spoke truth to power and impeached a president essentially on a charge of adultery, without any of Romney's dirty pool, like mentioning that Newt was apparently doinking the Chicken Lady from The Kids in the Hall at the time.
During last week’s debate, Romney had his opportunity to shake his head dolefully at what had become of the discourse he'd so gladly poisoned. "Wouldn't it be nice," he asked, after a series of debates in which he evaded responsibility for ads aired in his name, "if people didn’t make accusations somewhere else that they weren't willing to defend here?"
Romney later condemned Gingrich's "kind of over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized American politics for too long," adding that, "having a difference of opinion does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets." All this from a decent man who only wants to remind people that Barack Obama has declared war on Christianity and wants to destroy the idea of America.
In South Carolina, Newt was able to play the elite card to designate himself the most bedeviled everyman on the stump. During Thursday’s debate, Romney got to figuratively clutch his chest at all the outrageous slings and arrows wounding him. No matter what happens, America will be able to champion a GOP candidate whose greatest campaign achievement is compressing the vacant pockets of air within himself—like a cockroach—in order to slink his aristocratic privilege and power under the lowest, scummiest threshold of self-pity.
Previously – The GOP’s Seemingly Never-Ending Debates