All of the ongoing verbal fireworks have been emanating from an unmerciful number of political debates in this latest nominating season. I highlighted the word political because I believe the original intention of these events was to highlight the candidate’s positions on political issues. Unfortunately, Romney and Gingrich have seen fit to make the last few debates sound like the old radio show “The Bickersons”. For those of you unfamiliar with American pop culture, "The Bickersons" was a radio situation comedy from the 1940’s depicting a married couple constantly fighting. Spoiler alert: Alexander Hamilton never appeared on "The Bickersons".
In any case, the Republican front runners have been sniping at each other about how much money they made while other people suffered, or how much jewelry they bought to placate the spouses who don’t want them running for office in the first place, or their dubious ethics records. Even fellow candidate Rick Santorum has complained that Romney and Gingrich have made their comments too personal, and not addressed the actual issues. In this regard, I have to agree with Santorum.
I repeat this shocking revelation: in this regard I have to agree with Santorum. Please forgive me, readers.
This week’s debate was the 18th in a series that threatens to last as long as the television coverage of the O.J Simpson trial. Eighteenth? Do we really need this many events? Hell, Kennedy and Nixon were satisfied with just four. That’s four, as in all the fingers on one hand! Pundits, please have mercy on the American voter!
I’ll go lightly on Rick Santorum this week, since he is currently in Philadelphia while his youngest child is hospitalized at CHOP. However, I will note how his comment that equality is uniquely a “Christian-Judeo concept” has managed to outrage the other religions that haven’t been outraged lately. Way to go, Rick! Now everyone can be pissed off at the Christians!
Leading representatives from the Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths have registered their complaints at Santorum’s pronouncement. One Muslim leader has offered to send Santorum a copy of the Quran so he can read for himself Islam’s position on equality. Good luck with that! Santorum may not block out time to read the Quran, if he has to keep up to date on his schedule of debates. Also, there’s no guarantee that he’ll read it at all. After all, as the old adage goes (which I just made up), you can lead the ignorant to a book, but you can’t make them read.
I predict that this week Mitt Romney will have this to say about Newt: “He had to pay a fine for ethics violations. He resigned from the only leadership position he ever held.” I can predict this with full confidence because these are the same things he has said about Gingrich for the last three weeks! He hasn’t even changed the sentence order around for variety! Please, Romney, have mercy on us!
Romney has yet to address questions about his earnings. Has he paid the legal tax rate on all his earnings? Is he really worth more than the last eight presidents combined? Are some of his investments hidden offshore, or are they all grouped together in a blind trust? He certainly can’t deny his wealth. Indeed, he should probably just cement his one-percenter creds once for all by shouting from the debate podium, “I’ve got more money than God!” Admittedly, this might go against the humble teachings of his Mormon beliefs, but it’ll give Gingrich that much less to talk about.
Which brings us to the winner of the South Caroline primary, Newt Gingrich. To this development, I must say: “Dear South Carolina, Newt Gingrich? Really? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
Newt was just endorsed by former nominee runner Herman Cain yesterday. Last week, if you recall, Comedy Central show host Steven Colbert proclaimed that a vote for Cain would actually be a vote for Colbert. Does this mean — horrors — that Colbert is now also endorsing Gingrich? This week’s episodes of The Colbert Report should be verrrrrrrry interesting, to paraphrase Arte Johnson. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Arte Johnson...oh, never mind.
Last and least is the fourth player in the debate cycle: Ron Paul. He has not made any comments so outrageous that they are newsworthy enough to outdo Romney or Gingrich. At this point, Paul appears to be just watching. Either that, or he has fallen asleep...
The only other person doing less than Paul is our special guest star today, Alexander Hamilton! He is not running for nomination, and not participating in any of the debates. This is due to the fact that he did poorly in a debate with Aaron Burr in 1804. (See results above.) Perhaps my repeated references to Hamilton today may be puzzling, but I will insist that, all things considered with this current crop of candidates, America could really use a man like Hamilton now.
This week, the primary race moves to Florida, and with it the circus that has the duelists in the center ring. It does not appear that we will be spared any vitriol – personal or political — for some time to come. I dare say that we, the American voters, will embrace the coming of November 6, with utter gratitude that the races will finally be over.
(Thank you for reading.)