Pundit on way to work
Today, the sober analysts of the Pew Institute have lain the GOP Presidential Sweeps of 2012 to rest. (Although, it might be noted that there are still two other candidates in the race.)
Journalism.orgHOW THE MEDIA COVERED THE 2012 PRIMARY CAMPAIGN — LESS HORSE RACE THAN 2008 — By Tom Rosenstiel, Mark Jurkowitz and Tricia Sartor of PEJ — Mitt Romney needed 15 weeks once the primary contests began to gain a secure hold over his party’s nomination for president…. Now the race takes a new turn. The focus will shift to the contrast between Romney and Obama, and, with Election Day seven months away, the pace of the narrative will also be altered by the calendar. This retrospective of how the primaries were covered reveals how the two presumptive nominees have been portrayed to this point and what the public has been told about them….
But, what I told you back on January 4th (the day after the kickoff of actual people choosing, the Iowa Caucuses) has remained true throughout. Take a gander, and maybe NOW you’ll believe me:
4 January 2012 · 9:10 AM
“Y’all will git yer money’s worth, or my name ain’t Dubya.”
You know, I used to think that it was odd that so many pundits and clever journos completely ignored the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, and WHY it happened, and HOW it happened.
That is, I thought it odd until I watched a Linked-In writers’ forum go over 300 posts in a thread asking the question: “One space or two after a period?” That answers that.
OK: here’s how it worked in 2000. GWB kollects kash like krazy. Then, while the usual song-and-dance, bread-and-circuses of the soon-t0-be Eternal Campaign whiffled through the punditry & bloviating class like a cold breeze across a field of ripe winter wheat, all that cash guaranteed that, in a front-loaded season culminating with “super Tuesday” nobody could possibly compete without a huge war chest ALREADY. There was no time for “momentum” to raise money, to pay for boots on the ground, to cover a dozen states and more.
And so McCain was bluffed out of the game just the same way that the fellow with only a couple of chips is forced to walk away even with a winning hand. He can’t call the raise and he loses it all.
That ain’t penny ante.
This year, Willard “Mittens” Romney, Nixon without the charm, brazenly proclaims that he’s a Genuine Conservative and a cynical Republican base says “OK. I guess he can lie good enough to beat that [INSERT UNSPOKEN WORD HERE] socialist we’ve GOT to take this country back from.”
Mitt’s secret backers carpet-bombed Iowa last week. Nobody has that kind of firepower because nobody else has that kind of cash.
“We were able to do pretty darn well last night,” quoth Mitt on NPR’s “All things considered.” (Oh. Puhleeze. Who the hell talks like that anymore? This isn’t Ozzie and Harriet, Willard.)
The only candidate in the field with enough cash on hand to go the distance was poor brain-damaged Rick “Secesh” Perry, and he’s headed back to Texas with his tail ‘twixt his legs.
Saddest damn speech I ever saw, last night, BTW. Sad, because it was so phony, so meaningless and so DAMNED arrogant. He reads a letter from a kid named “Colt Smith” who driv his pickup truck (what else?) all the way up from Texas, broke down in Kansas and got a loan of $2000 jest ter campaign fer Rick, and he’d always thought Perry was a good man, but now he saw Perry was a Great Man.
Who read that letter to the audience? Rick Perry.
Perry may have been the answer, but that wasn’t the question America was asking.
In WHAT polite, Christian environment has it EVER been OK to read a letter praising you as a “Great Man” with a straight face, as though “of course!” and “naturally!” without some blue-haired little old lady delivering a swift kick to your slats for such arrogance in the Face of God? If such exists, I wouldn’t like to see it.
That kind of hubris deserves to tuck tail and run back for Texas. We’ve got enough blowhards already.
But the main point is as homely as it is simple. In a front-loaded primary season, He who hath the most cash, wins.
And Perry had the only billfold that might have proven a speed bump to Mitt.
The Supreme Court may have got it entirely wrong (and, as supposed “originalists” the notion that corporations are people and therefore have free speech rights and because money equals speech therefore inhuman corporations can spend as much unreported cash as they want in elections, the Founding Fathers must be doing the ghastly version of a rotisserie in their respective graves), but this much is utterly true: Almost all the time, in American politics, the vote tallies will equal the ‘money spent’ tally.
And, in that primary, Mitt’s already run away from the field, EXACTLY as G. W. Bush did in 2000. McCain had momentum, and was starting to beat Bush, but there were too many primaries with too little time for the preordained outcome to be overturned by the voters.
Too bad, too, considering how that turned out. A REAL primary contest might have produced a candidate that won the 2000 election.
And what’s HILARIOUS in all this, Romney is already portraying himself as a martyr. As a poor white millionaire being attacked by an uppity black man. (I’m not kidding, although I desperately wish that I was.) He says he has a “target” between his shoulders, “but they’re broad shoulders.”
Remember that Rick Perry bit of hubris? I think Willard Mitty Romney just topped it.
But the problem here is structural. And the tweaks that have been made in voting laws, etc. have been attempts to further jigger that structure so that the “right” candidate can win.
As plain as the nose on your face if your name is Cyrano de Bergerac?
As invisible from the national dialogue as are ALL SERIOUS ISSUES AMERICA IS FACING?
Sucks, don’t it?
The Demolition Derby that our politics has become is every bit as entertaining as it is hollow. No real issues are discussed or debated. The real problems of living in a snoop society, in a habeus corpusless state, of an inexorable slide to the continuous monitoring of each and every American citizen and visitor is real, it is chilling and it is not given so much as a mention.
Instead, we thrill to the endless attacks, the accusations of scandalous statements and the odd, parallel forgiveness of public and private sins that would have formerly disqualified ANY candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. (I need look no further than Newt Gingrich.)
But the thesis remains simple: all of the aforementioned is mere spectacle. Empty flash and filigree. The facts are that in a front-loaded primary season, if you’re not Hitler, whoever has the most cash wins. That’s the structural reality.
There you are.
The Millionaires MADE THEIR INTENTIONS CRYSTAL CLEAR ON NEW YEAR’S AT MIDNIGHT, if you have but eyes with which to see:
That’s the famous crystal ball dropping during the final countdown
And, in case you didn’t “get” it, here’s the shot of the Mayor of New York City, a billionaire who spent his own pocket cash, according to the New York Times, “A third term cost Mr. Bloomberg personally about $200 a vote — surpassing what he spent in 2005 ($111) and 2001 ($99) .”
Translation: You are for sale. And we are buying.
Or, more precisely: The Mitt Romney Shadowy Investors’ Consortium is purchasing 2012.
It’s money that calls the tune and pays the piper.
(And, as I write this, Michelle Bachmann has dropped out of the race. You have to have money AND votes, of course, and she had neither. Mitt proved that he has both.)
And them’s the facts of life in Iowa this morning.
Obama is going to be mean to me!
Mitt the Martyr’s money matters, and after this debacle of the bought-and-sold election, there is only one guarantee:
For the fourth straight presidential contest, nobody will notice that our primary system is as broken as our congress.
And yet they will continue to talk, as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun, as assuredly as the mildew blooms eternal in the rainy season of Oregon.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog