Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Return of the Grumpy Grandpa

Looking at the Republican Field one would almost think that the GOP has surrendered to the inevitability of the Democrats taking White House. The fractious primary season has seen the rise and fall of many a candidate. It all began in 2004 when the man who most Republican stalwarts could agree on, Mr. George Allen, had a macaca moment and died in the Virginia Senate race.

With Allen’s presidential hopes crashing and burning due to foot-in-mouth disease and some scurrilous talk about his past misadventures; the field was open to all comers. First up to the plate was John McCain, the former straight shooter in the 2000 election.

Senator McCain high hopes were shot down eight years ago by Carl Rove’s slime missiles in North Carolina. Ever since getting beat up by the conservatives especially the Christian Crazies he has been a huge pander bear to the Bush Wing of the party. But despite all the love he is giving the wrong-wingers he still can’t get his dream date with Pat Robinson.

In the middle of last year McCain was in freefall; his campaign looked deader than armadillo squished by an 18 wheeler. He had zero money and staffers where falling off the campaign like autumn leaves in a stiff nor’easter. America’s mayor looked to have the nomination locked up.

But an odd thing happened to Righteous Rudy, the hero of 9/11. What happened is his past caught up with him. Rudy managed to infuriate most of Gotham during his tenure
as mayor. Before 9/11 his approval numbers were lower than a snake’s belly. Even after his iconic moment, he earned a deep and abiding hate of the firefighters in the Big Apple. Since the NY media had the goods on his honor, all his little foibles became national news faster than you can say “thrice married, serial lying, best friend is mobbed-up, schmuck.” Rudy is falling apart faster than a Yugo on a rough section of road.

One would think that Willard Mitt Romney would be able to run into this breach but multiple choice Mitt has his own issues. The man is oilier than the Exxon Valdez spill and just about as slick. His magic underwear wearing faith is an anathema to the Christian Crazies who now run the G.O.P. or at least act as gate keepers. He has spent his own money like a drunken sailor to get his parties love, but he is still getting a cold shoulder from the faithful.

We won’t even bother to talk about Fred Thompson. The man keeps hitting the snooze alarm, is he ever really going to run? Fred Thompson is the beautifully wrapped Christmas fruitcake of the G.O.P. candidates; once you get past the shiny wrapper, the only thing that follows is disappointment.

Lately Mike Huckabee has been on a tear. His numbers have been skyrocketing. But what comes up must come down. Now that he is a national candidate the national media is looking much more closely at him. As Huckabee is a resident of the political swamp referred to as “Arkansas” there is more than a little slime covering his body. His explanations for past dodgy deeds have been less than convincing. He might still survive, he has a Reaganesque manner about him and he has seemed to inherit Don Reynaldo’s Teflon® coating. Huckabee has a happy warrior feel about him that other G.O.P. candidates lack. Being a former Baptist minister really helps with the American Taliban set too. They might stick with him no matter how bad it gets. The man speaks their language and has a populist appeal.

But Huckabee is not everyone’s choice, if he keeps getting hit on his past as governor an anti-Huckabee movement may form, especially if Multiple Choice Mitt flames out in the early going. Enter the former dead man walking. McCain might get the nod because he is everyone’s second choice. Republicans might not love him but they may be able to tolerate him. McCain is a known quantity, and that is important to the Elephant party where stability and predictability are valued. Watch McCain, especially if he manages to carry New Hampshire.
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