Watched a bit of CNN last night, to check in on the Iowa Caucus results, because I like to see what the central, depressing, miserable narrative is from the horse's godforsaken mouth. Went to bed with Santorum and Romney neck-and-neck.
A few quick thoughts on what I saw:
Ron Paul's concession/on-to-New Hampshire speech was just so awful and I have no idea why people like this guy. I'm honestly mystified. This is the Republican version of antiwar? A guy who is antiwar not because he's generally a man of peace (he isn't, he has plenty of vitriol to go around) but because he's an isolationist. He also doesn't believe in partnership with NATO, or "getting involved in other people's affairs." This guy doesn't think the war was wrong because people died. He thinks the war was wrong because war means getting involved with countries that aren't our own.
He perpetuated the myth that vaccinations are linked to autism. He believes we should return to the gold standard and dissolve the Fed. He wants to get rid of the Department of Education. Plus, he blathers. He sounds just barely lucid.
Newt Gingrich is a delight. This is the man who battled against campaign finance reform and led a smear-heavy, brutal campaign against everyone who politically disagrees with him. He literally calls Democrats "dangerous." Then, he takes umbrage, umbrage I say, that he was buried by political attack ads. Fantastic. He's going to take his whole party down in flames, just to be an asshole. I love it.
Santorum won in Iowa (and he did, let's face it, he got within 15 votes of Romney with almost no money) because he actually did the retail politicking and because he's the only far-right bigoted conservative out there for the far-right bigots to vote for left. Plus, he and Romney look alike. These people want someone that LOOKS like Reagan, more than someone who governed like him.
Romney? Jesus. There's a reason Republicans feel like they have a settle on this guy. He's their John Kerry. Wait, no. He's worse. I actually liked John Kerry, but why did everyone go for him? They thought he could win. We all thought Bush was awful and vulnerable so we should pick a guy the rest of the country could maybe get behind.
Unfortunately, you see where that sort of logic gets you. Romney has no pluses. He just lacks the minuses of the other candidates. His own financial accomplishments - running a business - makes him look like the villain of the story, not the hero. His "I'm not a career politician" line is instantly disintegrated by the fact that he was the Governor of Massachusetts, ran for office many times, and seemingly has been running for President, for a living, for something like five years.
Anyhow, these are not stellar candidates. That's not news.
Three things that stuck out to me, from the news coverage alone.
First, the fact that the news does not bring up Santorum's bigotry is shameful. If a politician was a known, professed racist, would the press focus on his views about tax policy and "family values?" It's like talking about a member of the Klu Klux Klan's views on the Gold Standard. (Wait...this all sort of brings us back to Ron Paul, uncomfortably.)
Also, this insistence, by Republicans, that they're Reagan-like is horrifying. First of all, Reagan presided over some seriously awful shit, like the denial of the AIDs crisis, a massive arms-race, and Iran-Contra. He wasn't a hero. Plus, he would have found the current crop of conservatives far too ideologically rigid. He was, when it came to tax policy, able to compromise and find something reasonable to do when pressed. I guess he wasn't a slave to Grover Norquist.
Finally, listening to the Republicans describe Obama is bizarre. The right wing has actually invented an entirely different person than Obama and called that person "Obama" and they hate that fake person. Obama, himself, is moderate almost to a fault, has achieved tremendous military victory, and has searched for market solutions to problems like health care reform all along. It's like listening to a funhouse mirror. So to speak.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.