It is hardly possible to believe that the Republican Party could have ended up with four worse candidates for the Republican nomination after the abomination that has been their ongoing selection process.
Let me begin with Willard Mitt Romney, a Mormon who lies about something virtually every time he opens his mouth. Leave aside for the moment whether or not he belongs to a religious cult, I can’t imagine Mormonism is much more absurd than any other of our religious traditions, what with angels and demons, virgin births, swallowing whales, walking on water, speaking in tongues, handling snakes, visions of eternal damnation, fish on Friday, born again, and whatever. No, the real problem with Romney is that having been born into wealth and being enormously wealthy he is completely unable to relate to ordinary people no matter how hard he tries. He is so out of touch he is apparently unaware he is completely out of touch, telling us he is unemployed, corporations are persons, he has worried about being pink slipped, and changing his position on any topic mentioned according to the moment, a man with the courage of no convictions whatsoever, other than wanting to become President. He is a caricature, a cardboard figure, emotionless, apparently lacking even the basic human trait of empathy. As the classic flip-flopper he has already flip-flopped himself out of the Presidency even if he does get the nomination.
Of course Romney is a veritable Saint when compared to Newt Gingrich, quite possibly the greatest phony ever to become a serious candidate for the Presidency, a con man extraordinary who has managed to convince others he is an intellectual, an idea man, a conservative, and a repentant sinner, now a (professed) Catholic, having tried at least two previous religions. Gingrich is a thrice married, twice divorced fellow who has given speeches on family values on more than one occasion, even once the day following asking his then wife for a divorce. He also must have had polygamous desires as he reportedly asked his wife for an open marriage (that is, to allow him to carry on an affair with another women while married to her), perhaps a more noble procedure than his previous adulterous behavior. Newt also holds the record for blatant hypocrisy for criticizing President Clinton for having an affair while he himself was doing precisely the same thing at precisely the same time. The fact of the matter is, Gingrich is a loudmouthed, boastful, hypocritical blowhard who will immediately pontificate on any subject that arises with all the authority of a snake oil salesman who has studied under W. C. Fields.
Then there is the sex-obsessed Richard John “Rick” Santorum, obsessively anti-gay, anti-abortion, and even anti-contraception, because this latter encourages people to do things they should not do (like have sex at all, I guess, unless for procreation). He apparently is convinced that homosexuality is the gateway to beastiality, incest, and polygamy. Santorum also has tried to get Intelligent Design taught in classrooms, claiming it is a legitimate scientific theory worthy of the same status as the theory of evolution. He is an unabashed hawk on foreign policy, believing we should not even consider negotiating with “radical Islam,” as it would be a waste of time. He is an implacable enemy of Iran and seems to have first introduced the term “Islamic Fascism,” is a big fan of the war on terror, apparently thinks we should stay in Iraq and Afghanistan forever, and has also suggested that John McCain does not understand “enhanced interrogation.” As near as I can tell Mr. Santorum knows virtually nothing about human sexuality or Islam, positions from which he believes he can speak with authority on both issues. If by some strange aberration of human behavior he were to become President I think he would probably legislate the Missionary position for sex, sex only on days when there is a cold wind from the north, invalidate all same sex marriages, undo DADT, install cameras in every bedroom, and promote public stocks for suspected offenders.
The fourth of the Worsemen is often neglected as no one believes he will ever become President. A kindly 76 year-old doctor who has delivered 2000 babies, he, too is opposed to abortion, is basically opposed to civil rights, published for years newsletters containing inflammatory racial remarks (that he claims he didn’t either write or read), and would like to have us return to the gold standard. He thinks people who cannot afford health insurance should be allowed to die because it is because of their own negligence. As a Libertarian he is opposed to government, would do away completely with most governmental organizations, and would, I guess, have us return to the Frontier days of the 18th century. His only positive virtue that I can see is that he is virulently anti-war, anti-empire, anti-nation building, and even anti-Israel (at least when it comes to giving them money year after year). If Gingrich is a reincarnation of W.C. Fields, Paul is a reincarnation of Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride).
So you see, Republicans do offer us a choice, four of the worst candidates ever promoted as possible Presidential hopefuls. They are all anti-abortion, want to privatize Social Security, do away with Medicare as we know it, deregulate everything possible, increase tax breaks for the wealthy, and abolish unions. Whichever one of these completely unworthy candidates wins the nomination look for them to suddenly become a White Knight on a White Horse, saving us from the democratic (black) barbarian that has the audacity to actually try to govern rather than merely steal. However bad President Obama may be, even on his worst days he towers over all of these pretenders like a skyscraper over a cottage, a luxury liner over a dinghy, an elephant over a mouse, a dog over a flea. Take your choice as usual in the coming election, bad or badder.
Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.