It’s getting more and more difficult to cover the 2012 Presidential race. Not because the race itself displays any degree of complexity; indeed anyone who has an ounce of political instinct, or has been following U.S. current affairs with any interest, should easily be able to discern the actual issues from all the hired bullshit. The problem is that any real understanding of the issues leads one to the unfortunate conclusion that boredom, or indeed depression, are the only two identifiable human responses anyone could have to these events. The process now has become extremely wearing to even the most motivated of political junkies, simply put, because there isn’t much left to interpret. The eventual outcome has now become so utterly obvious we could surely concern ourselves with issues that actually matter. Well, no, of course not. If we, as a species, actually focused on real issues we might make some tangible progress and then, at the very least, people may not despise politics and politicians quite so much as they do and indeed deserve to.
In an ideal world politics would be precisely what it sets itself up to be: namely, a rational discussion of the best way to progress as a nation state, taking into account the reasoned and principled differences of position and opinion that make up any society. Sadly we do not live in a perfect world; far from it. The most accurate description I have come across can be taken straight from Joseph Conrad, that “We live amid romantic ruins pervaded by rats.” So, it was that the king of rats, Newt Gingrich, left his under-financed sewer on Tuesday to give his first press conference since he fired half of his staff, and announced the rest of his campaign would be run via Facebook, Twitter, or Chat Roulette, I forget exactly which. The end outcome was much the same, which is why what remains of his staff, assembled a meager collection of hacks to hear him announce he was leaving the race. But that would be too obvious and predictably is not what went down. This is after all politics, and what Gingrich was really doing was pre-announcing the press conference where he would potentially withdraw from the race.
This raises the obvious question: Why would anyone waste so many peoples’ time with such a pointless press conference? Well, on that same day Mitt Romney pulled off a clean sweep of the only primaries anyone could argue still mattered. Earlier in the week the Gingrich camp had the hopeless audacity to suggest their candidate was looking pretty good in Delaware, effectively giving them the opportunity to pre-announce their own pre-announcement. When the time came Newt buffed up his dented ego while at the same time engaging in a pathetic attempt to appear relevant next to Romney.
So, what is the significance of all this? Nothing. None of this is relevant. The only people left to not endorse Romney are the ones who don’t matter in any way, shape or form. Moreover, no one outside of the mainstream media really seems to care whether Romney’s vanquished foes endorse him or not. For that matter, what benefit would anyone derive from Michelle Bachmann being behind you? The chances are if Bachmann is behind you, you’re probably at a gay rights parade and she’s hiding in the bushes, for reasons I dare not speculate. What about Rick Santorum? Surely the less sweater vest clad bigots supporting you the better, right? And then there’s Newt. A man who has in only the last four months arguably done more damage to the Republican Party than the rest of the other losers combined. Surely the only reasonable response to such a cacophony of sycophantic sewer rats’ would be “I welcome support from within the party… Next question.”
Unfortunately, we have to pretend that all this nonsense is significant. Mainly due to the fact that as a candidate Mitt Romney is nothing more than a well financed disaster. Nobody wanted him as the candidate but sadly in America money talks, while bullshit runs the marathon. Romney had to be the candidate. He did after all buy the nomination at an insane figure well above the going rate. But even those most ardent die hards within the GOP know he has little or no chance of beating Obama; that is unless Obama suddenly invaded Texas and declared it the first state of the reinstated caliphate. Those of us in the real world know that event is nowhere near as likely as right-wing talk radio may suggest, but we also understand how much racist scum dislike the idea of having a black president and they have to entertain themselves somehow. Mainly through referring to page one of the GOP playbook and categorizing yourself as a victim.
So it is that this has been Romney’s strategy thus far, lead article on Politico last Sunday was in fact ‘Romney plays the victim card’. How exactly a man worth somewhere in the region of $250 billion could be viewed as a victim may be difficult to grasp for anyone with a couple of opposable thumbs to rub together, but once again the hired bullshit skips lovingly into view. No need to rehash the story of Hilary Rosen here–sufficed to say that a CNN contributor with no connection to Obama, suggesting the wife of a multi-billionaire may not have quite the insight into the lives of ordinary working mothers as she suggests, is not a controversial statement anywhere outside of the Washington bubble. That is essentially all you need to know. Furthermore, and perhaps as a helpful reminder, if you intend to use a member of your family as a surrogate, don’t be surprised if people question them or more broadly your strategy, particularly when it appears to have been constructed out of whole cloth, and was probably designed to illicit such responses. If that is your strategy Mr Romney, and indeed if that is the best you’ve got, perhaps consider fucking off back to one of your mansions to cry into your stock portfolio, and at least spare yourself the indignity.
The reality is that come November Americans will as usual get the kind of government they deserve and not necessarily the one they want. After the unmitigated disasters of the Bush years, it is probably fair to argue that the nation could benefit from a change of pace. Far from the rhetoric of 2008 that is certainly the only change they can hope for. If you consider the last three years under Obama to be anything more ambitious than Republican light, then you’re doing better than most people. The last election while seeming like the beginning of a new political generation was unfortunately a continuation of the old. What awaits all those registered voters in a few short months is the definition of contemporary politics the democratized world over, a simple choice between rolling the dice and selecting the lesser of two evils. To aspire to anything above this will take more than a few elected hacks roaming round the capitol looking for a retirement plan.
In a country where the Supreme Court has decreed money equals political speech, you would assume Mitt Romney has a lot to say. Today may well have been day one of his etch-a-sketch campaign, where in typical Romney fashion it was a case of a ‘if you disagree with my positions, I’m sure I can come up with some you’d prefer.’ The fact of the matter is that there is no real vision he can present that we haven’t heard before, or indeed counter vision he hasn’t subsequently adopted. Romney is a chameleon-like candidate and, while Obama may not have been all we hoped for, he has at the very least reverted back to sounding pretty good. It will be a simple case of progressive rhetoric vs. the kind of things independent voters like to hear. What remains may be another less than startling realization that Mencken may have been right; “democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance” and let’s face it, that’s what both camps are counting on.
James A. Foster is a British freelance journalist, political columnist, and sworn enemy of the corporate owned media. He is also founder and editor of www.AdNauseam.tk – A tight but loose collection of writers, covering national and global affairs in the fine tradition of Gonzo Journalism. He can be contacted through the website and also followed on twitter @ThisIsAdNauseam