Which is troubling, particularly when the only thing a Republican presidential candidate has to do to get elected in this country is smile, kiss a few babies and regurgitate the time-tested talking points of the GOP’s master narrative.
Since the Republican Party’s Reagan-era reconstruction—when publicly anti-science conservatives working at furtively science-oriented think tanks began studying and applying the psychological revelations in brain research to issue-framing, subliminal messaging, and positive and negative neural networking—spinning a personal vignette out of the GOP’s family-values, pro-capitalism, anti-government agenda was enough to get elected.
It worked for George H.W. Bush (with a little help from Lee Atwater) and George W. Bush (with a little help from Karl Rove), and it very well may have worked for Bob Dole and John McCain if their handlers had forced them to pop a pill to minimize the conspicuous side-effects of being angry, self-entitled curmudgeons.
It’s definitely not working for the former Massachusetts governor, if only because—as far as the average American voter can tell—Willard Romney the candidate is as emotionally formal, prim, and buttoned-up as his forename suggests.
The truth is, there’s only one reason that Romney has attained frontrunner status in this race, and it has nothing to do with his hierarchical rank within the Republican establishment.
It has everything to do with his competition.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is far more consistent in his conservatism. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is far more intelligent. Congressman Ron Paul is far more inspiring. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry is, or was, far more charming. (His withdrawal from the race proves that a leathery smile isn’t an equal substitute for brains.)
But as voters are now learning, a Santorum White House would mean a national ban on cunnilingus, non-missionary coital positions, and any other forms of recreational sex—even between consenting adults.
A Gingrich White House would mean any liberal employed by the federal government would be fired, any judge who makes decisions Gingrich deems “controversial” would be arrested, and “invented” Palestinian people would be no more.
President Paul would turn the Blair House into a brothel, and in the ashes of the demolished Federal Reserve building would rise a statue of The Thinker with a heroin needle stuck in his arm, because real liberty means living righteously in a country that institutes lawlessness.
With a candidate pool as shallow as this, it’s no wonder Romney’s in the lead. The choice is clear: vote for the die-hard teabagger, the ethically challenged philanderer, or the staunchly anti-government Libertarian, or hold your nose and cast your ballot for the wooden millionaire who strapped his dog to the roof of his station wagon for 12 hours during a drive up to the family cottage on the shores of Lake Huron.
Politics is perception, as they say, and Romney’s got a perception problem.
He states publicly that the $360,000 in speaking fees he made in one year was “not very much” money. He’s said that anyone who criticizes his record as a “vulture capitalist” is merely envious of his riches. And when the media found out that he was nearly quadrupling the size of his 3,000-square-foot seaside luxury home in La Jolla, Calif., Romney’s staff brushed it off as a miscalculation of the actual size. “The ‘quadrupling’ measurement of added nonliving space, including the basement and garage.”
You’d think someone within the campaign would tell their candidate that building a mansion in the middle of a campaign isn’t likely to bring flattering press coverage—particularly when millions of people have lost their jobs and their homes, when the average middle-class income is on the decline, when poverty is at 15-year highs…
Not to demonize the man, but someone needs to explain to Romney that other than a footnote in the political history books, there’s no prize for winning the party’s nomination, and if he can’t learn in the next few months how to look and sound like an everyday American, he doesn’t stand a chance in November.
As his defeat in the Iowa caucuses and his expected defeat in the South Carolina primary prove, Romney has more baggage as a presidential candidate than Christine O’Donnell had running for Senate.
That’s not to say he’s a witch. He’s you, only richer.
In a country where millions of citizens are protesting the growing gap between the rich and the poor, where 75 percent of citizens are Protestant and Catholic, and where 60 percent of households own pets, it’s not exactly an asset to be an awkward, animal-abusing millionaire (250 times over) who believes believes that after death he’ll be deified as a joint-heir to Jesus, receive a mortal body, and rule over his own planet in a celestial kingdom populated by “spirit wives” and “spirit children.”
That’s not exactly mainstream.
These are the facts. For Romney, they’re worth knowing, if only because his competition already has them memorized.
Prompted by Peggy Noonan's claim in The Wall Street Journal that "we are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate," Andrew Sullivan steps forward to defend Pres. Obama's honor. "Can she actually believe this?," he asks incredulously.
Congress is ramping up a new round of sanctions against Iran, ignoring the Obama administration's request to let diplomacy run its course.
In back-to-back hearings this week, lawmakers on key House and Senate panels put the State and Treasury departments on notice that their patience is wearing thin after the latest round of talks last month failed to produce a deal. Both chambers have legislative efforts in the works – the House foreign affairs panel will vote next week – but the administration is warning against any moves that could undermine international support for the existing sanctions against Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program [....]
By Carl Zimmer, New York Times/Science, May 16/17, 2013
An article that summarizes the recent work of Ya-Ping Zhang, a geneticist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has led an international network of scientists who have compared pieces of DNA from different canines which is pointing to the theory that dogs domesticated themselves.
But the article's message is not just what it first appears to be. When you get to the concluding paragraphs there are some real though provokers:
[....] SLC6A4 may have played a crucial part in this change, because serotonin influences aggression.
By Neha Paliwal, Passport @ ForeignPolicy.com, May 17, 2013
On Friday, chaotic clashes broke out in Georgia as an angry mob -- comprised mainly of young men but also including robed priests and some women -- descended on a gay rights rally commemorating International Day Against Homophobia. A day earlier, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church had demanded that authorities stop the rally, calling it a "violation of the majority's right."
According to EurasiaNet, the mob, which numbered...