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The Primary Primer: “Why Won’t These People Leave”?

I am feeling totally cheated. The New Hampshire primary is over, and none of the Republicans went away.

This is not how things are supposed to work in America. Every week, one contestant is supposed to be eliminated. That’s the way it is in politics — one day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Why won’t these people leave?

Well, here we are. All six alleged Republican presidential contenders are still with us and getting ready for the next primary in South Carolina, the Palmetto State.

You probably have some serious policy-based questions.

What is a palmetto?

Not really a good question, but it’s a tree. A palmetto bug is a large, flying cockroach, but that is definitely not on the state flag.

South Carolina is also known as “The Iodine State,” but that absolutely never comes up in political commentary.

What will the big issues be in the South Carolina primary?

When five of your six candidates could not be elected president if they were running against Millard Fillmore, I think you can presume there will not be much serious issue discussion.

However, there will undoubtedly be a great deal of talk about the threat of European socialism and whether or not Mitt Romney is a vulture. One of those venture capital vultures that, in the inimitable words of Rick Perry, are “sitting out there on a tree limb, waiting for the company to get sick, and then they sweep in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.”

Also, whether Mitt Romney is an Obamacare-passing European socialist.

Has Romney figured out how to explain the nearly identical-to-Obama’s health care law that Massachusetts passed when he was governor?

Yes! This is all about each state finding its own, unique answer to its own special health care issue. Romneycare, Mitt explains, was right for Massachusetts because the state was faced with the choice of requiring everyone to have health insurance or continuing “to allow people without insurance to go to the hospital and get free care, paid for by the government, paid for by the taxpayers.”

This shows you how different the situation in each state is, since it is well known that in other parts of the country, sick and uninsured people do not go to hospitals but instead are encouraged to present themselves to the nearest local nail salon.

What do the Republicans have against Europe?

All the candidates in the Republican primaries seem obsessed with the idea that the United States is in danger of becoming like Europe, which would be the worst thing imaginable. (Rick Santorum: “They have nothing to fight for. They have nothing to live for.”) The Gingrich camp claimed that Mitt Romney was a fan of “European socialism” when he said something nice about the value-added tax.

However, it’s been Mitt that’s been sounding the most Europhobic. He’s been warning that the president “takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe” and is attempting to turn the country into a “European-style social welfare state.” (Do you think he really means: Takes his orders from the capitals of Europe? Next stop: “Barack Obama, Brussels Puppet.”)

What do you think’s up with Mitt? Perhaps he’s afraid we’ll all start demanding free child care and fresh-baked bread. He did live in France for more than two years as a Mormon missionary and he didn’t make many converts. Also, he had harsh things to say about the toilets.

Why is Newt Gingrich still running for president? Aren’t voters fleeing from him as if he were a rabid palmetto bug?

To understand Newt Gingrich, you have to envision a mixture of “Kill Bill” and “Carrie,” after Sissy Spacek gets hit with the bucket of blood. His only mission in life is getting even with Mitt Romney and the rich minions who paid for all those anti-Newt ads in Iowa. He is exactly like Sweeney Todd mixed with Charles Bronson in “Death Wish.” And maybe a smidge of “Shogun Assassin.”

Now Gingrich has roped in a few rich minions of his own, and you should watch the video they’ve just put out. Romney looks worse than the evil banker in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s full of heart-tugging former factory workers who used to have happy homes and wonderful Christmases until … Mitt Romney Came to Town. By the time it’s over, you will want to gather up the peasants and march on one of Romney’s mansions with flaming torches.

There is nothing Gingrich won’t do to get Mitt. At the end of the video, there’s a clip of Romney speaking French! And now Newt’s Web site has a video that basically asks whether America will elect a president who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. Which is, of course, an excellent question.


By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, January 11, 2012

January 13, 2012 - Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , ,

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