Last Saturday, I watched some of the Republican debate in New Hampshire, by which I mean that I caught a few snippets of the debate during the commercials in the Saints-Lions game. But I do remember thinking, “Wow, these sure are a bunch of master debaters!”
Newt Gingrich defended the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, saying it had been around for three thousand years. Of course, so was slavery, but we eventually decided that all people should have equal rights. Newt also claimed that questions about gay rights by the media amounted to “Anti-Christian bigotry.” So now being for basic human dignity and equality for all is anti-Christian? I think Jesus would disagree. Besides, isn’t it kind of ridiculous for a serial adulterer like Newt to be defending marriage?
Then there was the flavor of the month, Rick “Frothy Mixture” Santorum, with his sanctimonious, patriarchal interpretation of God’s word. In Rick’s world, birth control would be illegal, and federal law would prohibit gay marriage, and make all current gay marriages null and void. Plus, all men would have to wear sweater vests. I am reminded of the words of John F. Kennedy, when he was running for President and there was a controversy about his Catholic religion:
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.”
But today, I think Rick Santorum would take orders from the Pope on how to act. And right-wing Protestant ministers are falling all over themselves to tell their parishioners how to vote, so their candidate can someday pass laws mandating that everyone must follow what the bible says.
Ron Paul has some good ideas. And he’s also got some ideas that are kind of wacko. But that hasn’t stopped him from amassing a good-sized following of rabid, mostly young followers that have embraced his libertarian ideas. Personally, I too would like to see the “War on Drugs” discontinued and fewer involvements in foreign wars, but when Paul gets started on the gold standard and getting rid of all regulation of businesses and financial markets, he loses me. He doesn’t have a chance of being the Republican nominee, but if he decides to run as an independent he could leach support from Romney, whom I think the primary voters will ultimately hold their noses and vote for, thinking he has the best chance to beat Obama.
Romney annoys me. Not because he’s a Mormon, because although their beliefs are strange and silly, so are the beliefs of most other religions. No, the thing that makes me cringe is his fake laugh, the constant “Ha, ha, ha” when he utters one of his campaign applause lines. He reminds me of that rich man character on “Gilligan’s Island,” Thurston Howell the Third. His attempts to portray himself as interested in the plight of the common man are a joke. I think when he is alone he probably lights his cigars with hundred dollar bills.
That leaves Jon Huntsman, who I actually kind of like. Unlike the other candidates, he seems like a reasonable man who believes in science, has empathy for real people, and is smart and capable. So obviously, he doesn’t stand a chance in the Republican Party.
I just wish our political process wasn’t so drawn out and messy. I’m not sure I can take a full year of mud-slinging, attack ads, and debates. I suppose I could do what most people do, and just ignore the political news and remain blissfully ignorant. Then I could join the multitudes who believe that “Mitt” is short for “Mittens,” Newt is a slimy amphibian, and Ron Paul invented a device that slices and dices.
But if I stop watching the news, what would I have to get self-righteously indignant about?