Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Immediately after Iowa, Rev. Gov. Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee “suspended” (a word that means “quit”) the Republican campaign. The Hucksters brand of radical fundamentalist Christianity propelled him to the winners column in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, and several more races later, but with so much competition for the vote of the bigots and perpetually angry, The Huckster never stood a chance.
It seemed that The Huckster realised that fairly early, and his turning up his Offensive Meter™ to the Full Asshole setting was, I think, an early indication of his frustration at being ignored. As the Iowa Caucuses loomed, The Huckster attacked radical right Christian leaders—the very same people who drove his candidacy in 2008, and his only hope for 2016. Mind you, I think his criticism was actually correct, but, even so, it’s never a good idea for a politician to attack his most fervent base.
Next up, ex-US Senator Rick “Spreading” Santorum quit. He won Iowa in 2012, but, like fellow religious extremist Huckabee, he could never excite the Republican Party’s far-right religious base. He also couldn’t compete in a race with so many religious extremists.
When Santorum dropped out, he immediately endorsed fellow rightwing Catholic Marco Rubio, who, Santorum correctly said, shares the same far-right religious views. Both are ardent and uncompromising opponents of abortion (like Santorum, Rubio wants to force a woman who was raped to give birth to her rapist’s baby, though Rubio would permit an abortion to save a woman’s life…). Both are also strident opponents of marriage equality, and even though both are anti-gay bigots, no one is as vicious and anti-gay a bigot as Santorum is, except maybe the Canadian-born Rafael “Ted” Cruz (if he actually means the anti-gay bigotry he espouses and isn’t just pandering to the Republican base).
Later, rightwing Roman Catholic Piyush "Bobby" Jindal also endorsed fellow rightwing Catholic Rubio. No one seemed to notice or care, much like with Jindal's own failed campaign.
And the final quitter (for now) was Rand Paul. He was—what’s the word?—unique. In most respects, he was just an ordinary, garden variety rightwing Republican, no different: He was stridently anti-abortion and strongly condemned marriage equality (while saying states should decide). But sometimes he could launch into quixotic crusades, like against drone strikes, and yet, there was also his defence of racism, calling whites-only lunch counters “the price of freedom”. These weird contradictions were summed up by Ian Millhiser in his ThinkProgress piece, “Rand Paul And The Libertarian Moment That Never Was”. Yeah, unique.
All three of these candidates never stood a chance—that was obvious from the beginning, as any dispassionate look at the situation would have confirmed. The fact they lasted as long as they did is interesting, but their using their dismal showings in Iowa as an excuse to quit was also predictable.
I’m glad that none of these guys will be the Republican nominee: The Huckster and Santorum are truly disgusting and vile, Paul mainly just pig ignorant, so the country is far better off with them out of the picture. However, all the remaining Republican Clowns are terrible in their own awful ways and each would be a disaster as president, though not necessarily for the same reasons.
It’s great that Huckabee, Santorum, and Paul are gone. Now, we just need to see off the rest of them