Universal Translator

Friday, October 14, 2011

They had BETTER Nominate Romney

. . . because I don’t think they’d actually be able to bear any of their “Romney-alternative” candidates.

Lord knows I’m not the first person to have looked at Romney’s polling among the Republican faithful only to conclude that the GOP really, really, really doesn’t want to nominate a French-speaking, (former?) pro-choice, (former?) gay rights supporting, (former?) Reagan-distancing, (former?) tax-raising, (forever!) Godfather of Health Care Reform, magic-underpants wearing Mormon named Willard to be their candidate for President of the United States.

I mean, Willard started this race the ostensible front-runner, and yet his polling never, ever has been able to break out of the 23 – 25% range with Republicans.  They’re just not that into him.  And so numerous candidates have been presented as the Willard alternative, and after each one has flamed out an equally or even more ludicrous candidate has then assumed the anti-Willard pole position.  The Republicans are quite obviously desperate to find someone – anyone – other than Willard to put up against Obama next November, but none will do.

And with Herman Cain they are now scraping the very bottom of the barrel.

 Remember Donald Trump, the egomaniacal blowhard host of a faux reality TeeVee show?  He was the first supposed Willard alternative candidate, but he is also an obvious grifter and after he successfully used the GOP presidential race and all those gung-ho birthers to goose his TeeVee show’s ratings and negotiate another season for himself . . . well, he decided that running for president just wouldn’t be in his best interests.  Thanks for all the additional attention and money, GOP Goobers!

And then all summer there was speculation that Sarah Palin would get into the race.  Palin certainly tried to persuade people she was a threat to do so, riding around early primary states in a bus painted with the Constitution.  But Palin, too, is an obvious grifter and after she had sucked as many nickels as she thought she could get out of her rube supporters she also formally declined the invitation to run against Willard (an announcement that was easily understood to be a foregone conclusion to people not already enamored with Sister Sarah).

When the long slog to prevent Willard from getting the GOP nomination first started, crazy-eyed Michele Bachmann was already known for being, well, crazy.  But she gave a surprisingly coherent performance at the first GOP debate and suddenly hope for a viable anti-Willard candidate sprang once more in the dusty, cobwebby hollow that is the modern Republican Party’s breast.  Alas, Rick Perry – just as much of an uber-Christian as Michele but also, y’know, a man – entered the race and siphoned away all her Teabagging base.  And then she cemented her irrelevance a month or so later when she appeared on national TeeVee, rolled both eyes in diametrically opposed directions, and pronounced that the HPV vaccine makes kids retarded.  So long, Michele, thanks for playing, but I’m afraid your time at center stage is ovaah!

So then Rick Perry took the anti-Willard spot, and for the first time an anti-Willard candidate actually polled higher than Willard.  Perry was the new it candidate, and the GOP was in a swoon.

But, if they hadn’t been so eager to find someone – anyone – to run against Romney they may have anticipated their inevitable disappointment.  Rick Perry is – how do I put this delicately? – dumb.  Dumb-as-a-bunch-of-rocks dumb.  Dumb like a screen-door on a submarine dumb.  This guy is professional politician, seeking national office, and it never occurred to him that his having a vacation ranch named ‘Niggerhead’ might just be a problem.  This guy is the sitting Governor of Texas who figured it was in his best political interest just to refuse to debate his gubernatorial challenger last year.  (Although, to his credit, that does seem to have been the correct call.)

Apparently Rick Perry knows his own weaknesses, and he counts thinking and speaking among them. 

But Perry was “called by God” to run for the presidency, and he answered the call, and indeed it was going oh so well . . . right up until the moment he opened his mouth.  Until then he had been a squinty-eyed, big-haired, weather-beaten, gun-toting cipher upon which the GOP could project whatever hateful impulses it wanted.  But then he began to speak and they realized (i) he is an idiot, and (ii) he doesn’t hate brown people enough.  So Perry has been tossed aside, and unless he does something seriously drastic – or garners the approval of someone like Jim DeMint, probably the single most powerful conservative kingmaker in federal politics today – Perry’s day in the sun is done.

Which brings us to Herman Cain.  The latest and the least of the anti-Willard candidates.

Here’s all you need to know about Herman Cain:

            (1)        He won’t be the Republican nominee.  The media has to pretend that he has a shot, but he doesn’t, and the reason he doesn’t is that the modern Republican party hates black people.  I’m sorry for that, I certainly don’t support this kind of bigotry but, then again, that’s one of the big reasons I’m not a Republican.  For God’s sake, earlier this year a “Pro-Life Christian” group was demanding that all Republican presidential aspirants sign a pledge acknowledging that black people were better off being kept as slaves.  I don’t make up these facts, I certainly don’t condone them, I just record them;

            (2)        This isn’t Herman Cain’s first run for the presidency.  He also sought the Republican nomination in 2000 (I know, right?  Who remembers that?) but bowed out because – according to him – “George W. Bush was the chosen one, he had the campaign DNA that followers look for.”  And then Cain endorsed Steve Forbes;

            (3)        Cain has not raised any serious money, nor does he have any strong organizational theme, nor has he had an actual campaign manager for much of the time he has been running.  He has, however, coordinated his “presidential campaign” with his latest memoir’s book tour; and, finally,   

            (4)        If you watched Tuesday’s debate then you know quite a bit of it was focused on Cain’s so-called “9-9-9” tax plan.  Forget about the fact that this plan would blow a huge hole in the budget, drive up the deficit, impose huge tax hikes for the poor and the middle class and give huge tax give-aways to the wealthy . . . all of that is true, but it is also unimportant.

                        The important take-away from Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is this:  he cribbed it from a video game.  

That’s right:

            Long before Cain was running for president and getting attention for his 999 plan, the residents of SimCity 4 – which was released in 2003 – were living under a system where the default tax rate was 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for industrial taxes and 9 percent for residential taxes.


            Adopting such a simple tax structure, [Kip Karsarelis, a senior producer for Maxis, the company that created the SimCity series] said, would allow fantasy political leaders to focus their energy on infrastructure and national security.  “Our game design team thought that an easy to understand taxation system would allow players to focus on building their cities and have fun thwarting giant lizard attacks, rather than be buried under complex financial systems.”

            When asked about similarities between Cain’s plan and SimCity’s default tax rates, Cain campaign spokesman JD Gordon replied, “Well, we all like 9-9-9.”

            (emphasis added).

* * *

And so there you have it.  Herman Cain is running a book tour through the GOP presidential debates, and he is plumping for a tax plan because of its simplicity . . . when that plan was specifically designed to be simple enough to allow fantasy political leaders (of which Herman Cain surely is one) to devote their time to “thwarting giant lizard attacks.”

This is the face of today’s Republican party.

And that’s awesome.  Who says the GOP isn’t a serious political force anymore?  I’ll bet President Obama and the Democrats don’t even have an anti-giant lizard plan.  But Herman Cain does.  The bumper stickers and yard signs almost write themselves:

Herman Cain:  Won’t Let Taxes Distract Him From Godzilla!

* * *

Yeah . . . look, I know they don’t like him -- who does?

But the GOP really would be better off sticking with magic-underpants Mitt.  Magic underpants we can take; a tax code predicated on a possible Godzilla, or even a potential Mothra strike . . . that’s asking just a bit too much of the American people.  We just can’t all share Herman Cain’s special Tokyo-based vision of terror for America.

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