Republican politics are victims of our time. You can read all over the place; the internet society has allowed everyone to find people they agree with, lead themselves further down the road of Opinionation, make allies and sycophants of each other, – a unified sub-caucus – and they can rant and rally to their hearts’ content.
In order to vote in “the” (one of many) Iowa Straw Poll, all voters must be at least 16 1/2 years of age , be legal residents of the state of Iowa or a student attending an Iowa university/college, and purchase a ticket priced at $30, however some campaigns pay the fee for their supporters. Thus, high school and college students may receive tickets as presents (with a free fair entrance; rollercoaster here we come), all after a big barbeque the night before. Michele Bachman and Ron Paul, the two putative victors are testimony to the activism of small groups. Does any mainstream pundit think either of them is electable? Will anyone disagree that in the unlikely event either of them did get the nomination, Obama – and the mainstream in general – would have a field day making short order of them? Truly, this poll is a gift to the center and to Obama. That is, if the poll can be taken seriously at all anymore.
Just to put a finer point on it, who believes that the supporters of Ron Paul – Republican in name, Libertarian in practice – would gladly vote instead for Michele Bachmann, or vice versa? Heck no. Both of these candidates have True Believers, the kinds who sign pledges. The kinds who think Compromise is worse than a Satan sandwich. The kinds who have heroes on the internet and radio stations who will back up their creed.
Now, Pawlenty is out of the race, but he thought he could spend enough dough and time in Iowa to get the compromise vote. He’ll tell you how far that got him. Rick Santorum has parts of Pawlenty’s and Bachmann/Paul’s problems as well. We’re going to have to hear the noise of the Crazies a little longer, that I accept, like one noisy neighbor. But the press gives them more voice than their actual numbers would merit. Staying out of the fray, like Rick Perry and Mitt Romney tried, well, there is no indication that a strategy like that will bring the sheep back from the edges either. Rick Perry is no doubt a strong campaigner; everything Michele Bachman has, Rick Perry has more of (except boobs). He has Texas as either a strength or an albatross, and a slightly higher I.Q.; slightly. Mitt Romney has not convinced the evangelicals about being a Mormon, and he can’t seem to pick a point of view that isn’t from the Wafflehouse.
Really, there is no indication that the Loyal Republicans have anyone behind whom to rally. Nor is there somebody that seems worthy to fill that role when the time comes down the line. The Iowa Straw poll is looking to me, more and more about whose faction has the best organization and cash, and doesn’t represent the mainstream right. You do remember, voters, don’t you, you are the mainstream?