It's more like trying to figure out the wave of torture-porn movies in the middle of the last decade, as sadistic schlock-meisters set out to limn the agonies of the human condition by trying to out-spatter the likes of Eli Roth. When your bar is already set low from the outset, you are absolutely guaranteed to GIGO your way through things.
So it is with this protracted sideshow, which ostensibly has the goal of presenting a viable replacement for Barack Hussein
Of course, this negates the facts that Obama is actually the one who found and killed bin Laden after a decade on the run, turned a militant American-born cleric in Yemen -- whose stated goal was to radicalize American Muslims and create more Fort Hood massacres -- into a greasy spot on a donkey path, and assisted in bring down Moammar Qaddafi, a truly nasty character, without risking a single American life. When it comes to foreign policy, Barack Obama is as hawkish as they think they are.
Economic policy is even easier -- he's on retainer to the Wall Street thieves and grifters, to every bit the extent that one would expect from any of his Republican challengers (excepting, perhaps, Ron Paul). It is remotely possible that a McCain White House would have dropped the corporate tax rate to zero (which for many corporations it essentially is), but while Johnny Mac had to dance with them who brung him in '08, it's safe to wager that he is still rational and lucid enough to read a balance sheet.
So this summer has been merely a tedious exercise in trotting out an increasingly moronic series of candidates, in order to pander to what is apparently the most regressive, knuckle-dragging political base in a couple of generations. Seriously -- reasonable people from both sides can discuss at length the manifest failures of the Obama administration, but what sort of window-licking fuckwit actually thinks that Herman Cain would be anything but a disaster in any elected post higher than dog-catcher?
Oh sure, Cain would open the doors to the Koch brothers, let them and their subsidiaries pull favors and run riot over the regulatory agencies and labor unions (what remains of those entities, anyway). The magic of The Invisible Hand Making The Tide Rise For All Boats and such like. Because that's been working out so fucking well, hasn't it?
But Cain is interesting not in the sense of what he's revealed about himself -- a bumptious, ignorant tool who literally thinks that poor people should blame themselves first and foremost, and whose main actual idea is a 2000-mile fence to electrocute Mexicans -- but about the people who would actually vote for someone so comical and nonsensical.
And we won't even get into Cain's much-vaunted campaign video, which more than anything seems to allude to off-camera accessories such as a van with tinted portholes and a sex dungeon cluttered with missing hitchhikers.
Now, all of this has been an attempt by the Republitard base to avoid endorsing the Stormin' Mormon, Romney. Perhaps it's Romney's religion, or the way he keeps changing his positions day-to-day, or the fact that virtually nothing out of his cakehole is believable in the sense that you think he might actually believe what he's saying. But the bottom line is that the base hates him, but he has money and name recognition, so he's the perennial #2 in this dog show.
The fact of the matter is, when compared with the rest of the doofuses on the scorecard, Romney is not only the most competent and accomplished of the bunch, he is the only one of the front-runners that might be sufficiently competent to actually do the job. Romney's problem is the opposite of the rest of them -- he is actually an intelligent guy.
Romney, unlike Cain, understands why it's important for the president of the United States to know who the fucking dictator of Uzbekistan is, that there are important logistical capabilities for the US military about to be transferred there, and that Islam Karimov is a Saddam Hussein-grade brute who has literally boiled dissidents alive. He understands how economics and finance works. Romney, unlike Trump (who obviously was never an actual candidate, merely pimping his piece-of-shit teevee show), Bachmann, Perry, and Cain, is not an idiot.
He is, however, an unctuous, insincere turd who made his bones gutting manufacturing companies and sending American jobs overseas, instantly making him easy money for the Democrats to run against. And the Goopers know it. And the rest of their dance-card is a cluster of shit-scary goons and apocalyptos, people who, if they were really sincere in their belief in the dominionist claptrap about Christ coming back to scorch the earth and cleanse it of sinners week after next, should be spending their last days in style, having fun, not jockeying for the blue ribbon like a fattened pig at a county fair.
People have danced around Romney's (and to a lesser degree, because of the much lower name recognition, Huntsman's) religion, not wanting to appear bigoted, but treading dangerously close to ofay "some of my best friends are" territory. This is understandable; every religion is goofy to outsiders. Certainly in the years of running this blog, and before that on chat boards, I've never shied away from taking cheap shots at whatever religion crossed my sights, and Mormonism was definitely in there somewhere.
Perhaps counterintuitively, though, I would say this about Mormonism in general, and the many Mormons I have personally known, in particular: They're nice people. They place an emphasis on work ethic, and on individual self-sufficiency, but in the context of strengthening family and community. And not just the usual empty "fambly valyews" guff (though there was a video company in Utah whose specialty was bowdlerizing mainstream releases for "safer viewing"), but most of them seem to actually like their families, and make the effort to spend time with them.
Again, as an atheist, as far as I'm concerned every religion has wacky, far-fetched, completely fantastical belief systems and mythos underpinning them. Magic underwear is funny, there's just no getting around that. And certainly the Mormon church, just like the Catholic church, has many institutional wrongs to atone for. (Although, unlike the Catholic church, which took half a millennium just to acknowledge that it might have screwed the pooch on the whole Galileo thing, and that bit of nastiness with the Inquisition, the LDS church does update its dogma and amend its more racist undertones a bit more quickly.)
But institutional wrongs do not necessarily and always fully incriminate individual believers. Every Christian is not individually responsible for the Ku Klux Klan; every Muslim is not responsible for Osama bin Laden. And whether atheists like it or not, someone who professes to a mainstream religion is going to hold high office, at least for the near future. When enough people come around to the idea that you can be a very moral person without the burden of a particular established superstition, that will change. Till then, here's what you have to choose from. And Mormonism, as peculiar as its backstories are, as transparently scammy as its origins and its founder were, is merely the young child in a very old, far more established crowd of scams and fantasies; it is neither more nor less empirically valid than any of them.
I still think that in the end, Huntsman, if he can keep his powder dry, and just enough money coming in to keep breathing, gets this by attrition. The rest of them peaked too early and fell too hard; Perry, alone among them, has enough money and charisma and favors from his home state to rebound some, but it ain't gonna happen. The whole "if you like Dubya, you'll love Perry" schtick is exactly where it's at, and when was the last time you heard anyone admitting to missing George W. Bush?
And Huntsman, alone in the entire group of intellectual reprobates and buffoons, still has the ability to appeal to anyone outside that base. This will be a test for the far-right wing of the Corporate party, to decide if it still wants to be taken somewhat seriously by rational people, or it wants to continue its devolution into the "crazy aunt in the attic" wing of a hollowed-out corporatocracy.
Either way, metric fucktons of cash will be thrown around, and you, Tonstant Weader, won't see a red cent of it. Might be a good time to bone up on political consultancy.