Gearing for a delusional 2012

Delusions of adequacy, no other way to explain it.

With the newly sworn Congress barely in session we are well into the horserace leading up to the 2012 presidential election.  Chronologically we’re entering the third year or “autumn” of the cycle and appropriately the nuts are starting to fall from the trees.

Thus far the Obama administration has governed differently than candidate Obama campaigned, frustrating progressives and liberals and compromising away hoped for policy gains.  Given both disappointment among the base and the slow pace of economic recovery, especially unemployment, you’d think the President would be particularly vulnerable to a primary opponent.  Certainly, some on the left would welcome the prospect of a Democratic primary, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely.

The water is a bit muddied by the successful lame duck session which demonstrated  that once in a rare while Democrats can accomplish something, yet generates a sense of frustration and wondering where that can-do competence has been the previous two years.

Frustrations notwithstanding, a credible primary challenge on the left seems increasingly unlikely.  That leaves the GOP side of the aisle where the excitement is to be found.

Starting with a blast from the insufficiently distant past, CNN reports that former Senator Frothy, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, is making preparations for a 2012 White House run.

A source close to the former senator from Pennsylvania confirms to CNN that later Wednesday Santorum will announced [sic] that he’s bringing on board one of the top GOP political strategists in New Hampshire, a state that plays a crucial role in the race for the White House. Santorum will also next week make another visit to the state, which traditionally holds in nation’s first primary in the presidential calendar.

Haven’t we suffered enough?  It’s hard to imagine a world in which a Santorum candidacy would be taken seriously, but then I look at the current House of Representatives and wonder if he isn’t an ideal stealth candidate.  He’s got the social conservative bonafides Multiple Choice Mitt lacks.  He was a wingnut before teabagging asshattery was cool and the public at large doesn’t have the longest of memories.

But things could be even more entertaining.  Gazing northward from my comfortable home in Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District, we find the sixth district, a rather “special” place represented by the always entertaining (usually not deliberately so) Michele Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann is always unpredictable – her logic isn’t like other people’s logic.  There was speculation she would consider taking on Minnesota’s senior senator Amy Klobuchar who stands for reelection in 2012.  It turns out Bachmann’s ambitions may be a bit more grand in scale:

MinnPost has learned that Bachmann loyalists have already begun holding conversations with activists and officials in key early caucus and primary states and will begin travelling to those states in the coming weeks and months. Internal conversations have already begun about who might leave her Washington and district offices to staff a potential bid. And Bachmann told reporters she will likely visit additional early voting states in the upcoming months.

I have to admit this is a bit mind numbing.  Bachmann’s ability to raise vast sums of money, mostly from out of state, was demonstrated in the 2010 election but that’s not the same thing as a national draw for votes.  Bachmann’s idiocy is a known quantity in the Sixth and they vote for her anyway.  It’s probably a mistake to think Americans nationwide, even a majority of GOP voters, are equally forgiving.

There is yet some amusement value to be had here.  The GOP leadership created the monster.  As Hot Air observes, “A ‘Palin vs. Bachmann’ storyline in the primaries would be the political event of a lifetime.”  Yeah, it would.  The GOP leadership has fed the teabagging beast for electoral advantage, praying all the while they could keep it under control.  But the beast doesn’t want to be controlled.

When Bachmann stopped having her way with GOP leadership in the Minnesota Senate, she launched her quixotic bid for Congress in the Sixth.  Bachmann aspires to leadership, having recently formed the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives and campaigned actively for far right candidates in the 2010 season. Not only were her attempts to secure a leadership position within the House GOP were solidly rebuffed, she was denied a desired seat on the Ways and Means Committee, to be placed on the Intelligence Committee.  Now in principle the Intelligence Committee is prestigious, but it’s also a committee that by nature of its work is often out of the limelight – something troublesome for Bachmann who follows TV cameras like a moth to flame.

Rep. Keith Ellison had this to say about Michele Bachmann’s possible candidacy:

I think it would be great for her to run for president. I think she has strongly-held views which she should test on the whole of the United States – see how her views are received across the country, not just in the comfort of the 6th District.

It certainly could be educational:

I think her views would not match up with the mainstream of American society, but I do encourage her to try it, I think it would be a very good thing for her to get out there  – and maybe she should resign from office now so she can devote all her time to her presidential run.

Educational indeed, this has potential for some great political theater.  Please Michele….please GOP.

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Couldn’t happen to a nicer whack job

It appears that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is worked himself into a frothy mixture over what’s being described as a “Google” problem.

Mother Jones elaborates:

Rick Santorum would very much like to be president. For the past few years, he has been diligently appearing at the sorts of conservative events—the Values Voters Summit, the Conservative Political Action Conference—where aspiring Republican candidates are expected to show up. But before he starts printing “Santorum 2012” bumper stickers, there’s one issue the former GOP senator and his strategists need to address. You see, Santorum has what you might call a Google problem. For voters who decide to look him up online, one of the top three search results is usually the site SpreadingSantorum.com, which explains that Santorum’s last name is a sexual neologism for “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Santorum’s problem got its start back in 2003, when the then-senator from Pennsylvania compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, saying the “definition of marriage” has never included “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.” The ensuing controversy prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who’s gay, to start a contest, soliciting reader suggestions for slang terms to “memorialize the scandal.” The winner came up with the “frothy mixture” idea, Savage launched a website, and a meme was born. Even though mainstream news outlets would never link to it, Savage’s site rose in the Google rankings, thanks in part to bloggers who posted Santorum-related news on the site or linked to it from their blogs. Eventually it eclipsed Santorum’s own campaign site in search results; some observers even suggested it may have contributed to Santorum’s crushing 18-point defeat in his 2006 campaign against Bob Casey.

Yep, I recall it well, as well as the hundreds of times I’ve linked Santorum‘s name to Savage’s site myself.  And encouraged others to do so.  Savage hasn’t updated the site in years, but I’m sure he’ll become much more active if little Ricky throws his hat in the ring.

Multiple Choice Mitt still drawing ire on the right

It seems the wingnut caucus isn’t fond of his criticisms of Palin.

Recently, an influential conservative blogger (name withheld) outlined for me the reasons why the Romney 2008 campaign faltered.  One factor was the ”go nuclear” approach the campaign took with the competing GOP candidates.  The Romney campaign angered supporters of the other candidates to such a degree that their second choice for nominee was, “anyone but Romney”.

I had expected that the CEO of the SLC Olympics had learned from the mistakes of his campaign, but history seems to be repeating itself.  Romney has never ceased his campaign for President of the United States and although he has campaigned hard for John McCain, it appears as if this display of teamwork has been entirely for self-promoting reasons.  Romney and his supporters are now targeting their only serious 2012 challenger, Governor Sarah Palin.