Saturday, January 21, 2012

The South Carolina subheadlines: Colbert, Cain, Santorum and Paul

Jason Stanford:

Stephen Colbert might be funny, but his exploratory campaign is no joke. The point he’s been assiduously making on “The Colbert Report” is a smart bomb wrapped inside of an absurd conundrum. Simply put, there is no greater force for campaign finance these days than Colbert. By following the tortured laws and starting his own super PAC, Colbert has unleashed a prank that could embarrass the body politic into real change.

Stephen Colbert is the most talented improvisational comedian of his generation. Only one other person in my lifetime even comes close, and he never tried to stay in a single character 100% of the time. (Sasha Baron Cohen is a solid-finishing third and Pee Wee Herman comes in a fairly distant fourth, mostly because of his tragi-comic offstage altercations.)

... Colbert mocked the reductionist absurdity of the law that danced around limits to corporate influence in politics.

“It’s how much speech they can express, because money comes from speech. … Money equals speech,” said Colbert, who then challenged (ABC's George) Stephanopoulos: “Corporations are people. You won’t weigh in on whether some people are people? That seems kind of racist.”

Is any of this more absurd than Mitt Romney denying culpability for what his super PAC does because, as he claimed in Monday’s debate, he hasn’t talked to those guys in “months”? Or, for that matter, Romney’s contention that corporations are people?

Colbert's rally with fellow clown Herman Cain in Charleston yesterday was the purest poltical irony yet seen in modern times.

"If corporations are people, then I'm a people person. The Lockheed Martin Luther Burger King, if you will."

Chuck Todd sputtered that Colbert was 'making a mockery' of the political process. Dude: you obviously haven't been paying much attention to politics over the years. Google Pat Paulsen. This has been going on since before you were born. Todd did get one thing right, though...

While expressing admiration for how Colbert has exposed a lot of the idiocy involved with the marriage of politics and money, and saying he enjoys his show, Todd went after both Colbert and Jon Stewart for mocking members of the media, then backing off and saying “we’re just comedians” when the members of the media call them out on it. “Actually, no you’re not [comedians] anymore,” Todd said. “You are mocking what we’re doing, and you want a place in this, then you are also going to be held accountable for how you cover and how you do your job.”

Yeah, somebody has mentioned that before. Back to the Palmetto Bug State and the farce of actual Republican politicians.

With the race seemingly between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Republican rival Rick Santorum is bracing for a setback and looking ahead to the next contest: Florida. [...]

Romney and Gingrich were battling for the top spot in South Carolina and Santorum was looking to post an acceptable showing. During campaign stops on Friday, he cast himself as a Goldilocks candidate: just right when compared to Gingrich's "too hot" rhetoric and Romney's "too cold" personality.

Santorum also looked to disqualify the fourth candidate in the race, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Santorum said there were three candidates who could capture the GOP nomination and cast libertarian favorite Paul as a gadfly annoyance.

That might sting a little more if it came from a guy who remembered to pay the fee for his law license. I'm thinking that Santorum's parochial school taunts aren't having as much effect as he is praying for. Still, it's probably enough to burn the bridge between Mr. Frothy Mixture's camp and Dr. No's. Not that they ever had much in common anyway.

Ron Paul finished a strong third in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and a distant second to Romney in New Hampshire. Although he has not campaigned as much in South Carolina as he did in Iowa, he is likely to at least triple his South Carolina support from 2008 (which was 4%).

The Paul campaign has spent about $1.5 million on television advertising in South Carolina, including a spiffy spot that features a number of federal agencies going up in smoke. Beyond the Palmetto State, the campaign has signaled it will make only a modest effort in Florida because of the high cost of campaigning and because the state is unlikely to field a full slate of delegates. Florida defied Republican Party rules by moving its primary to Jan. 31; as punishment, the party has threatened to strip the state of some of its delegates.

Most observers say Paul is unlikely to get above the 20 percent mark in the upcoming primaries in Florida, Missouri, Arizona and Michigan but should do well in the upcoming caucus states of Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Maine. Paul’s fervent believers tend to turn out for caucuses, as they did in Iowa.

The sooner Ron Paul slides back over to the Libertarians, the more fun it will be for everybody. One last snip of brilliance:

“Ron Paul’s expected third-place finish is not that much of a surprise, as Newt Gingrich has now firmly established himself as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “What we have witnessed is less Ron Paul rising to third place and more Rick Santorum dropping to fourth place from the highs he received immediately following his success in Iowa.”

"What we have witnessed". Keep in mind that Rice University's Mark Jones is one of the most massive dumbasses who wears the title 'political scientist' ever. It's not that he gets everything wrong. He actually gets something right once in awhile (acorn/blind hog); it's that he gets paid tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of dollars for dreck like that.

People like Mark Jones are the ones making a mockery of the political process in this country. Him, and this guy:

Fox News ‘A-Team’ Psychologist: Being Married Three Times Could Make Gingrich A Better President

No excerpt. Go read it for yourself; just be prepared to piss yourself laughing.

Update: FTR, this is what 'political science' looks like.

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