Let’s Do The Political Timewarp Again

By Michael Newberger | gargoyle@flagler.edu

We’re in a heated primary in this country for the presidential nomination.

We’ve got a candidate that is inevitably going to be the party’s candidate despite little support from his actual party. He’s a completely white bread candidate from Massachusetts, is incredibly loaded and comes off awkwardly at campaign events. His main competition appeals to the common man, is quick to bring up his blue-collar roots, and has a serious passion for sweaters.

Wait, when the hell did it become 2004 again?

I’ve written about the craziness that has been the Republican primaries before, but I was hoping by this time everyone would have given up by now and just accepted that Mitt Romney was going to be the presidential candidate. Instead it’s slogged on even longer than expected with Romney having the support of the mainline Republicans while Santorum gains the support of the “Joe Six-Pack” and the religious right. Gingrich still continues to be angry at things on the sideline.

It may be simply because I started to really give a damn about politics during the 2004 election, but the Republican primaries of late have started more and more to resemble some kind of bizarro version of the build up to that fateful election.

This time instead of having an android-like Massachusetts rich guy running for the Democratic ticket we have one running for the Republican ticket. They share a staggering amount of similarities while seeming to be the complete opposite politically.

Both have a wonderful knack for not understanding the common man. The best example would be both of their attempts’ to connect to the average American male through that most common of conversation starters: sport.

Kerry’s stab at the sporting life that came back to haunt him was his apparent love for windsurfing, a sport that requires thousands of dollars of equipment (and judging by that wetsuit, an apparent lack of shame). In an attempt to appeal to the red-blooded segment of the Republican Party at the Daytona 500 recently, Mitt Romney was quick to bring up that while not much of a fan himself, he knew some great guys who owned some teams. Way to appeal to the working folks out there! I’m sure the NFL Owner’s Association are a bunch of stand-up guys too!

Another shared feature of the two is that of their inevitable victory within the party. You were hard-pressed outside of Boston to find an ardent Kerry supporter, and Romney doesn’t seem to be instilling too much passion either. As much as both the Republican Party and the media tried to find an alternative, it’s looking like its Mitt’s to win.

Lord knows the party hasn’t tried though. So far the challengers to the throne have been: a woman who confused John Wayne Gacy with John Wayne, a cowboy who knew he wanted to cut government but not exactly what parts, a disgraced Speaker of the House who wants to live on the moon, and an insane pizza man who quoted Pokémon on the campaign trail.

That’s where Romney’s competition comes in, Rick Santorum. While a few months ago he was only recognizable as “that guy who really, really does not like gay people” who seemed to be dedicated to going to every town in Iowa, he’s now the populist counter-point to the party-favored candidate. And just like Romney and Kerry share resemblances, Rick Santorum resembles some kind of mirror-world version of John Edwards in 2004.

Edwards was in the same position as Santorum is now: he seemed the more down-to-earth of the two, was quick to bring up his blue-collar roots, and was able to play his party’s version of populism. But looking at the details they resemble the alternate dimension versions of each other.

Edwards was quick to bring up the fact that his grandfather was a poor share cropper down south, Santorum’s a poor Pennsylvania coal miner.

Edwards played up Democrat style populism: economic support for the working class (despite his mansion). Santorum gets to the root of the Republican version of populist outrage: a return to good ol’ family and religious values that Americans have seem to have forgotten and are the worse off for it.

Edwards: a zip-up fleece to look folksy. Santorum: a sweater-vest.

Rick Santorum feels that sex is something that should be done only for pro-creation and is sacred. Edwards believed that sex was something to do with your campaign videographer when the wife wasn’t around.

While it’s doubtful that Romney and Santorum are going to join their forces into a not-so-beautiful relationship like Kerry-Edwards, it’s interesting to see how history somehow repeats itself. It seems that this insane reality television show we called the 2012 Republican Primary is finally about to crown it’s true survivor and I for one am going to miss the fireworks. I doubt the Challenger vs. President fight is going to be anywhere near as ridiculous as 2004 however, unless someone wants to give Dan Rather and Karl Rove a call.

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