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Rick Santorum took the two old Confederate states, Alabama and Mississippi, last night. But not by much. Santorum won Alabama by 34.5% to Gingrich's 29.3% and Romney's 29%. In Mississippi it was Santorum at 32.9%, Gingrich at 31.3%, Romney at 30.3%.
See a clear cut favorite in any of that data? I don't. When three GOP candidates split the primary vote in the South almost equally 1/3, 1/3, 1/3....among three mediocre candidates....it's no wonder that the bow-tied, dweebish, George Will has all but given up on Republicans taking back the White House this November.
Will, writing about GOP frontrunners, Romney and Santorum.....
Both are conservatives, although of strikingly different stripes. Neither, however, seems likely to be elected. Neither has demonstrated, or seems likely to develop, an aptitude for energizing a national coalition that translates into 270 electoral votes.
Mitt Romney still has a sizable delegate lead over Rick Santorum, but Mitt still has a long way to go before he can reach the magic number needed to win the GOP nomination. I'm thinking that likely voters in November, including Republican voters, are getting increasingly bored with the primary Drag-a-thon. Consistently, primary turnouts have been less than anticipated....this, in spite of the thousands of times conservative-leaning corporate media have told us how very, very enthused and excited conservative voters are this year.
Maybe they are sensing what George Will is sensing....defeat.....and so, are just staying home. Don't rightly know.
To explain what I think is happening in the GOP Drag-a-thon, I'm reminded of how losing football teams sometimes behave. In my youth, I witnessed first hand how some football teams behave themselves towards the end of a game in which those teams are losing badly. The losing players begin to fight amongst themselves....seeking to pin blame on this or that player on their team for the overwhelming butt kicking they are getting.
That's what I think is happening to the GOP team this year. Romney and Gingrich have been sniping, daily, at Mitt Romney. Romney attacks Santorum on a daily basis. Many establishment Republicans have mourned this divisive display in their primaries.....yet, it continues each week, and may continue that way until at least June....perhaps August.
But, why is this divisive in-fighting really going on?
Conservative/Republican voters are not united in objective or purpose....other than in their bitter, hatred of Obama.
Half of the GOP electorate would revise public school textbooks to remove references to progressive and liberal leaders and/or policies that have enriched the United States. Half of the GOP electorate would teach creationism alongside of evolution. Half of conservative voters would end a woman's right to choose her own reproductive destiny.....including shuttering Planned Parenthood and making contraception much more difficult to obtain. Half of Republican voters would end most, if not all, unions in the country, and work to lower U.S. worker's hourly wage rates everywhere.
Half of GOP voters want prayer brought back into public schools. About half of all GOP voters would favor an oil drilling rig, or strip mining operation, on each and every parcel of publicly-owned land. Half of GOP voters would end all federal or state assistance to poor citizens.....reserving any government help for only the disabled. Half of Republican voters favor ending all affirmative action efforts, basically declaring that the only racism left in America is racism against majority whites.
The other half of Republican voters are embarrassed by their more, let's say, imaginative regressive brethren. This half of the Republican electorate only has one goal in mind. Make America's rich...richer. This half of the GOP would lower taxes further on the already wildly rich while stripping the non-rich of a portion of their promised Medicare and Social Security. This second half of the GOP electorate favors deep deregulation of our country's largest corporations, an end to the estate tax on the wildly rich, tax amnesty for "repatriated" corporate profits made in foreign countries, and as big of a reduction on corporate tax rates as they can force through.
Yes, there is crossover between these two halves of the GOP electorate, but I think the outlines are relatively accurate. One half of the GOP would take us backwards socially and culturally.....closer to where the Iranian ayatollahs have taken their populations than where Jefferson imagined our constitutional framework would take America. The other half of the GOP would continue the destructiveness of supply-side and deregulatory economics in order to push even more profits and share-of-national-income into the hands of the very few.
One half of the GOP electorate does not regard Mitt Romney as backward-thinking enough. Too moderate, too liberal....too willing to compromise with commies in the Congress.....and not mean-spirited enough to lambast that Muslim-Kenyan-anti-colonialist guy with sufficient passionate hate. The other half of the GOP voting-base is fearful that the 1% will be fatally threatened if the yahoo-element of their party's base insists on selecting a losing nominee from the cultural and social neanderthals.
The political fight so far this year hasn't been between conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. It has been between players on the same Republican team who realize they are losing the national electorate's support....and are squabbling and bickering amongst themselves.
And that's why George Will's bow-tie is in a bunch.