All around me I hear nothing about this presidential primary campaign but those onomatopoeic grr words. You know the ones… grimacing, grinding, griping, grouching, grousing, grudging, grumbling, grumping. Romney’s chauffeur is parking the Cadillac too conspicuously and Gingrich’s bellhop is collapsing under the weight of his baggage and Santorum’s priest is tripping over his cassock and Paul’s wizard is suffocating under his hood. No one is any good and you don’t need a crystal ball to see Obama’s Inaugural Ball.
But to be honest, I am having the time of my life. Perhaps foolishly, I have stopped keeping score of the hassling and the tussling between the guys. Whoever wins will have my vote unless his name is Paul, on his road to non-intervention in Damascus, in which case my anti-anti-Semitism will prevail over my anti-anti-Constitutionalism. I can sleep at night with either Romney or Gingrich or Santorum as President, with the added bonus that Romney may put me to sleep by day as well.
My overall sense remains one of exultation. These candidates may or may not defeat Obama, but two of them, Gingrich and Santorum, have accomplished a far more significant victory, one which may hold greater ramifications. Between them they are dismantling, piece by brittle piece, the structure of political correctness that has stifled our debate in this society for decades. For the first time, we have politicians who can gab without first kissing the Blarney Stone.
Gingrich got the ball rolling, to be sure. He was the one to call the Palestinians an invented people. That bit of truth had not made an appearance in polite company since the last time Muhammad chuckled at a cartoon. Governor Perry, a lovely guy who remembers the Alamo a little too well, weighed in with the insight that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Sadly he backed off under pressure and he was forced to ride off into the sunset.
Since then, no one is retreating and cultural territory is being conquered, 40 acres at a time, by this newfound mulishness. Rick Santorum said casually in a debate that Global Warming is a hoax, yet the earth was not scorched in retaliation. Compare that with Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate being asked if she believed in man-made global warming. She was forced to acquiesce through gritted teeth; at the time I believed that we were a people beyond redemption, too determined to squelch the truth that is the only avenue of redemption.
Then Gingrich said that teenagers could do janitorial work to make a few bucks and learn how to function as an employee. The usual suspects rolled out the tried-and-true techniques of portraying this as an affront to education, a rollback of child-labor laws, an expression of disrespect for young students and a coded racist reference to the notion that all minorities should serve as domestics. After they blew all that smoke at him, polls showed that people thought he had a point.
Santorum showed up next arguing that views informed by religion are entitled to take their place in the public square. Despite efforts by both liberals and conservatives to mock him, he had the gumption to stand behind his words, publicly sneering at the speech given by the apotheosized President Kennedy on the subject. Perhaps if a later President finds a ghost-writer to prepare a sequel to Profiles in Courage, he might consider including this foray. A bit quixotic, to be sure, but Santo won’t pander.
Suddenly every bit of nonsense hailed as inviolable, every will o’ the wisp portrayed as the aurora borealis of enlightenment, every bit of receivable wisdom we have been paying for through the nose, is now negotiable. Rush Limbaugh even took it a step further by scoffing at the shopworn orthodoxy that sleaze should be subsidized under the guise of women’s health.
This is a very liberating process. Come what may, the landscape has been altered. The toothpaste is out of the tube, the genie is out of the bottle and the mainstream media is out of the driver’s seat. We can finally tell it like it is and once we can do that, it may be possible to eventually change what the meaning of is is.
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