I am bereft.
No more debates, polls, rallies, speeches, commercials, interviews, reports, documentaries, photo-calls, in-depth articles, out-of-their-depth articles, profile pieces, diary pieces, speculative pieces, twitter-spats, commentators and talking heads.
But oh man, what a year. Every moment of the Republican nomination battle and the ensuing election campaign has been an education into a political process so utterly baffling that trying to understand it must be how teenage boys feel when faced with a diagram of the female sexual organs.
Picking my favourite moment from the past year would be like asking a nun to choose her best outfit. There are however a few candidates:
Women. The utter dogshit of a mess the GOP got themselves into with their ludicrous, unnecessary and fundamentally dangerous ‘war on women’: omitting contraception from health care insurance, the introduction of vaginal probes, the offensive labelling of women as ‘sluts’, the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the idiot senate candidates with their pro-life ‘legitimate rape, fakey rape’ arguments.
That the GOP leadership mewed pathetically at the worst offenders instead of censuring them appropriately underlined the vulnerability that political parties in the U.S. face where the concept of collective responsibility (and the sanctions that come with it) does not exist. It was also a major distraction from what the GOP really wanted to talk about: the economy.
The Republican strategy to win the female vote culminated in Ann Romney declaring “I love you, wimminn!” at the Republican National Convention, an embarrassing contrast with Michelle Obama’s statement at the Dem Convention that “women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care“. It was the Women’s Institute versus Mumsnet. In the election, unmarried women voted two-to-one for Obama. In other words, get your politics out of my pants, Mittens.
The Republican Candidates. The ‘Wait, What ..?’ Group Award goes to Newt, Rick, Ron, Mitt, Jon, Rick, Michele and Herman who took part in the political version of a talent contest but with no talent.
The Republican debates – twenty of them over ten long months – sparkled with the kind of crazy you have to pay extra for at a crazy convention. Rick Santorum proved the most fun/terrifying with his belief that radical Islamists are rampaging through Central America and his accusation that Obama has waged a war on religion so vicious that it will inevitably lead to a French Revolution-style manning of the tumbrels. Rick Perry impressed me talking about the “lavatories of innovation”. These are of course in the same bathroom as the sinks of invention and the bidets of advancement.
Newt Gingrich, though, holds a special place in my heart for suggesting that America should apply the Pope John Paul II template of foreign policy to both Iran and North Korea. I might be going out on a limb here but I’m not sure kissing tarmac is going to swing it. I’m not even sure North Korea has tarmac.
The balls-aching lunacy of all the candidates meant voters sensibly went for Mitt, the lesser of the crazies, but the fierce competition over so many months did lasting damage to the GOP, turning it into an object of media derision and forcing Mitt from his hitherto moderate position to one of severe conservatism, draining the party of more sensible support.
The Vice-Presidents. Paul Ryan was supposed to be Robin to Mitt’s Batman, the glowing future of the GOP who would get America excited about a Romney administration. The intriguing combination of nerd plus hunter (Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, taught his nine-year-old daughter how to shoot a .243 light-caliber Remington 700 bolt-action hunting rifle) got the GOP all sweaty-palmed until they realised that this would not result in the long-term bounce in the polls they had hoped for. Ryan sank faster than a dog in a vat of kibble. Personally I think Ryan was squashed by Mitt’s advisors at the first sign of an opinion. To make matters worse, he was then bitch-slapped in the VP debate by Laughing Joe Biden, who made up for Obama’s poor first debate with a combative and assured performance.
Clinton. Like a magnificent master plasterer, he filled in the cracks with style. Enough said.
David Axelrod’s mustache. Obama’s wingman Axe announced that if Obama failed to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota, he would shave off his mustache of forty years. The American Mustache Institute was outraged, stating “It’s incredibly irresponsible for Axelrod to be playing games with such an exceptionally powerful mustache”. According to the Institute, Axelrod’s mustache is a ‘chevron’, a style typically favored by law enforcement.
And then there’s Mitt’s disastrous European tour; his dismissal of 47 per cent of the population; the death sentence doled out to Big Bird on live television; Joe Biden and every photo-call he’s ever done .. I could go on, but I fear you would get bored and I would become rather maudlin.
Unlike the winner.
And what of the loser? He is a mug in a store on sale for $1.
Politics is brutal.