Once upon a time -- and that was not so long ago -- former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would have been considered the Republican Party’s perfect presidential candidate.
Tall and handsome, making him telegenic, wealthy, bright, accomplished, Romney is a fine family man still married to his high school sweetheart after 42 years, the father of five and now a grandpa with a coterie of cute grandchildren to exploit.
Politically, Romney offers something for everyone. As a moderate Conservative, he appears reasoned rather than dogmatic, and appeals to a wide swath of voters. But that was once upon a time, and that seems, oh, so, long ago before two extremes took over the Republican Party: The Christian Right and the even further to the right the off-the-charts Tea Party/Libertarian Bowel Movement of a party now controlling the GOP.
The Grand Old Party is no longer grand; it is dysfunctional. Worse, it is OLD. It operates in its own world, one that denies that the social revolutions of the Sixties ever occurred but rues the day that they did. Once the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower -- the party of grand ideas -- the GOP has become the party of only one idea: reduce the size of the Federal Government. It is the party of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Tim Pawlenty -- a vice president, by the way, if ever there was one --- and the appalling Paul duo, Ron and Rand.
Ron Paul advocates eliminating all foreign aid, Gingrich is a self-serving serial philanderer. Palin and Bachman share more than their gender identification: They both play to the lowest common denominator preying on the beleaguered masses, spewing their brand of Conservatism that takes the best of Republicanism and turns it into a weapon to control the downtrodden. In the 2012 race for the Republican nomination, we have the class of the 1.800.GOP.BABES, 1.800.GET.A.BABE, 1.800.SAYNO2GOVERNMENT,1.800...well, you get the idea.
Which takes me back to the candidacy of Mitt Romney and of any other moderate Republican who might choose to run for the party's nomination: I FEEL YOUR PAIN! Your own party has placed you in an untenable situation. In order to get your party's nomination, you have to play to the whack-a-doodle base that votes in your primaries. But to win the general election, you have to appeal to the thoughtful and reasoned. Good luck with that.
Last week, I derided Mitt Romney for being a poor panderer. I made the observation that he is too obvious in his pandering. "Maybe if this guy would just take a course in sincerity he might get somewhere. Somebody out there, help this guy, puleeze," I pleaded.
And then I thought about what I had said. I thought that maybe the fact that Romney is a lousy panderer is actually a good thing, a reflection of the decent character that is in fact the man. Maybe he's another George Washington: He cannot tell a lie.
Alas, once upon a time and not so long ago that thought wouldn’t have seemed so farfetched. It might have been considered a grand old idea… once upon a time oh-so-painfully-long ago when running for the presidency wasn’t a business but a calling of decent men.
Halli Casser-Jayne is the author of A YEAR IN MY PAJAMAS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA, The Politics of Strange Bedfellows and the co-host of A PINT OF PLAIN AND POLITICS on Blog Talk Radio. Her novel, SCOUT FINCH'S DIARY is about to be published. You can read more of her musings @ The CJ Political Report dot com.