No end in sight for the GOP’s holiday-from-reality primaries
Please, someone: make it stop!
There was a brief window of hope a couple of days ago that Mitt Romney’s victories in Tuesday’s “Super” set of primaries would be potent enough to sweep the field of his rivals and allow him, finally, to don that front-runner mantle he has been lunging for all season. But as the dust clears from tonight’s mixed bag of primary results — including a late-night squeaker of an Ohio win for Romney — it’s apparent that his campaign still has a long run ahead of it.
That’s reason for green-minded people to add their own laments to the wails of Romney’s ardent supporters. No, there’s little reason to believe Romney’s a closet climate hawk. But his latest failure to close the deal with his own party does mean that we’re going to spend another few months arguing about God and contraceptives instead of talking about how to fix the big fails in our future.
On some level, of course, progressives and environmentalists can’t help taking some satisfaction in the Republican Party’s internecine bloodletting. The joke always used to be that Democratic primaries were circular firing squads, whereas the disciplined GOP obeyed Maximum Leader Reagan’s “eleventh commandment” not to attack one another.
Forgive them, Ronald, for this year, they have sinned a whole lot.
But schadenfreude only gets you so far. While the Republican race hogs the headlines and eats up the news cycles, it’s not as though the real problems facing our next president, whoever it is, are politely pausing in their tracks.
The national debates we need to hold won’t wait. How do we accomplish the shift away from fossil fuels that we’ve known we’re going to have to make at least since the 1970s? How do we build an economy that isn’t stuck in the boom-bust cycle of an unsustainable perpetual-growth machine? How do we agree on a set of basic services worth supporting with our taxes, and how do we make sure those taxes are shared more fairly?
The Republican candidates won’t discuss these issues on their own as long as they’re still competing for the favor of their party’s radicals. It’s high time this silly season of deficit-inflating tax cuts, Iran-nuke scare-mongering and $2.50-a-gallon gasoline-price pandering draws to its close.
Each week that Romney fails to clinch his nomination is another week of wasted rhetoric and delayed reckoning. Despite their lack of enthusiasm for their front-runner, Republicans know deep down that he’s the only candidate they’ve got with even a remote shot at unseating President Obama. There isn’t going to be a late-entrant upset. There isn’t going to be a brokered convention. Sarah Palin is not going to descend from the proscenium on the back of a polar bear and rescue her adoring flock.
So come on, red America: Can’t we get on with it already?