Republicans: We need to talk.
I know you and I don't see eye to eye on many things. We hang out with different crowds, we listen to different music, we have different interpretations of pretty much every event that has ever happened from the Big Bang onwards—but I'm worried about you. We, the whole of non-Republican America, are worried about you. Heck, I even know people in other countries that are worried about you.
You can be forgiven for Sarah Palin. I know that was mostly McCain's fault, and you didn't have a lot of say in that. His staff looked around for someone who they thought could better appeal to the base, and that's who they came up with. You should have been insulted by that, but I'll at least grant that it wasn't your decision to make, it was his.
But that was 2008, and this is 2012. And the decisions you've been making this time around are entirely up to you, and, well ... let's just say that most of the rest of us are pretty disappointed in you right now.
Your first serious non-Palin flirtation of this election cycle was with Michele Bachmann. Really? You could choose from among the ranks of the entire conservative movement, and you said "yeah, Michele Bachmann, I guess." I don't mean to be cruel, but that's when most of us realized that this little ideological obsession of yours had turned into a full-fledged, self-destructive addiction. You'd gone and cracked, right then and there. I realize that you have to work with the candidates that present themselves, and not the ones you'd actually choose on your own, but Michele Bachmann was already known far and wide as, well, a crazy person. She's Palin, after Palin drank an entire bottle of whiskey and drove her car into the side of a DMV office. She doesn't have political beliefs so much as she has spasms; everything she disagrees with is elevated to the level of America-killing communist apocalypse. There's no volume control on that knob. Her sole area of expertise is in the area of hand-waving panic over things she knows nothing about: Ask her for the barest details and she's dumb as a post.
So fine, that was the first one. First loves are often not well-planned things, though; there's some leeway there. Let's look at the rest of your candidates.
No, let's just pause there for a moment. Rick. Effing. Perry.
You're pulling our legs, right?
Let's all remember that it was your punditry, your own establishment figures, that pushed hard to get Rick Perry in the race. This wasn't a case of a candidate foisting themselves upon you, this is a guy you actually picked to represent conservatism. Holy Freaking Hell, Republicans, what is that about? Let's look at the attributes he brings to the campaign trail. First: dumb as a post. I know I just said that about Bachmann, but Perry forced us all to reconsider that, because compared to Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann looks like the freaking Einstein of conservatism. You know, if you folks believed in atoms and such. If Bachmann is as dumb as a post, then Rick Perry is as dumb as the dirt you dug out of the ground to make the hole to put the post in. He has an I.Q. 10 points lower than composted leaves. We're talking about a guy whose convictions run so very deep that, on a good day, he's lucky if he even remembers what they are.
Oh yeah, I'm going there. I don't care how bad a debater you are, if you say that as president the first thing you'll do is abolish these three federal agencies that are wrecking the country, but you can't actually remember what the hell they are, you are stone-cold stupid.
Which brings up the second possibility: That if you can't remember these three things you earnestly believe in, perhaps you don't actually believe anything at all, and are just saying whatever your handlers told you to say. I have to admit, that might make for a better representative of conservatism: It worked out just fine for George W. Bush. Bush never cared about a damn thing, he just left everything to Cheney, or Rumsfeld, or Rove. Economy? Yeah, whatever. War with who? Sure, let's go for it. Freedomz and stuff.
Make no mistake here, I haven't ever forgiven you for Bush. Listening to that dimwit speak for five minutes should have convinced you what a mistake it would be to let that barely functioning manchild play with the entire free world like it was his personal Jenga game, and his first few public appearances were when you and I parted ways for-freaking-ever. But Perry, now? Rick Perry, who is the dumber version of George Bush? The less principled version? The less eloquent version? If that's who your leading pundits wanted in the race, if that's the be-all, end-all conservative savior (emphasis on the end-all, I guess), then who is it going to be after eight more years? A goddamn vase full of geraniums?
It makes you look bad. It makes you look dumb. It makes you look like, well, like a party so thoroughly detached from their mental capacities that they would actually look up to a guy like Rick Perry as being their brain trust.