We are less than a month away from actual humans beginning to vote to determine the nominee of the Republican Party. Since two weeks of the intervening period have been written off by the pundits because of Christmas, the time for furious ads and idiotic comments is upon us. It is likely that if the Iowa caucuses do not start the winnowing process, the New Hampshire primary surely will. In greatest jeopardy are Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman.
Perry’s current ad (from Andrew Sullivan’s site) is a measure of the desperation his camp must be experiencing. While it is not surprising that his view of Christianity is a significant part of his political persona, he jumps into the red meat areas of allowing gays to serve openly in the military, and our children not being allowed to celebrate Christmas or pray in school. Who is to blame for these crises? Barack Obama and his “war on religion.” Now, I give Obama credit for changing the policy that permits gays and lesbians who are putting their lives on the line for our country to serve “openly.” But a “war on religion?” What is he talking about? And, by the way, the barn coat may have worked for Scott Brown in Massachusetts, but come on — is that the best he can do?
Rick Santorum’s latest is not as offensive as Perry’s ad, but it is not his brightest moment in the sun. He actually criticizes Obama for revealing that Osama bin Laden was killed because it deprived our intelligence agencies from acquiring further data. Let’s see. You pilot several helicopters into a foreign country without their knowledge and approval, blow up a bunch of stuff and kill some people, including one of the world’s most recognizable and famed persons. Should be able to keep that one quiet.
Then there is Mitt Romney’s latest ad (also from Andrew Sullivan), in which he celebrates his “constancy.” Seems like an unlikely topic for a person who has two widely recognized characteristics. One, of course, is his — let’s say — flexibility on numerous public issues including some of the most hotly contested ones in our country. The other is his family and religion, neither one of which he has changed (excepting adding another adorable son) during his lifetime. One would think that is not noteworthy since the closest thing to a scandal in his career was strapping the family dog to the roof of a car (as Gail Collins would phrase it) for a family trip to Canada. In case you missed the not-so-subtle implication, one of his opponents is a thrice-married serial adulterer who not only changed wives but religions.
And we have four weeks to go.