OMG that's the cream of the Republican crop?

A God-quoting, science doubting, swaggering former Governor from Texas for President...what could possibly go wrong? 

Every now and then it must be quite within the bounds of being a grown up to scream from the roof-tops, “OMG”. Wednesday night in North America was one such occasion. Lashings of OMG needed to be targeted directly at that line-up of suits pretending to be capable of being the next President of the United States.

It was of course the first of the Republican candidates’ major contender parades during which they are supposed to rip apart their fellow party members for the good of the party.

Democrats did it in spades before Obama triumphed.

Now it is back on the Republican’s agenda and overhyped because they are the challengers.  But even with Obama in the doldrums and being outsmarted by his Congressional  ‘frenemies’, the barrel scrapings posing as talent to take the helm of the Republican Party are neither convincing nor possible to take seriously.

As with all contemporary political debates it is obligatory to pick the winner. The prize goes of course to the unflappable and perfectly salt and peppered former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. But really a win from amidst that lot is hardly worth bragging about, and he doesn’t exactly set the world alight with his robotic unease in trying to twist his relatively liberal policies as Governor into cold, hard, no-frills, anti-Obama, tea-party-pleasing options that today’s Republican is apparently crying out for.

The ‘debate’ – and the term does have to be used advisedly – was actually a strangely wooden sparring match between the two current front-runners Romney and tea party dreamboat executioner-in-chief Texas Governor Rick Perry. Not even NBC hosting the debate was going to be bothered with the others, and so positioned Romney and Perry centre-stage where they hogged the limelight and the bulk of the ‘questions’ leaving Bachmann & co. to bitch about never being asked anything and so when they did get the talkie-stick, they delivered their own little pre-prepared agendas. To hell with the debate.

That Perry – a newbie on the national stage – did not completely blow his debut was admirable in an aim-low-and-don’t-get-disappointed way. But again, hardly stirring stuff.

That someone with his views can actually get to the point of being considered one of the front-runners as the Republican nominee is, well, downright scary. A God-quoting former Texan governor as President – what could possibly go wrong?

Let’s take Perry on climate change as an example. According to the good Governor whose state is on fire while the rest of his country is flooding, the science of climate change has not been proven and there is no way he will risk America’s economic future on unproven science.

Just to back up his case he dragged in poor old Galileo because he couldn’t even answer the question about which scientist he had most faith in. Reminiscent of the “gotcha” question to Sarah Palin about what papers she reads.

Perry’s insight which he so generously shared with all was that Galileo was outnumbered in his beliefs for awhile – actually he said for “a spell” but that’s also scary. As far as he is concerned just because some scientists believe something that doesn’t mean it is a sure thing.


That’s right...Galileo’s little tiff with the religious ideologues of 17th Century Rome over the Copernican conception of the world is a reason to not trust the majority of scientists in 21st Century.

Perhaps there is a message here in science confronting faith-based ideologies such as those of the Rick Perrys of this world, but it seems to me Perry was arguing in the opposite direction he intended. Given that Galileo was right – like the majority of scientists today – it is unlikely he will be hauled out again as a Perryesque credibility prop.

This will go in the Texan’s mounting grab bag of gaffs alongside the supposedly “treasonous” behaviour of US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke.

Perry’s other big moment was his one-liner that social security is a Ponzi scheme and that Obama has lied about its sustainability. Good short quotable shot, but it was left hanging in the air with absolutely no suggestion of what Perry would do to make social security work. That’s because he wants to abolish it in the tea-party driven obsession with getting rid of government.

This fails to take account of the millions of older Republican voters who are quite attached to their social security thank-you, so keep your big, fat Texan hands off it.

That Perry can run a Republican campaign in the overwhelmingly Republican state of Texas is in no doubt. He’s proven it, and even the fact that he was a former Al Gore supporter didn’t seem to harm him.

However Perry running a federal campaign is just not viable, although it would be compelling viewing in a train-wreck sort of way.

The debate did at least eliminate one sure train-wreck in the form of Michele Bachmann. Not even a month ago she was the Iowa Straw Poll darling, elevated to top place within the party’s ranking of candidates. Now she’s yesterday’s gal, and was all but invisible in the debate.

Betcha Sarah Palin was glued to her telly while this band of mediocrity graced the stage of the Ronald Reagan Library. She’s been busy hinting for weeks, in that nudge-nudge-winky-winky sorta way that there’s room for more in the Republican race.

Perhaps she’s been misreading her children’s rhymes.

When the little one says” move over, move over”, they all move over but only one falls out.

Sarah Palin needs them to all fall out so she can be crowned. Otherwise she will never risk her millions and her talk-show jobs to be on the floor as second time loser, especially to the perfectly coiffed Mr Romney.