For months now MSNBC has concentrated most of its time on following the Republican Party's raucous campaign to choose a presidential candidate, turning the whole scene into low-camp comedy. Well, that isn't hard to do, seeing the hole that the GOP has dug itself into.
The problem started back in the late 1960s, when America's Religious-Right entrenched reactionaries finally decided -- a century after that fact -- that although Lincoln (who had defeated the Confederacy and freed the slaves) was a Republican, the Democrat party was no longer a comfortable home for troglodytes like themselves. So they moved en masse to the Republican Party, where they renamed themselves NeoCons. The GOP made the mistake of welcoming them, in order to win elections, and it's been saddled with them ever since.
Now surely the Republican National Committee knows very well that it can never give the NeoCons what they want. The majority of Americans simply will not put up with sending our society back 150 years. They won't tolerate turning women back into second-class citizens and Blacks into third-class, nor imprisoning Gays, nor completely banning abortion, nor allowing unlimited pollution of the environment, nor making the Baptist Church the official religion of the US and preaching the word of Jesus in every public place. It simply won't happen, no matter how much the NeoCons lust for it.
Nonetheless, the GOP has to make some efforts to placate the NeoCons in order to keep their votes. This explains the string of bizarre candidates the GOP has put up in the last several months. It started with Michelle Bachmann, easily the furthest-out Religious-Right nut holding major public office. Before she was thoroughly shot down, it allowed in the incredibly self-propelled Donald Trump. Before Trump was out of the picture, it brought in Herman Cain: suitably right-wing, but daringly Black. Before Cain went down, it brought in Newt Gingrich -- medium-right-wing -- along with Perry and Santorum. Last, it brought up the possibly electable Mitt Romney. Has anybody else noticed the progression in this? The GOP deliberately moved from far-out right-wing to moderate, letting the NeoCons have their time in the sun and exhaust their passion, before finally trotting out the candidate it had been planning to run all along.
Why Romney? Because, like Obama, he's a weathervane. His career has shown that he'll shift with whatever wind blows, faithfully follow instructions from the party's elite, and otherwise not make waves. In short, he's a party hack: just what the RNC wants.
Of course, what's thrown a monkey-wrench into the game is Ron Paul. Paul, in his polite way, is the real revolutionary in the pack. Purely a populist candidate, Paul has raised his campaign money almost entirely from public appeals on the Internet. Carefully blacked out by the media, both Liberal and Conservative, Paul has advertised his campaign -- again -- almost entirely on the Internet. His radical back-to-the-Constitution, reduce-government, Libertarian message appeals to a broad spectrum of voters: disgruntled ex-Democrats, non-NeoCon Republicans, the undecided young and the growing number of Independents. (Note: here in Arizona, a recent poll showed that one-third of the voters consider themselves Republican, one-third Democrat, and at least one-third call themnselves Independents. It's a mistake to consider this a "Red" state.)
When Paul came in third in the Iowa primary, the news media were obliged to notice him. Political pundits/manipulators, caught by surprise, scrambled to find some dirt they could throw at him, and could come up with nothing better than his being one of the editors, 20 years ago, of a newsletter which occasionally published letters by nuts. When he came in second to Romney in New Hampshire, they tried harder -- hammering on his so-called "isolationism", supposed "anti-Israel" stance (even trying to stretch that to "anti-semitism"), and trying for "racism". Since all of these are easily disproved by looking at his position statements on his own website, or following his actual speeches over the past ten years, they haven't worked very well. The one theme they keep falling back on is "he's un-electable, he can't win", which clearly isn't the case.
Ron Paul is the wild card in the deck, who upsets political business-as-usual. This is what frightens the RNC, the DNC and the media so badly -- and it's what appeals to the public at large. I think I can safely predict that, if Paul comes in first in the South Carolina primary, the political establishment will try everything -- from outright lying to blackmail to even assassination attempts -- to stop him.
If they don't stop him, I predict that Ron Paul will beat Obama in the 2012 election -- unless the Democrats pull off a truly massive election fraud.
For just that reason, I'm hereby appealing to everybody who's dissatisfied with politics-as-usual to volunteer to be poll-watchers, ballot-counters, and every other job that can possibly prevent vote-fraud. The 2012 election is going to be not just interesting but downright fascinating.