The ol' Bloviator has been accused more than once of going to bed with the chickens, but truth be told, he frequently is already prone and dreaming that somehow Herschel Walker has regained his eligibility before most of the yard fowl have even started to yawn. This means that he is not exactly a regular viewer of "Saturday Night Live," a fact that is occasionally a source of regret, though less so right now than usual. After all, who needs SNL when the ongoing Republican presidential primaries present an epic, ongoing, comic reality so hilariously absurd in and of itself that it all but defies parody?
My favorite part of the whole process came way back when, apparently confusing the effects of Viagra with feelings of patriotism, Newton Leroy Gingrich sought to blame his intense love of country for his record of marital infidelities. In the interest of time and space, though, let's just pick up with the Iowa caucuses, where the object is to entice the most people to cram into Moose Lodges and school cafeterias across the state and cluster beneath a banner or placard bearing the candidate's name. Typically, the winner attracts fewer folks than are likely to turn up for a Vanderbilt home game, and in this year's Iowa follies, Mitt Romney was initially awarded the victory by virtue of scraping together a crew that was thought to exceed Rick Santorum's turnout by just eight more or less warm bodies. This was considered a strong showing by Santorum at the time, although sources told the OB that the thing might have been a dead heat at that point had Marge Kachinkis of Garden Grove (pop. 232) simply checked the expiration date on the Chicken -of-the-Sea can before serving her traditional pre-caucus tuna and noodles to her husband Herb and three other couples. This group's affinity for that nice young fellow from Pennsylvania was stronger than horseradish, but, alas, they were unable to have their heads counted and their stomachs pumped at the same time. Unfortunately, it seems, the OB's information was about as out of date as Marge's tuna. The real story now seems to revolve around a badly scorched tally sheet recently plucked from the ashes of the Sageville (pop. 289) Volunteer Fire Hall, which had burned to the ground just a few hours after the last thoroughly Caucasoid caucusers abandoned the premises. At any rate, according to the revised count (and much to the delight of Marge, Herb and their former friends), Mr. Santorum actually prevailed in Iowa with a veritable landslide plurality of thirty-four. In a bit of outrageous spin-meistering truly worthy of old Newt, Romney, who had hailed his earlier mis-proclaimed eight-person triumph in Iowa as a tremendous victory, was quick to declare his thirty-four-body shortfall "a virtual tie."
Romney had been leading in New Hampshire polls even before the initial Iowa miscount came in, but after his altogether foreseen triumph right in his own backyard, the pundit kingdom was nonetheless abuzz with talk that a victory in South Carolina, where he appeared to be leading by a fairly significant margin, would be practically tantamount to capturing the nomination. To say that the final few days of campaigning in South Carolina went horribly wrong for the Mittster is akin to saying that the Titanic encountered some misfortune on its maiden voyage. Not only was he stripped of his Iowa prize, but even as he waffled in the face of persistent badgering to disclose his personal finances, he succumbed briefly to an attack of what may yet prove to be terminal candor, letting it slip that his tax rate was typically in the 15 percent range (in other words, less than half that of his gardener's) because most of his income arose from investments whose proceeds were taxed as capital gains, save, of course, for "not very much," say $374,000 or so, that he earned in speaking fees. This incident immediately evoked the tin-eared Romney's offer back in Iowa to bet Rick Perry $10,000 on Americans' opinion on a healthcare issue. Needless to say, subsequent revelations that some of his investments might be sunning themselves in a cozy Cayman Islands tax shelter or two didn't do him a lot of good either. Still, as the January 21 balloting approached, the Republican aspirant who appeared to be in the hottest water was none other than old nine-lived Newt himself, for some thirty-six hours before the polls were to open, ABC was scheduled to run an interview with the second of Newt's jilted spouses, Marianne, whose revelations, it was said in hushed tones, held the potential to derail his roller coaster of a campaign in one swell foop. This was bad news indeed for Newt, who seemed to have found his "voice" at last, coyly deriding Barack Obama as "the food-stamp president" while pounding Romney as a born-on-third-base, preppy elitist, and generally making Romney's job-cutting spree at Bain Capital the bane of poor Mitt's existence. In fact, the online political oddsmaker "Intrade" showed Gingrich's prospects for victory in the Palmetto state soar from 6 percent on January 18 to 66 percent two days later. Still, Ms. G #2's revelation that America's horniest super-patriot had asked her for an "open marriage"--so as to continue his torrid trysta with Callista, the woman who is now Ms. G #3--would surely be the ruination of anyone seeking votes in a state that was home not only to rigidly fundamentalist Bob Jones University but to a whole bevy of other Bible-beating, fire-baptized, penniless holocaustals. Sound as it seemed, however, such thinking failed to take proper account of just how loathsome the prospect of Mitt Romney as the nominee apparently is to the great majority of South Carolina Repubs. Thus it was that our poor little rich guy fell from 35 percent support in a January 16 survey to 28 percent of the actual vote on January 21, while over the same span Newt-the-Outrageous jumped from 21 percent in the earlier poll to 40 percent at the actual polls. South Carolinians, it seemed, went for Newt's strategy of attacking the media for daring to report on his transgression. As to the transgression itself, it was expected that women voters in South Carolina would be especially put off by it, but in the true southern fashion, the actual gender gap in voting was negligible, as exit polls showed Gingrich with 38 percent of the female vote as opposed to 42 percent of the male vote. The best guess here is that many South Carolina women actually thought an "open marriage" was one in which they might be free to express an occasional opinion or two, and although their husbands found the idea a dubious one at best, they decided to humor the girls, knowing all the while that such a notion would never really catch on in their state. Speaking of open marriages, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, whose rumored history of surrendering to the temptations of the flesh herself has earned her the unflattering sotto voce sobriquet "Nookie" in some quarters, also took it on the chin after giving her heartiest endorsement to Mitt.
This lesson from the Palmetto State was not lost on the former governor of the sunshine State, Jeb Bush, who remains popular and apparently plans to stay that way by withholding an anticipated endorsement of Romney and declaring himself neutral. As the Florida fray beckons, the situation seems reminiscent of the sad tale of the little boy who was so ugly that his mama had to hang a pork chop around his neck to get the dogs to play with him. In this case, the question becoming clearer every day is whether Mitt Romney has enough money to buy himself the Republican nomination or perhaps even whether in fact there is enough money out there anywhere to buy it for him. On the other hand, it is certain enough that considerable cash is also being invested in trying to keep him off the ticket. Surely nothing in the whole silly business is more laughable in its hypocrisy than the preference of the evangelical Protestant right for a serial bed-hopper and sleazy, self-aggrandizing con artist recently and conveniently converted to Roman Catholicism over a tee-totaling, one-woman man who actually appears to practice what his faith preaches. Despite this obviously photo-shopped picture of him and his wife, Ann, Mitt Romney has declined thus far to reveal whether he wears the "temple garment'" otherwise known as Mormonism's "magic underwear."
Meanwhile, although reports that Newt actually ripped off the left side of this image seem to indicate that he has no interest whatsoever in what kind of drawers Mitt prefers, the fact that he keeps the right side in his wallet is, to say the least, a bit troubling to his handlers.
PS. This Just In! Cobbloviate's crack investigative team has just uncovered some suggestive evidence that the only issue on which Newt might be bipartisan is his decidedly non-Mormon preference in women's underdrawers.