The cheesecake Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary are finally over and, for the Republican Party, the time has finally come to determine where it stands among a more divided constituency. South Carolina will go a long way in answering that question as the first of the "Real Primaries." And no - I am not snubbing Iowa or New Hampshire - just pointing out that they are not the heart and soul of what is perceived to be Republican strength. Besides, Iowa's demographics hardly qualify them as being representative of the American population while New Hampshire's Liberal reputation has often taken itself outside the so-called Bible Belt Conservatism that the GOP has been associated with.
And guess what? South Carolina. at least in my mind, offers us all that Bible Belt perspective. So? Will the Palmetto State go along with the mainstream medias premature anointment that Mitt Romney's campaign is already a shoo-in for the Republican nomination? Hmm - I am not so sure about that. South Carolina has far more serious issues than Iowa and New Hampshire have, particularly when it comes to unemployment. Iowa has weathered the sour economy better than most while New Hampshire is below the National Average with their 5.8% unemployment rate. South Carolina, though, has been hard hit and is still hovering around 10%.
No wonder Newt Gingrich has taken off the gloves and started bombarding the South Carolina airwaves characterizing (and distorting) Mitt Romney as the evil vulture who swoops in and profits from saving distressed businesses by "liking to fire people." South Carolina will also answer, once and for all, if the Bible Belt Evangelists can finally accept a Mormon Candidate.
Yes folks, that is a a big deal whether people want to admit it or not, because Evangelists have long had issues with Mormons! Naturally, not only could that be a factor in Mitt Romney's so-called fast track to nomination, but also Jon Huntsman's campaign. Huntsman, though, probably has the hardest road given his true Moderate leanings. Let's face it, Southerners aren't usually open to compromise where their Conservative politics is concerned.
The candidate who might fare well could be the Libertarian, Ron Paul. Paul has been able to hang tough and has the money and organization to extend the campaign all the way to the end while racking up precious delegates along the way. Besides, Ron Paul's Campaign has been consistent in its' message.
Ron Paul is about preserving the U.S. Constitution while advocating the dismantling of a Federal Reserve System that, in his words, are diminishing the might of America and even going so far as equating our demise to that of the former Soviet Union. And contrary to popular belief, Ron Paul is NOT about diminishing Defense - rather he is about dismantling the Military Complex which profits exponentially while forcing the Federal Reserve to "print more money."
Of course, Ron Paul's message will not completely resonate with the Extreme Conservative Right because it's leaders are far too entrenched in the Military Complex while supporters can't put two and two together on the differences between a strong Defense and a money-sucking Military Complex designed to enrich ardent supporters (beneficiaries) within the GOP.
I for one am looking forward to how the South Carolina Primary shakes out the laundry. I have the sneaky suspicion that Mitt Romney's Campaign will be challenged, especially on how he has made his billions and his propensity to flip-flop on the issues. It may be all a perception, if you will, but a strong one just the same. The news video I saw shortly after Romney's New Hampshire win showed people who were interviewed in South Carolina saying things like "Romney isn't like us" or "Romney doesn't know I even exist." Now, I don't know how widespread that view is in the Palmetto State, but it does show what is on the minds of people there.
Sadly, Mitt Romney is part of the same old, same old when it comes to protecting the wealthy and can't be expected to look out for the regular everyday folks who associate themselves with the GOP. Then again, that has been the biggest issue within the GOP, hasn't it? On the one hand you have those who want to protect the status quo, and yes that includes the good ole boys like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and then you have Rick Santorum, who I don't think, is too far behind them when it comes to protecting the wealthy either. But one thing is clear, all of the candidates except for Ron Paul and maybe Jon Huntsman won't offer regular people much in terms of something new.
Speaking of Jon Huntsman; I have always thought he could be a good leader. His diplomatic background, as well as his Moderate leanings should be a plus for Republicans. Unfortunately, they just don't seem to like the man. I, for one, am disappointed that Huntsman won't be on the Illinois Primary Ballot as he surely would have gotten my vote. But hey, that 's me. But I won't apologize for my Moderate leanings because I believe that is exactly what this country needs right now. The divisiveness in Washington must end and politicians must realize that their empty gestures and stonewalling have put the country in a real bad way.
What America needs right now, more than anything, is a change in its political discourse. We also need the Republican Party to get back to it's roots and offer its constituents a clear alternative from where they are today. The GOP is thisclose to being irrelevant and if the people were smart, they would send a serious message by advocating for a a viable and populist third party. That would force both political parties to reevaluate a few things, you know?
In the meantime, Republicans and Democrats, whether you want to believe it or not, are far closer in principle these days than not.
They just want to protect a different set of wealthy beneficiaries!
Isn't that right Grover Norquist?
Hmmm....Maybe Ron Paul doesn't look all that bad right now.
Then again - not really!
Tags: 2012 GOP Presidential Primaries, Bible Belt, Bible Belt Conservatism, Federal Reserve, GOP, Grover Norquist, Jon Huntsman, Libertarians, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire, News and Opinion, Politics, Republican Party, Republicans, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Ron Paul Stays On Romney's Heels, South Carolina GOP Primary, South Carolina The Palmetto State, US Constitution