Welcome, 2012 — to a new season of political whirlwinds. We began the year to the tune of one Facebook update per milli-millisecond on Rick Santorum and — how shall we put this delicately? — his bold political statements. Well, WEEKEND wanted to share the love and bounty of the ruckus, and so we bring you the best that the GOP primaries have to offer: our favorite primary moments.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Republicans
// BY AARON GERTLER
My roommate founded Yale’s Ron Paul club, but struggled to get me on board. Until the last Iowa debate, the primary season felt like watching robots argue: endless repetition, little emotion, and occasional hilarious malfunctions (watch Rick Perry decide what federal agencies he wants to cut — is he truly flesh and blood?). I wasn’t taking any candidate seriously — but then Paul spoke, in reference to insurgents: “Don’t you think we would be annoyed if somebody bombed us for ten years?” This elegant statement sounded like nothing I’d heard from either party for far too long. The auditorium went silent on my roommate’s laptop, and I knew both of us were cheering on the inside. Maybe the voters were, too?
Fat chance. In the next two minutes, six other candidates and the bleeping moderator blasted Paul with soundbites and seemed inches from beating him to death with their metallic fists (DOES NOT COMPUTE! thought Michelle Bachmann). When the barrage finally ended, I’d gone from apathetic to furious. I’m voting for Obama in 2012, but for the next few months, I’m rooting that more such “mistakes” from Paul will strike fear into the hearts of his foes. That is, presuming they have hearts.
Fantastic Plastic Miss USA
// BY ANYA GRENIER
Two things I’ve noticed so far during this campaign: spoofs on Rick Perry’s YouTube ad, “Strong,” and the fact that ALL GOP CANDIDATES’ WIVES LOOK THE SAME.
Is there some sort of spouse supermarket where they purchase porcelain blonde campaign sidekicks (ostensibly far in advance, with future political motives in mind)? Callista Gingrich has got to be one of the most terrifying elbow decorations I’ve ever seen, while Mary Huntman’s camera face looks like one of those rare and unfortunate situations in which someone’s features somehow get stuck in a certain expression forever. But can we just pause and point out for a moment that Callista, Mary, Ann Romney, Anita Perry and Karen Santorum are ALL BLONDE. Is that weird? Am I overreacting? According to Wikipedia, natural blonde hair occurs in only two percent of the world’s population. Can I make a stand for the 98 percent? (I think we’re also adequate elbow material!!) Anyway. As for Rick Perry spoofs, it’s amazing — Perry’s unashamed declaration of Christianity has inspired the likes of Voldemort, Jesus, a cappella singers and the Jake Gyllenhaal dude from “Brokeback Mountain” to speak out. Way to go, Rick!
Mitt Romney, sharp shot for the finish line
// BY AUSTIN BERNHARDT
Attempting to come up with a favorite moment in the singular event that has been this season of primaries and debates reminds me of Zeno’s arrow paradox, wherein it is impossible to divide the flight of an arrow into manageable moments because in each individual moment there is the lack of motion. How to conceive of motion in snapshots? For the Republicans this season, each twist and turn has clearly led toward the eventual and inevitable nomination of Mitt Romney, Haircut and Corporation Trimmer. Of course, they still, to a certain extent, must be kidding, but Mitt Romney is either the least funny or funniest joke among the current candidates, depending on your perspective. Where is the deus ex machina that will bring an actually viable candidate to the Republican party? It’ll take a lot more than Rick Santorum’s sanctimonious blabbering to bring a leader to this wandering tribe. Deus? Deus, indeed.
Herman Cain, Poet Laureate of the United States of Ameri-eri-ca
// BY MARISSA MEDANSKY
The annals of history will best remember Herman Cain — today known as America’s favorite pizza Mafioso and Republican presidential contender — for many things. Among them: his unabashed love for yellow ties, his abashed love for women and a veritable library of Colbert-worthy quotes. Sure, every politician misspeaks. But Cain had a particular knack, unsurprising for a man who famously dismissed the entirety of Central Asia as “Uz-beki-beki-stan.”
Yet Cain’s most quotable quote, surprisingly, is not his own. It’s instead a treasured motto he quoted often during his race for the Republican nomination. “Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible,” Cain was fond of telling voters. “But it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.”
Cain attributed the quote to a “poet.” Just a poet, he told us. But who? Whitman, perhaps? Frost or Dickinson or Sandberg? Of course not. Cain’s poet, he later admitted, was none other than former disco queen Donna Summer. But wait! Cain’s inspiring words aren’t from seminal Summer hits like “Bad Girls” or “Last Dance,” but rather one of the animated Pokémon movies, for which Summer once recorded a single.
Cain provided no explanation for his use of the lyrics, so it’s unclear whether he wants to be the very best or if he’s still got some disco fever in him. Regardless, all we can say is this: sorry, “Leaves of Grass.” We don’t get it, either.
Presenting: the Soul of America
// BY KATHARINE KONIETZKO
My favorite GOP primary moment happened when Mitt Romney told us this election was about the “Soul of America.” I wonder what he thought about the soul of the family dog when he strapped it to the hood of the station wagon for a trip to Canada. Read some Gail Collins columns, I stole that from her. Regardless, I’m excited to vote for the new president/soul of America for the first time this fall.
Wow, though, if he does become president, he’ll be alarmingly busy “taking every single program, and asking, ‘Is this program so critical to the country that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?’” I mean, President Obama is probably guilty of skipping a few programs and hoping no one notices. It’s too bad Newt Gingrich isn’t as handsome as Massachusetts’ favorite son who wants to “straighten out America,” he would have gotten more air time I’m sure. I wonder if Romney’s seen the “Book of Mormon?”
Paternal love, Santorum-style
// BY AKBAR AHMED
The one Rick Santorum moment you need to know about, other than Iowa and that horrid month when every conservative girl at Yale was talking about him incessantly on Facebook, dates from earlier this week. The former senator notorious for comparing being gay to pedophilia and bestiality was asked at a recent debate what he would do if his son came up to him and said he were gay. “I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it,” Santorum schmoozed, channeling some Romney flip-flopping (though, tragically, sans the hair). While Santorum may love his son just as much in their family life, his publicly stated positions would mean that he’d have to deny his beloved offspring the right to marry the partner of his choice or lovingly adopt one of the millions of children without homes in this country. Whew. And we complained when our parents said force-feeding us vegetables constituted ‘tough love.’
A Letter to Newt
// BY MILA HURSEY
Dear Mr. Gingrich,
So you want to know why Black people don’t get a job and get off of welfare. I think I have a better question: why don’t investment bankers get real jobs and get off of welfare? “But Mila…I’m going to work at Morgan Stanley next year for 10 billion blah blah blah dollars right out of college. I will so not be on welfare. I am the 1 percent!!” Tres lol because as every poor person knows, if the government is giving you money because you are broke, down on your luck, or waiting for your train to come out of the goodness of their socialist little hearts, it’s welfare. Food stamps v. million dollar bonuses. Who is throwing government wine and cheese parties? Not Black people. However, if you were to throw a block party on Wall Street with chicken and waffles, every single Black person in America would be sure to come because generalizations and stereotypes are totally always right.
And I’ll be sure to tell Blue Ivy Carter where to get government housing.
Jamila Mybabydaddydontgivemenochildsupport Hursey