Another flavor of the month has passed its sell-by date. To no one's surprise, except perhaps those Republicans in desperate search of a get-out-of-racism-free card, the Magic Negro, Part II: Republican edition has "suspended" his campaign, thus marking the latest collapse of a nominal frontrunner. If we are to take the polls seriously, this leaves Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination, which is arguably the least attractive leadership pair on offer since the Polish people were divided between Hitler and Stalin.
On second thought, that's probably a little too strong. And too grandiose, Newt's Churchillian fantasies notwithstanding. But for Republicans, the choice between Romney and Gingrich is about as palatable as being forced to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Either way, the result will be a disaster, but one option at least promises a modicum of entertainment as the disaster unfolds. And let's face it, a Gingrich presidency would harbor the potential for even more unintentional slapstick comedy than we've already seen from the Obama administration.
Perhaps Newt will teach a class on Fridays in the White House. Perhaps he'll ad-lib the oath of office. Perhaps he'll be the first president to not only have an affair in the White House, but divorce the first lady and give the nation its first step-first lady. There is a very good chance he'll write a mediocre political thriller or do his own voiceover work for the cartoon President Gingrich on "The Simpson's." But the latter is almost redundant, as Newt is a cartoon and the sky is the limit for his performance art. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of President Newt being the one to preside over America's eventual economic and political collapse.
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To paraphrase a great basketball coach: If collapse is inevitable, kick back and enjoy it!
Of course, there are still a few Republicans who think it wise to work toward avoiding such a collapse, assuming that is still possible – but only a few, judging by the way in which they have desperately turned from one disastrous candidate to another to avoid supporting the only one who gives the nation any chance of escaping the gallows it has erected for itself.
As Ron Paul says: "You have two choices. Either you can work your way out of this, or you wait until it collapses and you have to rebuild it."
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A primary vote for either Romney or Gingrich is a vote for waiting, just as surely as a vote for Obama in 2008 was. Neither Gingrich nor Romney has even the faintest grasp of the nature or the extent of the problems presently facing the nation. Neither Gingrich nor Romney will do anything in office, anything at all, to address these problems. They will instead do precisely as various presidents named Bush, Obama and Clinton have done in attempting to buy more time, and thereby exacerbating the situation when no more time can be bought.
In 2000, it would have been possible to cut government spending by 15 percent, and that would have sufficed to keep it in line with tax receipts. In 2007, it would have been possible to cut it by 25 percent, and that would have been enough to prevent the debt spiral from getting worse. Due to vast increase in spending that led to the doubling of federal debt since 2008, it is now necessary to cut federal spending in half simply to keep the situation from getting worse.
Mitt Romney is not going to cut federal spending in half. Newt Gingrich is not going to cut federal spending in half. Neither one of them is even willing to talk about the issue. And don't count on the congressional Republicans, as left to their own devices it is obvious that they aren't even going to cut any spending at all.
Republicans now have two choices. They can either put forward Ron Paul as a candidate who is committed to address the financial and economic problems facing the nation, or they can put forward a candidate who will do little more than ensure Republicans bear the blame for the economic collapse of the country. Ron Paul may be considered a long shot in the general election – although not any longer than Gingrich – but when you're facing fourth-and-long on your own 20 and there is no time left on the clock, trying to play it safe is the very riskiest thing you can do.