My father and uncles used to tell me a story of their time growing up in rural Louisiana (this is when that was simplified as “Louisiana”) that I feel is particularly appropriate for this primary season.
Back then, there was no Bob Barker, just people who’d dump unwanted animals along or in the bayou when they grew tired of them. (This phenomenon led to the nutria population, the hunting of which in turn would provide gainful employment to one of my great uncles between cock fights.) As non-city folk will know, cats turned loose can become a particular problem, as they will return to their state of nature and in a few generations reach a combination of normal cat nastiness and large size that can make them a legitimate danger.
One such feral cat was loose and attacking chickens, kids pulling okra, etc. So my father and one of his brothers, and some next door neighbors, got their dogs and hunted the thing down. They were just teenagers, but they knew that the cat was a danger, and the adults were too busy working to deal with this relatively minor problem. So they took off.
They ran through the briars, they ran through the brambles, they ran through the places that the rabbits wouldn’t go. The dogs finally caught the scent and chased the vermin up against some walls from which there was no escape.
Cats are wonderful solitary predators, but one of the many reasons dogs are better is that, like humans, they hunt well in packs. The dogs in question were mutts with hound and retriever tossed in, and had formed a pack as dogs are wont to do during the chase. They attacked.
Dad wasn’t prone to exaggeration, so when he says the cat weighed upward of thirty pounds of muscle, I’m inclined to believe him. Cats fight dirty, too, so there was a lot of blood in the first pass. The cat was intent on survival and, because it was a cat, sadism. The dogs were intent on killing the threat. My father bitterly regretted not bringing along his bow, and the cat was able to dodge the slingshots before it became a tangle of fur and teeth into which no stones should be shot.
At the end, one feral cat lay dead in ribbons. One of the dogs was so badly cut up he had to be put down, another — my father’s beloved mutt — lost his left eye, the rest nursed wounds. It was a high price to pay, but my father walked away from there proud of the dogs who’d given their love so easily and fought so well. None of the boys were happy, just grimly satisfied.
Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee for the Presidency. It is time for the vanity campaigns around him to end.
I want to stress a few things at this point. I think nominating a man whose favorables in his party and outside it lie so far south of the Mendoza line is madness. No sane person thought John McCain would win in 2008 except for the brief interlude between Sarah Palin’s premature unveiling (screw you, Steve Schmidt) and Lehman Brothers. No sane person believes Mitt Romney will win the Presidency, but he at least has the comfort of absolute nuts believing in him who are not bound to him by genetic relation or marriage.
I am not a huge fan of Newt Gingrich — for reasons so numerous it would take me days to enunciate them all — nor of Rick Santorum, though I admire the latter’s ardent devotion to the pro-life cause. Both are fellow papists, but both are frankly awful politicians and simply have no chance to even win the nomination.
Ron Paul is a gibbering little Nazi.
Having said all of this, it’s time to understand that we are wasting resources hating each other over four men who in a just world would not be allowed near turpentine unsupervised, let alone near the nomination of one of our two major political parties. We are wasting goodwill, we are wasting enthusiasm, and every time Mitt Romney opens his mouth about anything, really, far too large a portion of our party suddenly asks why we’re nominating Barack Obama for the presidency.
This must stop. Now. Today.
I first realized that Mitt Romney would be the nominee when he attacked Rick Perry from the left on Social Security. (Attention, Romneybots: You ask for examples of him driving his finger into the eye of the Party, the conservative movement, and indeed one of our core raisons d’etre? Yeah. Start your list.) It came so naturally to him, I knew he would be the one, the Republican who would be utterly blindsided when fresh off the nomination all of that friendly press turned on him.
It’s something of a fall ritual.
One of the other things we must note is that we already know why and how Romney will lose. Instead of the fearsome integrated force doctrine of the Bush years — air war plus ground ops — the Romney team has already told us they think it’s 1988 and they can win with air power alone. (I guess this is fitting for someone from the House of Dukakis.) Obama has no such compunction. In an election year in which our nominee has almost single-handedly managed to deflate our enthusiasm, the lack of a ground game will simply be suicidal.
Snide remarks aside (er, not really) this makes a certain degree of sense. Mitt Romney is a miserable politician, a terrible party builder, and at best an indifferent governor. But he is one Hell of a businessman, and so he’s falling back on the crutch he understands: Brand identity. Doesn’t mean he won’t get shellacked, though.
But that’s not the point. Better candidates than he underorganized, withdrew early, or didn’t run, and at any rate, didn’t spend six+ years running. We have bought this Pinto. It is time to move on, and try not to get rear-ended.
This is because we have a Senate to win, a House to protect, and state houses to safeguard. We cannot waste time and resources and mutual respect on this disaster.
Newt and Rick must withdraw. Ron Paul can continue playing with himself, it doesn’t matter.
When this is said and done, come December, as we must walk away from the wreckage of the Romney campaign, with a Senate majority and dominance in the House, we will do so with grim, proud satisfaction, knowing that we gave the minimum needed for the rehashing of the Hindenburg, knowing that we didn’t compromise ourselves for a man who will compromise everything, and knowing that we did what had to be done, no matter the damage we took in the process.
The damned cat will be dead. We can hold our heads high and be thankful for that at least.