I’m writing this with a migraine due to the alcohol I had to consume in order to be able to watch the GOP debate at the Reagan Library Wednesday night without hurling something at my television – or hurling, period.
Witnessing the debate debut of Republican frontrunner Rick Perry was like watching Dance Moms, the reality show my daughter and I view with horrified fascination because we can’t believe people like that actually exist.
Take, for instance, his bizarre response to a question about his continued skepticism about global warming:
The irony of a guy who believes the theory of evolution “has gaps” and creationism should be taught in schools as science comparing himself to Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science who was persecuted for heresy for defending the concept of heliocentrism, made me reach for my beer, particularly since it was clear that Perry doesn’t even know his history well enough to understand that it’s ironic. I guess that’s what happens when you’re from a state that rewrites the history books.
Republicans who loved George W. Bush’s unwavering certitude will find much to like in Perry. He’s a guy who doesn’t lose sleep at night about the death penalty.
But according to the Greenwich Time, Republicans in my neck of the woods are putting their money on Romney. “[Perry’s] a little more of curiosity item at this point…I think two weeks from now he’ll just be another ordinary average Republican candidate,” Sen. L. Scott Frantz is quoted as saying. Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is equally skeptical: “I think the feeling about Governor Perry is nobody really knows him,” Foley said. “He seems even conservative for Texas. People have to wonder, would that sell even nationally in a general election?”
One has to wonder if these gentlemen have actually been listening to what’s been going on in their national party for the last few years, or even observing the conflicts within the party here in the state of Connecticut. From time to time I email a GOP friend and ask, “What is going on with you guys?”, because it’s just mind boggling that the party has become so different from when I went door to door canvassing for my dad when he was elected to the Board of Representatives in Stamford.
I can’t imagine in those days someone like Jon Huntsman actually having to stand onstage at a debate and state something as obvious as this: “When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science…By making comments that basically don’t reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.”
The conventional wisdom is that Huntsman doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning the nomination, because he’s too much of a “RINO”, this despite his economic plan having won kudos as the best of the GOP bunch from the Wall Street Journal. Too bad, because he seems by far the most reasoned and articulate of the bunch. All the candidates invoke Reagan, with regard to tax cuts, but when Huntsman spoke on immigration, he reminded us of one of the things about the Great Communicator most conservatives seem to forget – his human touch.
“President Reagan when he made his decision back in 1987 said this is a human issue, and I hope that all of us as we deal with this immigration issue will always see it as an issue that revolves around real human beings,” Huntsman said.
Alas, all the things that seem so positive and rational to me will most likely kill his chances with the base. But all is not lost. I saw a tweet last night from the Manchester Young Republicans ranking Huntsman’s performance #1. So I’ll just sit here with the “plop plop fizz fizz” humming “I believe that children are our future…”
Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.