Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

Thank You, Rick Santorum!

Rick Santorum has left the building.

And I’m bummed about it.

Because liberal progressives like me have good reason to shower Rick Santorum with our gratitude.

The best thing about having a truly reactionary ideologue and religious zealot like Santorum in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination has been the fact that the Republican Party’s very unattractive underbelly has been exposed.

Mr. Inevitable, Mitt Romney, has not been able to speak in sweet, uplifting platitudes about shining cities on the hill while devising plans to bleed the working class and further enrich the obscenely wealthy. Not with a sanctimonious culture warrior like Rick forcing him to take hard line “severely conservative” positions on hot button social issues like contraception, gay marriage and a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans favor contraception, gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose, Santorum’s uber-conservative candidacy forced Mitt Romney to state his opposition to all three early and often — and usually in a stumbling, uncomfortable manner.

Without a true believer like Santorum in the race, Romney could have done what many Republican politicians have done: court the religious right in private, promise them school prayer, an anti-abortion amendment, and whatever else their intolerant hearts desire – while speaking in more inclusive terms to the wider voting populace. Then, when elected, he could feel free to ignore the bible bangers’ agenda (which GOP Presidents have been doing since the Nixon years).

But having to compete with Santorum for the fundamentalist base, Romney was forced to shed the middle-of-the-road image that got him elected in liberal Massachusetts – and steer his candidacy far to the religious right.

And yet, many of these conservative Christian voters will reject Romney anyway because he’s a Mormon.

The surprising surge in Rick Santorum’s candidacy after he won the Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota primaries on the same day in early February meant that Mitt Romney and his millionaires had to spend a lot more money than he would have liked to bombard the airwaves with negative commercials – not targeting Barak Obama, but that pesky upstart, Rick Santorum.

All while President Obama spent his money on putting together a massive ground game in critical states all across the electoral map.

Santorum’s personal brand as an earnest, uncompromising zealot presented a sharp contrast with Romney’s image as an opportunistic political shapeshifter, willing to do or say whatever is necessary to appeal to a Republican base that is far more conservative than he’s been in the past.

Santorum spoke his mind. He had no qualms about saying he’s against birth control. Catholic candidate Santorum had no problem saying that Catholic candidate John F. Kennedy’s historic speech upholding the separation of church and state made him want to throw up. Sometimes, Santorum even let slip the darkest dogs of his intolerant mind, saying he would not “make black people’s (or was it “blah people’s) lives better by giving them other people’s money” and calling President Obama a “government nig…” before catching himself in front of a friendly audience in rural Janesville, Wisconsin. That’s not just a dog whistle: it’s a dog loudspeaker.

Not only did Santorum’s shoot-from-the-lip certainty put Romney’s serial waffling in stark relief – it also revealed the darker, puritanical, homophobic, misogynistic and racist angels of the rabid right wing. For these two reasons alone, Santorum’s candidacy was a daily blessing for progressive Americans. It was a light shed on the darkness. And it kept Romney from running in the sunshine, teeth gleaming, every hair in place and looking like something he’s not: a good guy.

So, now Rick is gone. Google will get fewer hits and we’ll get fewer news cycles about birth control and “blah people”.

But with Santorum gone, Newt Gingrich is free to pander to the religious right and all those “true conservatives” that Santorum had successfully courted. That Santorum has given Newt new life in this race is, perhaps, his last gift to those of us Democrats and Independents who support President Obama’s re-election and fervently hope to take back the House and keep the Senate.

And yet, Rick Santorum will likely have one more card to play – one more way to stick it to the man that he pointedly did NOT endorse in his speech last night suspending his campaign. I’m sure that Rick – a resurgent star of the GOP with a big chunk of devoted delegates — will have to be given a nice big speech at the Republican Convention. Maybe even a keynote address. Remember how well the “culture war” speeches by those two bombastic right wing patriarch Pats, Buchanan and Robertson, went down with the larger viewing and voting public? It’s not likely that Santorum’s speech will be a uniting Kumbaya embrace that helps to draw independents and working class people of all races, creeds and color into the GOP fold.

That speech may be Santorum’s last campaign 2012 gift to progressive America.

Thank you, Rick Santorum, for being exactly who you are.

Something Mitt Romney is not.


Filed under Politics

Mitt Romney, Florida & The Death of Democracy?

You didn’t have to scale Mount Parnassus and consult the Delphic Oracle to foretell that Mitt Romney was going to clobber Newt Gingrich in the Florida GOP Primary on Tuesday night.

The final tally gave Romney an overwhelming victory with 46.4% of the vote to 31.9% for Newt “46 more states to go” Gingrich.

But if there are Tea Party types, Libertarians, Social Conservatives and Fans of Philandering Politicians who are bummed by Romney’s easy victory over the likes of Gingrich, Santorum and Paul – then perhaps those conservatives may want to reconsider their embrace of Corporate Personhood and the Supreme Court’s democracy-destroying decision in the Citizen’s United case.

Mitt Romey is a wealthy candidate to begun with – but there’s no way for relatively cash poor candidates (no matter how principled and ideologically pure they may be) to compete against the flood of Super Pac money that a Wall Street crony like Romney can attract. Justice Alito may be shaking his head “no” for a very different reason tomorrow morning. If Chief Justice Roberts and Company didn’t see this onslaught coming when they decided that money = speech, then they are even more blind than justice is supposed to be.

So, cry in your beer, you blue collar Social Conservatives. Weep for poor Rick Santorum, your anti-choice, gay-baiting standard bearer, because he can’t compete with the money Mitt’s friends poured into Florida!

Call out in anguish, you Libertarian Ron Paul Revolutionists – because the no-rules, laissez faire, anti-regulatory religion you and you candidate adhere to has no answer for the rampaging anonymous money machine that chased the good doctor out of Florida!

And rend your garments, you Newtonians. Wail and gash your teeth because your brilliant historian’s erudition, high-minded philosophizing and vaunted forensic skill were no match for tens of million of dollars worth of negative campaign ads paid for by…

Oh, that’s right.

We don’t know who paid for them.

Classic Greek democracy developed in Athens around 508 BC, and stumbled along for about 186 years, before the conquering Macedonians suppressed the Athenian Democracy in 322 BC.

American democracy has lasted 50 years longer – but who needs the Macedonian hordes when you’ve got Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy working against you.


Filed under Politics

The State of Obama.

Okay, folks. Let’s just level with each other.

I know there are lots of my fellow lefties – whether we call ourselves liberals or progressives — who have been disappointed by President Obama since he took office under the promising banners of “Hope” and “Change”.

He didn’t go far enough on universal health care.

He didn’t prosecute the Bush Administration for its war crimes.

He hasn’t put any of the Wall Street banksters in jail.

And on and on and on…

But can you imagine a Republican President giving a State of the Union Address anything at all like the speech that President Obama just gave?

I’m no Pollyanna. I’m no easy dupe. But I am a clear-eyed political realist.

I am encouraged – even thrilled — that an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic Democratic President has emerged from a three-year death-grip battle with the dark powers of the anti-intellectual, greedy, pro-feudal GOP with a resilient spirit, imagination and resolve strong enough to fashion the speech that President Obama gave tonight.

Newt Gingrich?

Mitt Romney?


Bring ‘em on.


Filed under Politics

Mass Media Medea

What would happen if Medea was making the media rounds to promote her sensational new book?

No, not Tyler Perry’s “Madea”…

I’m talking about the infamous ancient Medea: the barbarian demigoddess of Greek mythology.

Medea’s lurid autobiography – a story of adventure, romance, scandal, revenge and murder — would be as big a bestseller today as it was back when the Oracle at Delphi drew bigger ratings than Fox News.

The same book publishers, news media and television networks that shamelessly flog the latest tell-all tomes by the famous and fallen would love to put Medea on the talk show circuit.

In recent years, the American public has shown either an increasing appetite for scandal or a short memory or both.

It’s one thing for author Andrew Morton to cash in by writing Monica’s Story, the authorized biography of Monica Lewinsky – but quite another for Monica herself to parade in front of the media like she’d actually accomplished something other than being a Friend of Bill with Benefits.

And while it took lots of chutzpah for a philandering, ethically disgraced politician like New Gingrich to write a book called Rediscovering God in America – the media hacks who interviewed Newt on his book tour (like Fox’s Sean Hannity) rarely, if ever, bothered to mention Newt’s serial adultery or the fact that he was the first Speaker of the House in history to be disciplined for ethical misconduct.

It’s even more ironic when you realize that Newt’s co-author, his third wife Callista Gingrich, was the woman he was having an affair with during the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal. And, how’s this for scandalous symmetry? Callista is 23 years younger than Newt: Monica is 27 years younger than Bill. Betcha Sean Hannity didn’t point that out.

And, like rubber-neckers at the scene of a traffic accident, there’s a segment of the public that just can’t ignore a book like Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour, in which conservative former mega-church pastor Ted Haggard’s wife, Gayle Haggard, explained why she stayed with the holy rolling hypocrite after a 2006 scandal revealed his drug use and “massages” by a male prostitute.

Still, compared to Medea, these scandals are tame and not likely to stay anywhere near as long on the bestseller list. After all, Medea’s story has been a classic in print for more than 2,400 years.


The basics of Medea’s tale are headline-making stuff indeed. The daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, Medea was the granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later married the celebrated hero Jason (the guy with Argonauts). After helping Jason win immortal fame by bringing back the Golden Fleece, she settled down with him and they had two kids. Then, things broke bad for Medea.

According to Euripides in his play Medea, Jason dumped Medea for a younger woman, (Just like Newt Gingrich did.) It was William Congreve who wrote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” That would make a good title for Medea’s tell-all book: an account of how she got her revenge on Creon, Glauce and Jason.

How did Medea get her revenge? If you don’t already know, hold on. I’m coming to that…

In recent decades, the character of Medea has been portayed by a trio of the greatest Greek actresses: Maria Callas, Melina Mercouri — and Victoria Zielinski.

In 1970, the opera singer Maria Callas starred in Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film adaptation of Medea. And in the 1978 film A Dream of Passion – the great Melina Mercouri (who was such a Greek national treasure they put her on a postage stamp) played as an actress portraying Medea who seeks out a mother who, like Medea, recently killed her children.

As for Victoria Zielinski, she was one of two exceptional women to address the Medea role in notable Los Angeles area productions in the past year. The three-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening played Medea in UCLA Live’s staging of the classic at the Freud Playhouse last fall. Bening got great reviews. But Victoria got a lot more laughs.

Here’s Victoria playing Medea in “The Vic & Paul Show” this past June at the Push Lounge in Woodland Hills.

The video clip doesn’t quite capture Drew McCoy’s great lighting plot, Emilia Barrosse’s timing on the light cues, or Shelly Goldstein’s dramatic direction — which made the live experience very special. But Victoria’s bravura performance blends Callas, Mercouri and Arianna Huffiington into a Medea to remember…

Which brings us back to the opening question: What would happen if Medea was making the media rounds to promote her sensational new book?


Jesse James’ tattoo-laden mistress is actually scarier than Medea.


Filed under Art, Beauty, Politics