Alternative Future History Part 3

Now let’s return to the present day. In the Republican primary race there are two and one- half candidates remaining: Romney, who is the least credentialed conservative, Rick Santorum, who is most definitely a social conservative, and Gingrich, who I consider to be the ½ long-shot in the race.

Early talking head/pundit returns labeled Romney as the eventual winner, but surges by the other 2 in the actual caucuses and primaries sent the political pundit industry into a tizzy. And since the first three contests, Gingrich has become a back-stopper as Santorum and Romney have traded wins back and forth.

But almost as important as the races themselves are the politics and backers of the three.  Romney has the publicly rich, like the Donald, behind him, and his organization and money insure that the race will go all the way to its bitter end.

Gingrich’s main backer is a casino giant, and multi-billionaire, named Sheldon Adelson. To say that Adelson is pro-Israel is like saying that the Pope is pretty much Catholic. Although Gingrich is unlikely to be the winner, he is ratcheting up the rhetoric against both the Palestinians and Iran, trying to please his sponsor. But it is a good bet that Adelson will jump ship on Newt when it’s finally clear that he can’t win. The only question is, will he go with Romney, who is actually a friend of his, or will he reserve his option for whoever comes out on top at the end of it all?

As for Santorum…well he does have Foster Friess’ money, but the goofy way his benefactor has been acting on national TV, has caused the candidate to deny claims by the media that he reflects Friess’ beliefs.

The most important backers of Santorum are not financial. He has almost universal support from the Religious Right, although they are mostly loathe to actually come out and say it just in case Romney wins the nomination. He did receive a vote of confidence from the small group of religious leaders who met in Texas in January, but considering the size of the confab, the weight of it didn’t come across very well.

But the pic of him being prayed over by a group of ministers in Texas on February 8th told a much stronger story.

With the economy improving slowly but surely, President Obama seemed to have a virtual lock on re-election; especially with the weak field opposing him. That is, he did until a misstep by HHS brought a wave of anti-government intrusion fervor into the picture. His announced solution to the “problem” of the religious institutions having to provide insurance for birth control (the insurance companies would be paying for the coverage themselves) quieted down the liberals who were taken aback by the initial announcement; but by then the damage was done.

As I mentioned in another post, even I was initially torn on this issue. But a ruling, years before, by Antonin Scalia backed the idea that a law made to cover everyone could not be counted as being against religions, as long as it was applied equally to all citizens. That and a careful examination of my own beliefs, as well as a few intelligent comments by friends, convinced me that my initial reaction was incorrect.

What the announcement did do was provide a back-up plan for the Right Wing since it could be the case that the economy would no longer be the issue it was at the beginning. The fallback plan was to ignite the “righteous” outrage of their socially conservative base. And so the advice given by Governor Tim Pawlenty to tone down the social issues is now being totally ignored.

Anyone who knows anything about the politics of the Right Wing knows that there are two things guaranteed to fire up the base: fear (communists, terrorists, etc.) and social issues. And between the Iran situation (blown out of proportion to the actual threat) and the, mostly false, perceptions of the Obama administration, they had found a nice blend of the two.

The Right Wing’s view of Obama is that of a Marxist radical who may or may not be a Christian and/or actual citizen of the United States. The last is obviously false as the State of Hawaii finally had to stop responding to requests for copies of his birth certificate by mailing them to the requesters. And a picture of the actual certificate was featured in an issue of Time magazine.

As for the former, ask any true progressive and they will tell you that his record will show that he is center-left with the advantage being much closer to the center side of that phrase.

When it comes to Iran, although there has been much sabre rattling of late, they are hobbled by two different situations:

  1. Aggressive sanctions forced on them by the U.S. and other countries
  2. A government which seems to be at war with itself

But don’t tell the candidates that. As an illustration, this is a statement made recently by Rick Santorum: “The theocracy that runs Iran is the equivalent of having al-Queda in charge of a country.” And Israel appears to be chomping at the bit to get in a first strike before Iran can get their act together. It is possible that the Obama administration may be the one thing restraining them.

And with all of that as a set-up, it is time to move on to the speculative fiction part of my narration. If I haven’t bored you to death with the preamble, I hope you will tune in for the next installment.


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