The GOP Primaries: Just a Bunch of Rich Kids on the Playground

This GOP primary season is reminding me of a few things from a while back in my past…

Rewind with me, the year is 1985 and location Frazier Elementary School in Greensboro, NC. A young Phlip, swathed in silly little shirts that he hated at the time and would surely beat his mother for showing you images of now, arrives for kindergarten like responsible parents bring their 5 year-olds to do.

A large part of the interaction between kids is that, by this time, the only kids they’ve encountered for the most part are family members or our parents’ friends’ kids with whom the interaction is definitely not as permanent as a classroom setting will wind up being. With that in mind, the tenets of things like “fairness” as it relates to playtime is still a skill to be acquired. Becoming used to life at home where every toy is “mine and mine only,” playtime is where most kids FIRST learn to be assholes.

To employ a metaphor to something we will discuss later, we will say that I am playing with this toy, and will play with it until I am done. I am more than welcome to walk away from it to go to the bathroom or succumb to the will of my short attention span, but once it comes back into my field of vision, it is mine again and you can not question this. I will simply relieve you of possession, thanks much…

… except you, as a like-minded 5 year-old, have the same point of view with no practical reasoning to even think that it is not exclusively yours. Conflict occurs and one of us will continue to play with the toy while the other sits on the sideline pissed off.

Well, make that “pissed off until they decide ‘since I can’t play with it, no one will’” and breaks the toy in question.
[Phlip note – I have been BOTH kids in this scenario at some point in my life… to avoid being judged, I will withhold discussion of when I stopped]

With a particularly ugly GOP primary season causing candidates – specifically the now-remaining Romney and Gingrich – dishing dirt on one another left and right as they ruthlessly try to convince registered Republican primary voters which is a better candidate to get that ni–… uh, “Marxist” out of office, this has made for the best news and talk radio coverage I have seen in a while.

While Romney continues to hold a lead in the primaries that count and the opinion polls, it is being said that Gingrich is quoted as saying that he will stay in the race to the end if he has to. In my observations as a dude who has voted in 3 presidential elections, it has been prudent to be a big enough man about NOT winning the primary to fall back and let the front-runner focus on winning the general election without expending all of their energies fighting a nasty primary fight. With none of the “John McCain has an illegitimate black daughter” bombshells to serve as that crushing blow to bury either of the top two candidates, we’re now at the “conflict” portion of the kindergarten story from above.

In my mind either candidate could still get the nomination, but it should become abundantly clear long before anyone is further embarrassed by more details of their personal lives being made public.

The “details of private personal life made public” is the “pissed off kid coming back to break the toy” part of the kindergartners at the beginning of this presentation. I am SURE that someone high up in the party has been in the ear of each person to fall back telling them to do so, but now we’re at the point where Mitt probably feels like he is owed it, as the guy who came in second to the nominee last time, like McCain was before that. Meanwhile, Gingrich is a hot-headed old coot and will be damned if he lets anyone tell him what to do. The more they butt heads, the longer the primaries will drag, the longer they drag and the uglier they will become and the uglier they become, the less work Democrats will have to do in finding dirt on their opponent and Barack walks into the end zone.

To the GOP, “Barack walks into the end zone” is the part of the interaction where the toy in our original metaphor falls to the ground and shatters into a billion little pieces. Perhaps if the focus was more on “fix the country” and ideas presented were more to that effect, then it wouldn’t have come to that. As it were, to this point, we have had the “look, we have a black guy too!” approach (which I would have found MUCH more entertaining with Michael Steele or Alan Keyes) that fell on its face. Now it has actually dumbed down to actually arguing during debates over who is more like Ronald Reagan, who old Ray-Gun would have liked if he weren’t dead or who even LIKED Reagan while he was in office?
Hell, at this rate, I am going to have people bombard WWE offices in Stanford Connecticut, because I could be drawn back into watching Monday Night Raw if they would promise one of these GOP debates for about 30-45 minutes every other week.