Interesting Republican Problems

We were talking about Mitt Romney at lunch yesterday and it seems to me that he represents a real problem for the Republican establishment. The base isn’t thrilled about him, but he’s so obviously the best candidate. Here’s what I think the Republican dilemma is. There are large segments of the American public who consistently vote Democrat who would be more at home with the Republicans–church-going Hispanics and Blacks, especially rural church-going Hispanics and Blacks–except that the Republicans have been such obvious odious choads to Hispanics and Blacks that they can’t gain a foothold in those communities. Mormons are, speaking broadly, an enormous and growing conservative base. They vote and vote Republican.

If the Republicans run Mitt Romney and Republicans don’t vote for him, it’s not just a matter of them losing their best shot against Obama. They risk losing Mormons. If Mormons feel that they can’t run for national office as Republicans because the Republican base objects to their religion, that’s going to be yet another growing segment of obviously conservative voters who can’t be comfortable in the Republican party.

And I think that’s part of the panic on the part of the Republican Party. If we just looked at the Republican candidates objectively–Romney would be the obvious choice. But can they afford to run Romney now and risk that his loss will alienate Mormons? Or do they ask him to wait four years and see how much attitudes have changed by then?

I also think the Beth Harwell problem is interesting. I mean, it makes sense to me that someone is polling to see how she’d run against Cooper. Harwell’s bright, she appeals to urban conservatives, and she holds the leadership of the State House. Of course she looks destined for bigger things. Yes, she was just elected Speaker of the House, but that’s the problem (and also why I’d bet $10 that the national GOP is behind the polling). Harwell should have a long political career ahead of her. I’m not sure she could beat Cooper now, but she definitely will NOT be able to beat Cooper if she becomes too closely associated with the anti-gay, anti-urban, anti-First-Amendment, pro-woo-hoo-we’re-idiots agenda of Tennessee Republicans. And as the leader of the House, she’s a really visible face to their movement.

So, the problem the GOP has is figuring out how long she can sit as Speaker and not become tainted beyond electability when they need her for bigger and better things.

The interesting thing about them polling to run her against Cooper now is that it indicates that the GOP believes that window is quite small.

Is This Better or Worse?

Apparently people are fat because we’re just not as spiritually enlightened as thin people. Thanks, NPR! It’s not like I don’t already hear about how unhealthy I am, how gross I am, how undisciplined I am, how unlovable I am, etc. etc. etc. Now I’m out of touch with my own soul.

It’s interesting, in many contexts, how people’s desire and efforts to “help” situations reveal a lot that’s pretty ugly about their feelings about the people in those situations.

More on the Things I’ve Been Following

1. I push my radical “Let’s train people for the open jobs” agenda at Pith.

2. I understand Paterno’s “I did nothing wrong” strategy, almost. But it strains credulity that Paterno would have had an assistant and that assistant’s father show up to his house on a Saturday, report that Sandusky was doing “something” with a boy in a shower that Paterno felt he had to pass up the chain of command, and Paterno claim he had no idea it was something sexual, something he himself might report to the police. Grown ass men don’t need their dads with them to tell you that they saw a man holding hands with a kid in a way he found a little creepy, you know? But if Paterno’s not telling the truth, why would he risk pissing off McQueary and his father?  If McQueary’s father says “Yes, we told him Sandusky was fucking a child” that will be bad enough. If either McQueary or his father follows that up with “and I was told that the assistant’s job was a reward for keeping quiet and that the repercussions if we didn’t would be x, y, and z,” then Paterno can kiss his legacy good-bye, if he can’t already.

People of Missouri,I Have Had It With You!

Before I get started on my righteous rant against you Missourians, let me just say that my dad called yesterday and he and my mom went and had lunch at my youngest nephew’s school. They had to sit at the little tables! Why are there no pictures?!

Okay, Missourians, I am calling you out! The Butcher just got back from St. Louis, where he went to this place called… perhaps you’ve heard of it? The City Museum? Oh, you just forgot to mention it? You thought you’d already told everyone about it?

Bullshit! You’ve been hogging it to yourselves. Fine, we’re going to get something really awesome here in non-Missouri and not mention it to you. See how you like it.

So, the City Museum, which the rest of us don’t know about because Missouri is hogging it, is this kind of interactive artistic jungle gym. All their materials come from old St. Louis buildings and thing that are being torn down and they’re reconstituted into art that you can climb around in or ride your skateboard over or what have you. There’s a plane! The Butcher showed me a plane he climbed up into. It’s only twelve dollars!

Ugh. I really want to go. Even if my twelve dollars would be mostly wasted because I am afraid of heights.