As I suspected late last week, South Carolina was wooed by the naughty professor Newt Gingrich into giving up her moral values for the bad boy swagger. Even the accusations of "open marriage" from his wife weren't enough, as the state one time considered a pillar of traditional values cheered Newt admonishment of the "moralizing mainstream media" for even bringing up the topic at a debate.
Now, like a wife with a hint of illness, Newt will leave South Carolina with nothing but a reputation and ridicule from the Establishment.
Now I don't think this is the end of Romney or the start of the ascendance of Newt. I don't think Newt has the staying power like he did in his younger days (just consider his inability to make it with Virginia). He might suffer from a moderate case of electile dysfunction, but he has enough skill to make it a tougher fight for Romney.
The anti-Romney voters no doubt overlap heavily with the section of the population that wants Obama to fail, regardless of the national implications. No amount of national destruction, disgrace or collapse is too great if it means a Republican in the White House. But since the collapse of America is inevitable regardless of which candidate they choose, there is a difference in the types of apocalypse we'll see. The country would collapses under Romney or Santorum as well, but those will be the dull, slow declines, as dry as the fall of the British Empire. I focus on the two truly apocalyptic candidates for comparison: Gingrich and Ron Paul.
The difference between the two can be simplified into this. Ron Paul believes his ideas will save America, while Newt Gingrich believes Newt Gingrich will save civilization. More on how that affects the post-apocalyptic scenarios below the fold.
The evidence that Ron Paul believes in his ideas while Newt Gingrich believes in himself is easy to find. It's a known fact that Ron Paul is playing a long game of elections. As far back as the 2008 a campaign staff member was talking about him being analogous to Barry Goldwater leading to Ronald Reagan's election. Paul believes he can hand off his ideas forward to others to run with, most likely his son Rand Paul. (More on that later).
Gingrich, however, believes only Gingrich can save us.Notes of his published by Slate show a man who believes himself to be the messiah of civilization, a "system designer" who will make all the crooked places straight. Just a sample of the mind of Gingrich
—Advocate of civilization
—definer of civilization
—Teacher of the rules of civilization
—arouser of those who form civilization
—Organizer of the pro-civilization activists
—leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.
So how will these characteristics affect the post-apocalyptic landscape of a Non-Romney Republican candidacy? Well, the dystopian futures are as different as Mad Max and V for Vendetta.
A Ron Paul candidacy would probably flop as bad as Barry Goldwater in 1964, but nomination or not, there might be enough of a structure for a Rand Paul run in 2016. Of course, Rand will, like George W Bush, be gaining his position based on his father's name while preaching a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" libertarian message. And Rand lacks the charisma of Ron Paul. Rather than a Randian superman, he'll most likely be what Dubya was to Bush 41.
As Rand enacts the Paul family political goals, you can expect a quick downfall in civilization. The radical individualism will lead to economic crashes, collapse of social institutions and the end of the rule of law. Without taxes to support education, infrastructure and roads the country will slip into an anarchy. As the nation falls around him, Rand and his supporters will scream even louder against government and blame the few remaining regulations against child labor and workplace smoking bans as thereal reason the country is failing.
But for the hardcore supporters of Ron and Rand, it will be paradise. Many are already equipped with guns, ammo, provisions and survivalist skills. Paul for President stickers from 2008, 2012 and 2016 will adorn the choppers of the motorcycle gangs causing terror is the few outposts remaining in the charred wasteland of America.
The Newt supporters, however, will not be getting what they ask or are prepared for. Against all evidence, they have decided to anoint the serial adulterer who abandons his sick wives as the savior of Christian civilization. A Gingrich presidency will be akin to the hypocritical cronyism of the film V for Vendetta, where false piety faintly masks the naked grab for money and power. The supporters will cheer as Newt chases the gays and lesbians from the military, purge the civil service of dissenting views, and firing union janitors to replace them with children.
But Newt's civilization model requires vast wasteful military spending and constant enemies. But there are only so many gay socialist Muslims that listen to NPR, so new ones will need to be found. When church charity workers start calling for aid to the struggling poor caused by the economic collapse, Newt will simply claim that there are communists in the churches and call for more purges. When dropping coins in a Salvation Army collection pot leads to an IRS audit and when every new Gingrich mistress revelation is followed up with a new war to distract America, the Christian Right will suddenly realize it made a pact with the devil. To atone for their sins, they will have to humble themselves and join the army of Good Samaritans that will rise to oppose Newt.
Samaritans look a little different nowadays (photo by David Shankbone)
The Republican base has a choice: End civilization as we know it and spend the rest of their lives in the charred remains of our shared heritage, or they can empower and megalomaniacal bastard that's routinely thinks himself above our peasant's morality and the Constitution and only seeks to create the world in his own image.
Or, you know, they can realize they can't get everything they want right away and work with others. Radical moderatism, yes, but sometimes you have to leave the comfort of the fringes to get stuff done.