Sunday, January 22, 2012

Southern Dispatch, or The Three Stooges

A friend of mine pointed out to me the "upset" language in the Boston Globe's coverage of Gingrich's primary victory in South Carolina. The paper's headline writers described Gingrich as "roaring" to his win and denigrated Mitt Romney as "formerly high-flying."

I honestly don't know why anyone thought Romney had a chance in South Carolina: he's from Massachusetts and he's a Mormon. I would add that he's a terrible campaigner, but that doesn't really make him stand out among his competitors: at the end of last year Gingrich's campaign couldn't even get it together to collect enough signatures in time to get him on the ballot in Virginia, and last spring he didn't seem to realize that the Eastern Mediterranean isn't where you go to campaign for president. He now defends his cruise by saying it was intended to test his staff and show he's a "different kind of candidate." Then there's Rick Santorum, who publicly objected to Dan Savage's creative definition of his last name, thereby causing some of his more ignorant supporters to google it out of curiosity and thereby making it the top hit when anyone googles "Santorum."

But back to Gingrich. Other than Perry, he's the candidate who best appeals to the tribalism of a particular type of Southern white voter: the man or woman who's scared at who much browner America is than it used to be, who feels threatened or alienated by politicians who talk about issues in any manner approaching complexity. Gingrich is one of them. Even his Catholicism can't eclipse his essential Bubbaness. The South Carolina primary: think of it as one of White America's last stands.

Meanwhile, the show continues....

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