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Republicans rudderless

Matt Zalaznick

Vail CO, ColoradoLoonies, bullies, mental defectives – no, it’s not the cast of the Sopranos. We’re talking about the Republican presidential primary, whichmakes any quartet of the Democratic hopefuls look as monumental as Mt. Rush-more. Even Dennis Kuc-inich and that guy from Alaska.Mc-Cain’s pandering, Rudy’s waffling, Brown-back’s preaching and Tancredo’s intolerance make the first female president (and first black or first Hispanic vice president) look downright inevitable. These guys are done. John McCain is going off the deep end watching the tide turn in an imaginary Iraq where he shops safely for trinkets and a successful surge is boosting his plunging poll numbers. While Hillary wriggles away from her vote for America’s all-time worst foreign affairs decision, while sectarian suicide bombs continue to explode, while American and Iraqi casualties continue pile up, McCain is clinging to the Un-accomplishable Mission.Hillary may get a pass on her vote because her party is now trying to hold the administration just a little bit accountable for its fiasco. (Real accountability would be impeachment hearings for manipulating and then lying about intelligence or even a war crimes trial for the Com-mander Guy for invading a na-tion that was not a threat). Hillary and the Dem-ocrats are doing what a Congress should do – change the direction of a war that will only spiral into greater chaos and further endanger Americans at home and abroad if the Decider is left alone at the helm. Rudy’s position on abortion and other social issues is about as muddled as John Kerry’s mind-boggling stan-ce on Iraq. It can’t be long until Rudy says something like he supported abortion before he was against it, or that he went to pro-choice rehabilitation camp and has been cured of his support for women’s and gay rights. Plus, Rudy’s Cheney-esque “a vote for the Democrats is a vote for al-Qaida” slogan may have worked as late as the 2004 elections, but many Ameri-cans just don’t buy that thuggish brand of patriotism any longer. Most Americans have realized they hate the war but still love America. Americans want the troops home because they are patriotic, not because they want us to lose. And they haven’t noticed themselves or their neighbors emboldening any enemies. They’ve held no neighborhood fund-raisers to send explosives kits to Sunni insurgents.Rudy, along with fellow panderer Mitt Romney, are couching and qualifying their views on just about everything in a futile, Kerry-esque attempt to appeal to both the base and the mainstream of a fracturing party. The mainstream seems a little tired of the base, while across the aisle liberal Democrats’ early opposition to the war, warnings about the Decider’s incompetence and the administration’s complete disregard for everything but their own and their 10 wealthiest friends’ well being have all been vindicated. But the preceding three are not nearly the most frightening Republican presidential candidates. I don’t mean Sept. 11-scary or Darth-Cheney-apocalypse-scary – the other Republicans hoping to inherit W.’s historic disasters are a more pathetic strain of disturbing. Riding in the caboose of the GOP’s derailing campaign train are two competing for most medieval – Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback. They’d be terrifying if their views weren’t so backward, so narrow, so al-Qaida-esque. Understanding evolution should be a requirement for being president. Would you vote for someone who said they didn’t believe in rain or who didn’t know where babies came from? But these guys seem hellbent on stifling scientific progress – they wave the flag while they want to turn America’s children into a bunch of morons who will be left behind by their Asian peers in future fields like stem cell research (not to mention basic math). Even if Newt gets in the race, Americans have been cried-wolf to too many times to be scared by his World War III paranoia. There are certainly threats out there, but the Bush administration’s world-record bungling and its everything’s-really-just-fine attitude about everything – W. and Darth Cheney’s utter contempt for most Americans – has inured we the people to dangers we should actually be worried about (like global warming or health care or al Qaida). And that’s what Americans will be rejecting (along with the entire Republican slate) when they vote Clinton-Richardson or maybe even Gore-Obama in 2008. Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. Check out his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG


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