Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sucking up to the shrinking GOP base

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP)--Soulless opportunists Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney frequently invoked brain-damaged Republican hero Ronald Reagan and boasted about their newfound allegiance to the GOP's core principles as they sought to win over skeptical paleo-conservatives Friday.

"You and I have a lot of common beliefs that are the same and we have some that are different," ranted Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who urged GOP activists to look past his moderate stances on gun control, abortion and gay rights and focus instead on his corporatism and his willingness to scapegoat minorities. "The point of a presidential election is to figure out who you agree with the most, and then give him a couple hundred million dollars."

Romney argued it was he, not his apostate rivals.

"This is not the time for us to shrink from suddenly developing conservative principles," the former Massachusetts governor told an enthusiastic audience, pretending not to understand questions about his own credentials.

Lesser-known White House hopefuls also paid lip service to Republican icon Reagan while speaking to right-wing operatives and professional tax-evaders at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), whose stated principles vary from one minute to the next but whose support of the Bush Crime Family has been unwavering, was the only top-tier GOP candidate to skip the event.

A full 10 months before the first primary votes, reactionary conservatives are still searching for a presidential candidate who makes them as gooey inside as George W. Bush once did.

Giuliani, Romney and McCain have attracted some support from within the crucial voting group, but several prominent leaders in the movement have expressed frustration with their inability to pretend to be as sincere as Bush always pretended to be. Some right-wing knuckledraggers don't trust that the trio is as dedicated to fighting for issues they hold dear as they are to getting the nomination at any price.

A fascist serial adulterer and part-time transvestite from New York, Giuliani has moderate stances on social issues when they help him and has been married three times, once to his cousin. Romney is a mealy-mouthed cipher from Democratic-leaning Massachusetts who switched his positions on abortion and gay rights as soon as he began attracting national attention. And McCain has worked on some legislation conservatives hate although he has always caved to the right wing at the last moment. His reputation of bucking the party makes them question his veracity, if only because they don't know where it came from.

Given such discontent, several other candidates without a chance in hell are hoping to emerge as strong challengers by sucking up to the Jesus-freak wing of the GOP base.

"We can't afford to elect people who simply reflect a culture and reflect a common view, but don't necessarily believe it," Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, told the crowd--in spite of elections in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2004 which did just that.

Like most of the other speakers, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback--a photogenic wingnut who panders to the religious right--emphasized both fiscal and social conservative views. He drew thundering applause when he held up two large red books, which he identified as the Internal Revenue Service code, and said: "This should be taken behind a barn and gang-raped by field-hands and killed with a dull ax and buried in an unmarked lime pit on an adjoining property."

Attesting to his undeserved popularity, Giuliani took the stage to raucous cheers before a star-struck audience apparently unfamiliar with his history. The hotel ballroom was packed so tight for his speech that fire marshals had to be bribed.

"Ronald Reagan used to say, 'My 80 percent ally is not my 20 percent enemy,'" Giuliani said, a reference, possibly, to the Gipper's willingness to support Central American death squads and negotiate with Islamic terrorists. He tried to pretend that his performance as mayor--on issues such as sucking up to Big Business and keeping the darkies in line--and his leadership qualities override any concerns voters may have about him.

At one point, Giuliani told the crowd that when he became mayor he thought he could reform the city's school system--a remark that prompted laughter from the roomful of privately-schooled legacy-scholarship millionaires and their lackeys.

"OK, I made mistakes. I'm going to admit them and apologize for them," Giuliani said with a grinchly smile and a pointed pause allowing the crowd to howl at this hilarious jibe. It was an apparent reference to Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, the Democratic presidential front-runner who has been criticized for refusing to take the blame for President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

Romney, for his part, tried to draw sharp distinctions with Giuliani and McCain a day after assailing both.

He called his main wife Ann on stage at the start of his speech. "Mitt and I will be celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary this month," she said--a reminder that McCain and Giuliani have been divorced, like Reagan.

Romney quoted Reagan anyway, saying, "I have seen the conservative future, and it works for me."

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