Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Right Hook, Everyone's Cross

It’s hard to tell if the GOP presidential race has improved or worsened. On one hand, Tim Pawlenty’s campaign never gained momentum and his quitting the race only shifts more moderate conservatives towards Mitt Romney. On the other hand, the entry of Texas Governor Rick Perry gives the GOP another wacky wild card, another devisive, over the top personality for the media to leech on. I still have confidence that the United States is first and foremost a centrist nation, and that the median of the political spectrum is still right smack in the middle. If that’s the case, than whoever caters most to the moderates will win in 2012. In the unlikely event that Bachmann or Perry nab the GOP nomination, President Obama would win a second term in a landslide. Even if the president's approval rating is still hovering around 45% next November, low voter turnout could work in his favor. The candidate that does the best job of playing to the center usually succeeds, and it's hard to imagine the governor or the congresswoman toning down their message to impact moderates.

My previous statement may seem biased, but I have a hard time taking candidates seriously when they use their religious beliefs for political gain. I have just as much skepticism towards Perry's bible-toting and Bachmann's denial of gay rights as I do Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sought to create a country where no faith trumped any other, and while it is noble to hold strong Christian values, their strictness applies only to a strident minority of Americans. This is not how the phrase "God above nation" is supposed to work. As it stands, I predict the GOP nomination will be a three-way race; Romney's mainstream conservatism will be pitted against Ron Paul's en vogue libertarianism and Bachmann's Tea Party traditionalism. For all his fervor, Perry entered the race too late to make a true difference; he's just shaking up the pot, telling angry conservatives what they want to hear, and feeding off the frontrunners. There's nothing to worry about... for now.

Other notes:

+ At long last, the 2011 Beloit College mindset list --which I blogged about two months ago-- has been released. When I wrote "my" list, I had totally forgotten that this year's incoming college freshmen have never ordered from the Sears catalog, and that Kim Jong Il has always been taunting the United States. Here's the link: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2015/

+ Being an Illinoisan, I did not feel nor was I affected by the 5.8 earthquake in northeast Virginia, though I know a few people out here that did feel a faint tremor. Were any of you shaken by the quake?

+ Fielders Update: after a temporary panic, the troubled Lake County ballclub shut down for a week or so, than began a new, revised schedule that gives them more home games (thus, less money spent on airfare). Considering that the Fielders are the only team in the NABL that plays in this region of the continent --three teams play in Canada, one in Honolulu-- and their obvious money woes, the future of the organization beyond 2011 is still in doubt. More details as they arise.

Next week: the year in music, 1991.

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