The Great White GOP Hope, in the wings

by Robert S. Becker

Will the Righteous Right survive its inane scrum deciding which defective personality carries forth its backward-bounding banner? True, the GOP message this season especially blends the vacuous and vicious, but that’s hardly stopped a resurgent national party, awash in money and media, from securing better hawkers.

Is the rightwing base so dumb not to realize that skewering its own frontrunners helps the vulnerable president they’re dying to depose? And what poll-struck, bottom-dwellers — from Romney to Trump to Bachmann to Perry to Cain. Why, if there were a bold, imaginative opposition party, I bet it could leverage such idiots spouting, well, idiocy. Dream on.

What’s clearly settled is the Obama re-election strategy — play down the unpopular reign of disappointments while spending a king’s ransom to vilify the last opponent standing, preferably a Texas Tea Party goon. Thus, Obama’s strongest foe, Romney, gets scissored this weekend by the Obama team (as a ruthless, unprincipled flip-flopper) and by his own cohorts (as a ruthless, unprincipled cultist). Irony alert, especially for this president, but let that bide.

GOP Cultists Galore

To sum up, non-Christian Romney may be shunned by good-hearted, torture-loving fundees whose non-cult thinking reads storms and floods as God’s wrath. All the while, an incredible number of born-agains accept the ultimate cultist conflagration, the Rapture — entirely a 19th C. concoction, unmentioned anywhere in the literal Bible. Let’s not ignore the Lone Star prophet “brutalized” for his faith, as Mrs. Perry explains her husband’s debate trials, and his own burning bush (just like Moses, fabled tribal-cult figure).

And as Rush Limbaugh piles on, dissing Mitt as “no conservative” and Perry as unprepared, who’s left but that phony “populist,” Herman Cain, a long shot winner? Before storms strike down the blatantly wicked right — punished by the withhold of a great leader, let’s scour the underbrush — anyone but the deranged Bachmann, the prevaricator Gingrich, or the medieval moralist Santorum. I have a modest, if belated proposal. But is it ever too late for a nationally-known, war-loving war hero, re-confirmed as fringe favorite, and yes, one who knows the presidential campaign ropes? Right, you guessed the GOP messiah, the David against the incumbent — Senator John (“Quick, I’m not getting younger”) McCain.

Whoops, survived that fall, let alone the guffaw, shock, or disgust? Yet imagine that dramatic last minute GOP Convention script: white-haired cowboy hero enters on his white horse, destined for the White House. Look, if Romney and Perry already by polling test our wounded Mighty Mouse, favored by only 4 in 10 voters, would not a McCain rerun be a stronger trial?

Yes, that McCain — but only if kept far from attractive, belligerently-ignorant starlet V.P.’s. Sorry, Michele, blame the Palin. Romney works, lacking the attack-dog growl, or maybe a reconditioned, feisty Perry if he passes candidate-in-training drills. Playacting politico Herman Cain could fit — a sop to minorities, but this time without giving the black guy real power. Consider the rhythmic, incantatory magic of a “McCain-Cain” ticket — or their motto: “War Hero and Cain, too, Fearless on Muslims, terrorists, whistleblowers and illegals.” Look, re-nominating McCain is no less crazed than veteran pundit Earl Hutchinson’s jaw-dropping, serious daydream, “The Unthinkable: a Cain Versus Obama Match-Up.”

McCain Outside the Box

The overall point is: Romney the non-Christian, non-conservative, non-sexy is a non-winner even months before primaries, offending vast numbers of the right’s most populous constituency. Perry is a boob whose Texas bluster won’t show well north of the Mason-Dixon line in any big states. Bachmann and Cain join Gingrich and Santorum as Obama’s dream candidates — bring ’em on, this White House snorts, the easiest to pulverize as dangerous, radical nincompoops.

Rescheduled primaries will hobble any late entry by those less well known than a McCain. Imagine being a despairing party power broker (or voter) — who else is now as conspicuously conservative, as visible, and not part of the GOP top brass? No one not named Bush. Having finally shucked childish maverick heresies, utterly sanitized with recent pro-war and anti-immigration hysteria, McCain could win over nativist, racist Tea Partiers once wary of his faith. He was unapologetic when regaining his senate seat: all bets are off — manifestly, he will do whatever it takes to win.

A Stirring Acceptance Speech

McCain’s strengths extend beyond pragmatic levers, like winning primaries, skill with humorous one-liners, or raising vast campaign sums. Think of the stellar symbolism and the golden narrative. Ultimately, look to the shining, redemptive message for America — awakening, let’s see, to a new morning for that beacon on the hill:

“My fellow, true Americans, we need not abandon hope, just find the rightward way. Cherish your optimism, for I am proof positive that redoes and reruns are not impossible dreams. Together we can overcome national despair by first repairing one historic blunder, showing the world 2008 was not forever. Okay, you screwed up, but I have overcome my bitterness at being passed over by that neophyte, smooth-talking city slicker. Are we not all relieved, as is my disaster-loving party, that Obama’s calamitous years prove this hustling one-trick pony was the wrong guy in the wrong job at the wrong time? But I hold no grudges.

I forgive you mushy centrists for preferring youth over wisdom — and that bogus line about America being one country, when everyone knows we’re split constituencies who can’t stand each other. How often does history present a great and exceptional country the good fortune to reverse an indescribably bonehead decision? Not often. Admitting faults is the beginning of positive change. Hear that, Obama? I wasn’t perfect, nor were you, but take heart — we can together fix our blunders — elect me and reestablish the historic inevitability I saw when still a prisoner of war. I had a lot of free time.

America, set a new and redemptive course, elect a war hero who’s never met a war (or looming menace, like Iran) he didn’t think justified massive pre-emptive invasions. Elect a president who wants to build that wall against immigrants, who knows we must modify Social Security and Medicare — just a little, nip and tuck — and who thinks top CEOs rose to the top by commandeering their own businesses, government be damned.”

Trust me, there’s nothing a McCain presidency won’t do to resolve your fear and loathing, especially about exotic foreigners ruining the neighborhood. I consider myself, like W., born-again after my hard Senate trial, ready to worship unalloyed Yankee exceptionalism. I say, before our lowlands get flooded by rising seas and/or Mexicans, vote in one last true American Christian white guy in the White House. Or else, who knows what divine punishment may ruin our future — a plague maybe of sharia law on one hand or daily, annoying noisy Mexican festivals on the other. The New Straight Talk Express is back, redeemed as I am, and ready to take on the future and lead the way home — or to the Rapture, whichever comes first. Am I a quick study or what?”

So, think a McCain candidacy far-fetched now? America loves never-say-die losers almost as much as it does never-say-die winners — especially admiring presidents, refused the first time, who heroically took the White House: Jack Kennedy, LBJ, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush I. Really, what do skittish, indecisive Republicans have to lose — against that minority incumbent guy with disintegrating approval ratings and no party coat tails? Got any better candidates?