An Annotated Oral History of the Fuckery That Was the 2012 GOP Race

Republicans admit they jumped the shark years ago, in their own words.

By Chris Longo

Who’s the next guardian of our unalienable rights? Is it a failed CEO or brain-dead surgeon? Is it a brother so proud of his political heritage that he replaced his last name with an exclamation point? Might it be the human parasite with a bad haircut propped up on a soapbox while playing fast and loose with our basic liberties? All Men are Created Equal, after all, unless they’re card-carrying Muslims.

The clown car has gone rogue. Two months from now, delegates will gather in Iowa for a closed caucus and if all goes well, in a full calendar year, President Trump will initiate a partial shutdown of the Internet. Bolder. Brasher. Un-Factual. It’s a campaign slogan for a new political era, one in which the GOP polling leader can run on a platform of fear and intimidation.

It makes you wax nostalgic for the simpler times, when unfulfilled campaign promises disappeared into the pages of history books, or faded between the margins of old newspapers, or were buried with the crooks. I imagine every election cycle since the birth of this nation had a newspaper, somewhere, with a newsy shouting the headline “Worst Crop of Candidates Ever!” Only now when you Google search that headline with the modifier “2016,” 23,000,00 results turn up. How did we get here? Who let it all spiral out of control?

It all began one morning in 2008 when Sarah Palin stepped onto her front yard, picked up the morning paper, and waved to Mr. Putin over in neighboring Russia. The pratfalls of the GOP’s botched 2008 stab at the White House led to a heightened sense of urgency in 2010 that paid off for the party in a big way, netting them 63 new seats in the House and 6 more in the Senate. All eyes were now on 2012. The elephants were ready to Make America Red Again. Then it spiraled out of control. Herman Cain. Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul. Rick Santorum. Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney. You get the idea. Less we forget the current group of 2016 GOP hopefuls are here to make up for the campaign sins of 2012.

History isn’t repeating itself; it’s deteriorating the future.

"Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, it's never easy when there is so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference.”- Herman Cain quoting a line from “Pokémon: The Movie 2000” after dropping out of the GOP nomination race, CNN Entertainment 12/5/2011

Mr. Cain is referring to an idea called a democracy, in which citizens play a significant role in the government by appointing public figures to address the concerns of the common man. By referencing “Pokémon: The Movie 2000,” he is alluding to the protagonist Ash Ketchum being chosen by a young shrine maiden named Melody to face the arduous task of retrieving the three glass balls from each of the legendary birds' islands, also know as the titans of fire, ice and lightning. Mr. Cain uses the plot of the movie as a metaphor for the gamesmanship necessary for the common man, like himself, to infiltrate Washington and unite our bicameral Congress and the White House. While the mission is highly unlikely from the get-go, as seen by Mr. Cain’s disastrous failed bid, Americans remain hopeful that someone, someday, will be our Ash Ketchum.

“Part of the distinction will be what I’ve actually done as a conservative leader for the last generation,” Newt Gingrich said, “and the degree to which in that same time frame Governor Romney was first a independent; then repudiated Reagan-Bush; then voted for Paul Tsongas, the most liberal candidate in the 1992 campaign; then ran to the left of Teddy Kennedy in 1994 [in Massachusetts]; then became a moderate to run for governor in 2002.” – GOP candidate Newt Gingrich on Mitt Romney, LA Times 1/4/2012

Mr. Gingrich, a Grand Old Party loyalist from the moment he popped out of the womb, has never considered changing teams. However, the record shows that his undoing in the 2012 GOP race was at least partially tied to his lack of allegiance in his personal life. His failure to warm up to female voters and the Christian right stemmed from his admitted infidelity, leaving his first wife while she was recovering from cancer surgery and his second wife after she was diagnosed with MS. The second affair came while Gingrich was loudly calling for President Clinton to be impeached. Some politicians labeled Mr. Gingrich as a “hypocrite.” In the lead up to Mr. Gingrich’s 2012 candidacy, Senator Tom Coburn found that Mr. Gingrich’s life “indicates that he does not have a commitment to the personality traits necessary to be a great president.”

Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery is written is stone on the Ten Commandments, not the Preamble. Yet, while he’s evidently a man well-endowed by his creator, Mr. Gingrich finds not himself, but his quest to save the country, at fault for his marital indiscretions. “There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country,” he said back in 2011, “I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

He’s queer, he’s crazy, he put a hit on me, and he took his clothes off.” - Rep. Ron Paul after being seduced in a dimly-lit hotel room on hidden camera by actor Sasha Baron Cohen’s character for the film “Bruno.”

Mr. Paul has gone on record to defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Yet, he has opposed legislature to define marriage in that way at the federal level because he views it as a state decision. When pressed on his most famous stance on gay marriage (“Sure, they can do whatever they want and call it whenever they want”) during a 2012 debate, Mr. Paul plugged the chapter in his book on marriage and took the power out of the hands of the federal government and gave it back to the states. He has his standards, he told the moderator, but “I shouldn’t impose my standards on others.”

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine.” – GOP candidate Mitt Romney, New York Times, 2/1/2012

The framers of the constitution were mostly college-educated lawyers. They represented the 1% of their day. Federalists, like James Madison, were in favor of representative government because they believed that citizens would chose to elect officials possessing ability, experience and talent superior to their own. Mr. Romney is a Harvard educated lawyer and his estimated net worth is upwards of $250 million.

"It's almost like an Etch A Sketch," said Eric Fehrnstrom. "You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again." - Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on making changes for the fall campaign, Fox News 3/23/12

"I have not written my public policy pronouncements on an Etch A Sketch," GOP rival Rick Santorum said while campaigning in Wisconsin. "They are written on my heart." – Sen. Rick Santorum referring to the comments made by Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom, Huffington Post 3/30/12

In the aftermath of the Etch A Sketch comments, the 107 year-old toy company unveiled special edition blue “democrat” and red “republican” products to capitalize off of its sudden relevance. Also, this marks the first time in the history of the American political system that a company has benefited off of comments made by a candidate. Despite high expectations on Wall Street, the Etch A Sketch boom of 2012 did not revive the United States economy.

“When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government,” President Obama said, “my thinking is maybe you haven’t gotten around a lot.” – President Obama on Mitt Romney’s comment that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government handouts, New York Times 9/20/2012

In the blustery New England winter of 1787, Daniel Shays led a ragtag group of angry farmers to the federal arsenal at Springfield to protest forecloses on their land. The attempt to overtake the federal arsenal sent shockwaves from the state government up to the weak central government powered by the Articles of Confederation. To George Washington, the incident verified “the predictions of our transatlantic foe,” and rendered the country “ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.” With the balance of the country at risk, the bigwigs of the time period gathered to create a stronger central government, one that would effectively take some of the power of out the hands of the people.

"There's only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare." - Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney on 60 Minutes, Business Insider 8/12/12

Modern Republicans are sticklers for constitution, the 227-year old document signed in blood by visionary, affluent white men. During the ratification process, two factions of idealists, known as Federalists and Antifederalists were divided on the extent to which government should be limited. Antifederalists believed the Constitution awarded a dangerous amount of power to the national government. While Federalists acknowledged the possibility of power being abused, they deemed a strong central government necessary for the greater good of the country. 

“If I am elected president of these United States I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future.  That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us.” – Mitt Romney after accepting the GOP nomination 

“People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.” – author Milan Kundera

Published December 17th, 2015