Values gone astray, and all that.

Behold!  A rather tedious observation from David Brooks.

I was also struck, as in New Hampshire and Iowa, by the mood of this year’s rallies. Republican audiences this year want a restoration. America once had strong values, they believe, but we have gone astray. We’ve got to go back and rediscover what we had. Heads nod enthusiastically every time a candidate touches this theme.
I agree with the sentiment, but it makes for an incredibly backward-looking campaign. I sometimes wonder if the Republican Party has become the receding roar of white America as it pines for a way of life that will never return.

Yeah.  This is the nature of two things.  The party out of the Executive Office trying to get back in, and the voters for the “Conservative” Party.  It is thus enfused in every Republican Party campaign, and doubly so when running against a Democratic Incumbent.  The nature of the Ronald Reagan 1984 campaign thus becomes we’re back on the rightful track of the 1950s, and the Bob Dole Campaign of 1996 becomes demanding to get back on track to the 1950s.
Romney just doesn’t have that juice to track back to the ages, even if he’s sounding the themes of Calvin Coolidge.
You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Romney lost to Santorum in Iowa
.  Which is good, because years from now when the newspapers stick up the years of the past winners of the Republican Primaries and caucuses, Santorum will be slotted in with that slot.
And which, I guess, would mean that Santourm should be coalesced into that “Anti Romney” corner.  But for

No sooner were the certified results announced — he edged Mitt Romney by 34 votes — than even bigger political news broke: that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was dropping out of the race and endorsing Newt Gingrich.
And rather quickly, the Perry-Gingrich news overshadowed Mr. Santorum’s gold star from Iowa.

The news that was overshadowed by this diabolical move from Rick Perry, of course, being a statistically insignificant shift in voting numbers changed the outcome of a vote tally that doesn’t affect the delegate counting.  It’s all about Bragging Rights.  Because, um, that’s all anyone other than Mitt Romney has in this nomination.  Other than Ron Paul, who I guess has some 40 year mission to turn the nation into — hm… David Brooks, take it away:
Ron Paul’s supporters are so grateful. The world was once confusing, but then they read “End the Fed” and the scales fell from their eyes. Paul himself is fascinating because as some smart person observed (I’ve forgotten who), he thinks serially, not causally. The income tax happened and the Patriot Act happened and the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, bailed out the banks and job growth stinks. Paul doesn’t bother with logical links. He just strings events together and assumes causation.
More Santorum news. In that “WTF?” items:

Wednesday afternoon, all the Republican presidential candidates except Mitt Romney spoke at a town-hall meeting in Greenville, South Carolina, organized by Personhood USA, the hardline anti-abortion group. It should have been Santorum’s sweet spot—after all, no other candidate has made social issues so central to his campaign. The forum seemed designed to amplify his attacks on Romney. Each candidate was questioned for 20 minutes by a panel of three anti-abortion activists, who made frequent reference to Romney’s pro-choice past and his refusal to attend the event. In the end, though, the night might have hurt Santorum most of all.
For one thing, the audience was dominated, unexpectedly, by vocal Ron Paul supporters, with only a small number of visible Santorum fans. That’s a bad sign for the ex-senator, since if he can’t dominate at an anti-abortion gathering, he can’t dominate anywhere. Worse, while hundreds of attendees were inside the Greenville Hilton ballroom, someone was slipping flyers on their windshields warning that when it comes to abortion, Santorum is really a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who doesn’t mean what he says.

Hm.  That should help Ron Paul with his left plank.
In other news… David Brooks has a really weird son.
I brought my 12-year-old son on this latest trip. My rule is that if a candidate can’t relate well to a 12-year-old, they’ll never win a general election. He approached all the candidates, and they were all wonderful except Gingrich. But that wasn’t Gingrich’s fault. My son, whose heroes include John Boehner and Tupac Shakur, picked an argument about gay marriage. Gingrich engaged, but after 10 seconds signaled security to brush my kid away.

Mind you, it’s not even that he’s a 12 year old fan of John Boehner that makes him weird, it’s that he’s a fan of John Boehner — period.  Whatever, we see him flummoxing Gingrich on gay marriage — surely would do the same with Boehner.
Local teen Brian Lemire, who reports indicate is by far the most bizarre person within his age group anywhere in America, purchased a season-one DVD box set of the early ’90s CBS sitcom Murphy Brown this weekend. “It’s going to be a real treat to enjoy this landmark show’s debut episodes and see where the magic all began,” said the staggeringly weird Lemire, who, despite being a 16-year-old living in the year 2011, was somehow “especially psyched” for the long-forgotten program’s Dan Quayle jokes and its guest appearances from late character actor Darren McGavin.
Anyway, we’re left to Gingrich as the Defender of Traditional Values in a country that’s gone astray.  So is the message sent by Rick Perry.
And a time for Dan Savage to slam the latest appearance by his ex-wife on the attempts for an open marriage
Wholly Patriotic Open marriage, mind you.
But … why discuss anyone but Romney?

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