Yesterday was the primary day in Illinois and Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primary going away. Last night I listened to his victory speech and Rick Santorum's non-victory speech after the race was called. My reaction to both speeches can be summed up in two words: How lame.
Admittedly, this is the first time I have really listened to a speech from either of the candidates all the way through from beginning to end, so I don't know if this is typical of their message to voters, but from what I gather from previous snippets that I've heard and from reading about the campaigns, I suspect the speeches were typical. They seemed to carry all of the themes that I have heard about in past coverage. Their watchword, of course, is "freedom."
Yes, this generation of Republicans really, really believes in freedom.
- Freedom of corporations to rape the land and sea and pollute the atmosphere and continue to heat up the earth until it is unlivable.
- Freedom of the rich to do virtually whatever they want without restrictions and to not pay any taxes whatsoever even though they profit more than anyone else from the taxes that the rest of us pay.
- Freedom of the states to decide who will be allowed to vote in their elections, even if it means, in practice, denying the right to vote to large populations of citizens who would otherwise be eligible.
- Freedom to deny workers the right to organize and try to improve their working conditions through collective bargaining.
- Freedom of people who can't afford medical services or insurance to cover medical services to die early deaths and get out of the way.
- Freedom to build a 20 foot tall electrified fence between the United States and Mexico that will instantly kill anyone from south of the border who touches it.
- Freedom to impose Christianity and their own warped interpretation of that religion ("Blessed are the rich...") as the state religion. No other religions need apply.
- Freedom to distort the teaching of science to their children to conform to their own prejudices rather than to the truths revealed by actual unbiased research.
Yes, these Republicans are all for freedom. Freedom for everyone to believe exactly what they believe and behave exactly as they behave.
There's one freedom that you will never hear them mention though. That, of course, is the freedom of women to control their own lives and bodies. No, in this - as, in fact, in a lot of things - these Republicans are very much aligned with the Taliban. They really should change the name of their party to the American Taliban Party.
Poor Republican voters. What lousy choices they have in this primary season. Romney or Santorum. Each is equally unpresidential.