Surprise, surprise … Newt Gingrich won yesterday’s South Carolina primary, trailed by Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and finally poor old Ron Paul, who finished a dismal fourth. There were some people—over 2,500 of them—who insisted on voting for candidates who are no longer in the race; whether this is because they haven’t been keeping up with the news, or simply because they’re trying to make a statement, is unclear. Actually, most of those votes went to Herman Cain … but in reality, those votes went to Stephen Colbert, who is launching a satirical campaign of his own. Since Colbert couldn’t get on the ballot—and Cain couldn’t get off—the two teamed up to further spoof our electoral process. And why would Cain, a supposedly “serious” candidate who just recently left the race, do this? Well … because he was never serious at all—but he still won’t admit it.
Even as Cain appeared with Colbert and loaned his name to the very dubious cause, he said, “This event … helps to bring attention to the crisis of the situation we are in. Every vote counts. Now Stephen Colbert asks you to vote for Herman Cain. I’m going to ask you not to vote for Herman Cain. I don’t want you to waste your vote. … Because every vote counts and you count, which has been my message.”
Colbert, for his money, said this: “Now some of you might be too young to remember, but years ago, back in 2010, there were still limits on how much corporations could spend on elections. … And faced with this tragic lack of corporate influence in our government, two years ago, five courageous, unelected justices on the Supreme Court took a stand. … They ruled, since corporations are people, and people have the right to free speech, and money equals speech, corporations have the constitutional right to spend unlimited money on political speech.
“With the stroke of a gavel, these brave men leveled the playing field, and then sold the naming rights to that playing field to Bank of America.
“But these wise men know there had to be some reasonable restrictions, to protect all that innocent money from the corrupting influence of politicians. So they declared that unlimited corporate and union and billionaire bucks had to be completely independent of the campaigns, and so Super PACs were born unto us.”
And according to MSNBC: Colbert has been criticized by some for using the primary as the backdrop for a running joke on his show. He addressed that criticism during Friday’s rally.
“If they are calling being allowed to form a Super PAC, and collecting unlimited and untraceable amounts of money from individuals, unions, and corporations and spend that money on political ads and for personal enrichment, and then surrender that Super PAC to one of my closest friends while I explore a run for office, if that is a joke, then they are saying that our entire campaign finance system is a joke. And I don’t know about you, but I have been paid to be offended by that.”
Whatever. The results of yesterday’s primary mean that my prediction that Newt will be the next one to go is almost surely erroneous. This latest development in no way makes me believe that he actually has a shot at the nomination; however, it looks like Santorum is going to be stepping down before Newt.
Others do believe that Gingrich will roll on to victory—if for no other reason than that since 1980, the winner in South Carolina has always ended up being the nominee.
Well … I’m calling bullshit on that one. I have a feeling that Newt will lose it down in Florida and get himself locked up for felonious assault—either that or he’ll stroke out. It wasn’t a good sign that paramedics were standing by at the last two debates; what’s worse is that I thought they were going to have to resuscitate him four or five times in the first ten minutes.
For details on the South Carolina primary, go here.
Before voters headed to the polls, Mitt Romney called on Gingrich to release records of his dealings with failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—a gambit that failed miserably since old Mitt has thus far refused to produce his tax returns. Romney also pointed to the ethics investigation that resulted in the former speaker’s reprimand—and of course the new allegations raised by one of Newt’s former wives claiming that he is more in tune with bigamy than Romney has ever been.
But so what? Gingrich’s history—and Romney’s, for that matter—of being devious, underhanded, corrupt, and morally reprehensible is a matter of public record; in fact, members of the GOP routinely flaunt these characteristics as badges of honor and fine example of what an American should be.
Indeed. In other elections news, the Supreme Court has thrown out a map created by a federal court in Texas that drew new congressional districts in response to the state’s gain of four new seats in the House. Texas, with its longstanding record of discrimination and voter fraud, is one of a few states that must seek the federal government’s approval when attempting to deny its citizens of one of their most basic rights. Yeehaw.
Meanwhile, President Obama has hinted at what he will cover in Tuesday’s State of the Union address—namely manufacturing, energy, education, job training and a “return to American values.”
Obama said this: “We can go in two directions. One is toward less opportunity and less fairness. Or we can fight for where I think we need to go: building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”
According to MSNBC: Obama is expected to offer new proposals to make college more affordable and to ease the housing crisis still slowing the economy, according to people familiar with the speech. He will also promote unfinished parts of his jobs plan, including the extension of a payroll tax cut soon to expire.
And in business news, home prices are expected to keep falling in 2012. Enough said.
As for global affairs, it turns out that Kim Dotcom, the man behind MegaUpload (which was just shut down by American authorities), is a fat, rich, pompous asshole who deserves whatever he gets. Don’t believe me? Follow that link and read all about it. I’m ashamed to say that he also goes by “Kim Schmitz.”
In related news, the hacker group Anonymous apparently duped a lot of people into participating in their latest attack—the one that shut down websites belonging to the FBI, Department of Justice, and others. It was billed as their biggest effort yet—and they achieved it by hiding malicious code in innocent-looking links embedded in their various feeds. A word of warning: be careful about where you click if you happen to visit one of their sites. (I linked to one of them a couple of days ago. I’m tempted to remove the link … but … fuck it.)
So … what about SOPA/PIPA? It’s been a hot topic on this site and many others—and was the driving force behind a major Internet “blackout” protest on January 18, which Secret Laboratory participated in—but now, thanks mostly to that protest, the legislation has been shelved. This is a temporary win—more legislation is sure to come—but any new bills may not be objectionable to First Amendment proponents and the general public.
Finally, on a personal note, my marriage has more-or-less disintegrated in a blizzard of lies and infidelity. It’s a tough old world, but you can’t go through life crying—it annoys people at the movies.
So, here’s a few poignant music videos, followed by your regular dose of wisdom.
The show must go on.
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of four books.
E-mail Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.