Just in time, our frayed nerves can go back tonight to the quiet and calm of “Downton Abbey” in World War I after a weekend of Republicans crying havoc over Barack Obama, pausing only in sniping at one another for restful outbursts of road rage, blaming the President for everything wrong in the 21st century world.
Robotic Mitt Romney, as befits a frontrunner, leads the pack in letting “slip the dogs of war,” stabbing today’s Caesar with a Tiffany icepick at every possible turn, claiming that the nation needs to be saved by the kind of downsizing he did at Bain and starting a trade war with China.
Newt Gingrich, who came out of Iowa snarling at Romney, backs off his attacks with sneers at Obama and a fervent defense of marriage as between one man and one woman, reminding those who have been paying attention that he has done it three times under two religious faiths.
Rick Santorum, trying to sound normal, backs off his “man on dog” rhetoric about homosexuality and, when asked what he would do if his son told him he was gay, says piously, “I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it” and urge him to be celibate.
Only Ron Paul sounds relatively honest in defending his consistent views of an alternate universe, and Jon Huntsman's interjections of sanity seem too little too late.
How much of this can human minds take? The Republican campaign has gone well beyond unleashing the dogs of class warfare but poking at them with sharp sticks. When voters register with the Grand Old Party these days, do they get injections making them immune to truth?
The U.S. economy is improving, however slowly, and President Obama is winding down Middle East wars on George W. Bush’s schedule, but the GOP wannabes are picturing America as a burning Atlanta in “Gone With the Wind,” while debate moderators spent all their time trying to get them to pummel one another rather than acknowledging American reality toward the end of Obama’s first term.
Downton Abbey’s World War I will be a haven of human decency by comparison.
Update: Romney tries to have it both ways (what else is new?), declaring in the debate that his dad, who ran an auto company and became a governor, told him to “never get involved in politics if you have to win election to pay a mortgage.”
If that sounded elitist, he tells a crowd afterward, “I was just a high school kid like everybody else with skinny legs. And, you know, I imagined that I’d be in business all my career. And somehow I backed into the chance to do this.”
In Romneyworld, if your family is rich enough, you can back in all the way to the White House on skinny legs and a mouth only loosely connected to your brain.