Before proceeding, I must say that my favorite part of primary night was hearing Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a Romney man, refer on MSNBC to "Communist China." I don't know that I've heard that rather antiquated term since Everett Dirksen, but considering that the GOP remains the party of hula hoops, bomb shelters, Davy Crockett hats and June Cleaver gowns, no doubt the nostalgia was intentional. (Odd, though, that no one else attending my combination "Out of the UN!"-Tupperware party last night seemed taken aback.)
But back to the present reality, however frightful it may be. And for me at least, that reality is beginning to blur. Which is to say, does it really make much difference whether it's Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum as the GOP's standard-bearer? To put it in Gingrichese, Is there, any longer, any fundamental distinction between these two ideologically hyperventilating gigolos?
Sure, Santorum is the True Believer. Yet the party's base is the wind, and Romney is the flatulence, so as the wind goes, so goes Mr. Romney. Thus as a practical, operational matter of Party Ideology Unbound, with either gentleman we get an umpteenth tax cut, marriage police, and mushroom clouds over Iran -- and who in, or out of, his right-wing mind could ask for anything more?
Speaking of Communist China ... When we actually did that with some regularity, the modern GOP's prototypical Libertarian-Social Moralist, Barry Goldwater, had first to face down liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller for the presidential nomination of 1964 -- the year of the party's official right-wing detonation. Extraordinary, is it not, that in 2012, Goldwater would not have survived Iowa, being the "'60s liberal" that he would be deemed.
My most cherished Goldwater quote, which years later he intoned not out of delight, but despair: "Perhaps I'm one of the reasons this place [Washington, D.C.] is so redneck."