It’s caucus night! I’m not caucusing because that’s only for Republicans, but apparently dozens of my fellow citizens are wandering dazedly through middle school hallways looking for their precinct caucus room right now as I’m typing. God love ’em. This roundup has a Republican primary theme to it. Cue the Lee Greenwood sound track, and let’s rock:
- Who is Callista Bisek Gingrich, and why does she appear to be a strangely convincing Mad Men-era historical reenactor? Ariel Levy offers some insights: “She does not seem like a forty-five-year-old, or at least not like a forty-five-year-old of this era. She has the style and smile of an astronaut’s wife, even in her downtime. Once, in Cedar Rapids, I happened to run into her in the women’s bathroom at the airport. In her suit and pearls, with her stiff coiffure, she looked as if she had just exited a beauty parlor in 1962.” (My theory: it’s all in the coiff. She may have been a wash-n-wear kind of gal back in the day, but once you’re spending that kind of time and money on an oddly unfashionable hairdo, you’re all in.)
- From the right Alana Goodman argues that the Stepford Wife persona doesn’t actually make voters forget she’s Newt’s third wife. Rather, it makes the Gingrich marriage appear even stranger and more off-putting. I think the public should leave the spouses of the candidates alone, since after all they’re not running for anything, and if their wives or husbands win they won’t not be offered a paid position in the government. But Goodman is probably right that the deadeye Pat Nixon impersonation is only going to invite unwanted speculation. And those of you on the left may well think it only fair play given the ugliness that Michelle Obama has had to deal with, which has been clearly and persistently racialized.
- Who would have thought that Mommie would turn out to be one of the more interesting and powerful First Ladies on the Republican side? Give me Nancy Reagan any day, in her off-the-shoulder Galanos gown over Nixon or Barbara or Laura Bush. Cue the Dynasty soundtrack!
- In “Who in God’s Name is Mitt Romney?” Frank Rich argues that the mystery in the riddle wrapped in the enigma that is Willard Mitt Romney is in fact his religion, which although agressively evangelical is also famous for keeping its secrets and sacred rites to members only. Romney has devoted a great deal of his time and treasure to the Latter-Day Saints in his lifetime. Until he finds a way to talk about his faith more specifically and openly, Rich argues that Americans on the left, right, and center will continue to see him not as a man, but rather as as a disturbingly lifelike hologram of a presidental candidate.
- I don’t know if that’s true, but it has worked in the recent past when candidates have explained to the voters what their beliefs are and how those beliefs jibe with their politics. (See for example: John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.)
- With Romney on an anemic rise and no plausible challengers to his right , it’s no wonder that many on the right are praying for a “Sweet Meteor of Death” to rescue them from a Romney run in the fall. Too funny! I’ll say this about the 2008 Dem primary: as nasty as that got, I don’t think any but the most die-hard Obamabots or Hillary Clinton fan boys and girls were praying for planetary devastation so as to save them from having to support the other candidate’s nomination. Keep your eyes on the prize, my Republican friends! There’s always the chance that the Eurozone will pull the U.S. economy off a cliff again, and/or that Sweet Meteor of Death will strike. Remember, think like Ronald Reagan: sunny optimism, sunny optimism!