Although we all know you can’t spell Politico without POO, the story about Paul Ryan referring to Romney as “Stench” and Boston calling Ryan “Gilligan” certainly has the benefit of plausibility; after all, even children understand that there’s no honor among thieves, and certainly no loyalty. Like Palin before him, Ryan was hurriedly trotted out to shore up a disillusioned base for a disappointing nominee, and mistook what amounted to a disastrous error as some sort of divine anointment. The conservative punditocracy naturally swooned, as it is wont to do, and both Palin and Ryan let all the undeserved adulation go straight to their heads, as would any other overrated narcissist suddenly plucked from richly earned obscurity.
Now, it seems, the buyer’s remorse has set in. Ever since Reagan, Republicans have searched for the perfect candidate not amongst those who might have been actually capable of serving as President, but merely one who could convincingly play one on TV while their funders emptied the national cash drawer. The results have been predictably calamitous (see Bush, George W), leaving the party with the stench, if you will, of craven and opportunistic corruption imperfectly drowned out with the loud and fervent thumping of chests and bibles in roughly equal measure.
Sadly, in the case of both McCain and Romney, the lead actors weren’t exactly Oscar material, so they belatedly cast about for a sidekick who might steal the show and rescue it from inevitably going straight to video. Sadder still, they chose toxic and self-serving grifters utterly incapable of team play, and thus wound up looking as stupid as they already were otherwise unappealing. Worst of all, said grifters almost immediately reverted to form; backstabbing, second-guessing, and whining all the way; and while the top of the ticket was left twisting slowly in the wind, they were busily negotiating behind the scenes for the Fox hairdressers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians who would make them as ravishing as they so clearly thought they were.
In the topsy-turvy world of Republican politics, failure has but one trajectory: upward; and those too addlepated or egotistical (and McCain and Romney are, for all their apparent differences, both), simply failed to see that they weren’t choosing a running mate as much as they were creating the next eager and permanent recipient of wingnut welfare. McCain, with his wealthy wife, safe Senate seat, and an indeterminate number of homes, and Romney with his car elevator and Cayman Islands bank accounts, simply failed to grasp that their chosen VP’s only climbed on board in search their next meal ticket.
As their campaigns increasingly resemble the last flight of the space shuttle Challenger, the gasbags of the right have resorted to airily dismissing catastrophic poll numbers as further evidence of a biased media bent on their destruction, even as their billionaire puppet masters switch their loyalties and dollars to down-ballot races that might have some chance of success, engaging in just the sort of “redistribution” they endlessly decry in every deceptive ad with which they assault a weary electorate. (With decreasing effectiveness, I might add…).
But just as Republicans are graceless and gloating in victory, they are whiny and blame-shifting in defeat; both unlovable traits to be sure, but entirely pragmatic, given the comparative life expectancy of a term in office versus a guest slot on Fox. In that sense, calling a loathsome one-hit wonder like Ryan “Gilligan” may be something of a compliment; look how long that show lasted in syndication.