Roger L. Simon

Of Political Nausea, Dentists and Fortune Cookies

With the results in from Arizona and Michigan, favoring Romney to greater and lesser degrees, the Republican race has gone on to yet another stage.

To wit: If Santorum loses to Romney in Ohio on Super Tuesday, the race is over and belongs to Mittens.

Well, maybe not… but at least probably… or possibly… or….

Of course, Santorum is still substantially ahead in the Buckeye State by a Real Clear Politics average of +8, even more if you discount the earliest poll on their list, which was taken way back in January, essentially the Middle Ages for this campaign.

But no doubt Romney will get a bounce. The question is how much.

What remains, however, are the grounds on which this race are being fought — virtually nothing. Until the general election, the policy differences between the candidates (other than Paul on foreign policy) are only discernible with the aid of an electron microscope.

That being the case, you would think things might be at least somewhat gentlemanly but, in the sense that nature abhors a vacuum, this election is being fought at 8.7 on the Richter/Anger Scale. A Romney PAC spends umpteen millions bashing Gingrich. A Gingrich PAC spends umpteen millions bashing Romney. Santorum robocalls Michigan Democrats to cross the line and vote for him (exploiting a union campaign doing the same thing out of fear of Romney), etc., etc.

None of this is about their ideas because — there’s nothing to say about them when there’s nothing to dispute. You can say, of course, that your opponent is a liar — or imply it. That seems to be a good part of the case against Romney, once the conservative standard bearer against McCain but now evidently not conservative enough, though he has not served in office one second since he was the conservative standard bearer nor cast a single vote, conservative or otherwise. Go figure.

As far as Obamacare is concerned, many worry that Romney actually won’t repeal it, although I think I have heard him say “I will repeal Obamacare” more times than I heard the old American Express slogan “Don’t leave home without it” and “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” put together. I can’t even begin to imagine how many times Romney said it without my hearing it.

But is he lying? Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I would venture a guess it’s highly unlikely. More likely would be, in the event Romney were elected, at the inauguration gala the night skies would part not for the aurora borealis but for a blinking light show saying “OBAMACARE/REPEALED” accompanied by fireworks (unfortunately made in China — but nobody’s perfect).

The same goes for Santorum. Some have gotten their noses out of joint because at one point he voted against right-to-work legislation (gag me with a spoon — he’s a politician). But he says as president he would be for right-to-work and I am about 99.99% sure that he means it. Why wouldn’t he?

Of course none of this stops the commentariat — bloggers, pundits and commenters — across the conservative blogosphere and virtually everywhere else from accusing one candidate or the other of being the Antichrist. How many can there be? Well, at this point apparently just as many as there are candidates. And if anyone jumps in, he’ll be the Antichrist too.

But never mind. It’s human nature, though it’s far from democracy’s finest hour. It’s also on the edge of turning this political junkie into a real junkie. The only way I can abide this campaign anymore is to make bad jokes about it (see above). It’s like going to a dentist’s appointment that lasts for four months. I yearn for it to be over and for the real election to begin. At this point I’d take anybody – just get it over with.

Speaking of bad jokes, more than anything right now I’m feeling like that old one from a Chinese fortune cookie: “Help! Help! Am being held captive at the Hong Kong Noodle Company!”

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on photos of the candidates shot by Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com.)