Take a long, hard look, Mississippi.
The Republican party once represented the voice of reason in this country. When wild-eyed Democrats wanted to jump into a war, or buy whatever they thought we should have regardless of the price, we had, in the GOP, a party of sober, thoughtful people to rein them in. It's the way it was designed to work. The strengths of one party are supposed to compliment the weaknesses of the other. It worked well for a long time. But we have a problem now. Those sober, thoughtful people have gone the way of the dodo in Congress. They can no longer be found in the leadership of the Republican party. Oh, they're still out there, beyond the beltway. Out of the reach of the crazy people. I know lots of them. I bet you do too. They are the very salt of the earth. Fine, good, decent, honorable people. But they don't get elected to national office any more. Now, if you're not a mean old white man who cares more about protecting his and his fellow solons' wealth than he does about whether or not you can buy a decent life with what you can earn now, or a fire-breathing theocrat who seeks to insert the government farther into your bedroom, your medical care, and your pocketbook than any wild-eyed tax and spend Democrat ever dreamed of doing -- you don't have a prayer of being elected. It's a grave loss, and not just for the GOP. It's a grave loss for the country.
What we have now, in the two men running neck and neck for the Republican nomination for the presidency, are prototypes of the two wings of the Republican party in 2012: the Ebeneezer Scrooge wing, and the American Taliban wing.
Mitt Romney's loyalties lie with the moneyed class, period. He barely notices the rest of us. If we can take him at his word, and if it's still valid to measure him by his accomplishments in life, we can expect him to govern with an unapologetic sympathy for the tiny minority of the 300 million people he will have been elected to serve, and with an equally unapologetic bias towards that same tiny minority, who have been showered with favors at taxpayer expense for the last 30 years. Who, in other words, simply do not need any more favors from us. And Rick Santorum (whose own tiny minority is bigger than Romney's, but still much smaller than the noise they make would lead you to believe), has the same goals for America that the Taliban has for Afghanistan: to establish his religious priorities as the law of the land, Constitution be damned. He is equally unapologetic for his distinctly un-American positions. If I were a Republican faced with such a choice I would commit ritual suicide. Barring the requisite mental illness for that choice, I'd jump ship and vote Democrat.
In presidential politics in 2012, the millions of honorable Republicans who still exist, not as candidates but as voters, have no other real choice. You may feel it's more important to remove Barack Obama than to install a fascist or a theocrat. Certainly that's been the establishment GOP position since the man took office. I could spend several more pages on that particular bit of nonsense -- but this is getting long. For now, I'll just respectfully suggest that anyone who shares that disgraceful opinion re-examine it.
These are your choices Republicans. Once you could have voted, within your party, for an honorable candidate along the lines of a Buddy Roemer or a Ron Paul. You no longer have that option. If you would vote for a yellow dog as long as he was a Republican, in 2012 you'll be voting for a man who not only has no respect for you, you'll also be voting for one who feels the Constitution is just a little bit too inconvenient for his taste. I don't think that dog has many more years to hunt in Mississippi. We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse, by golly. If there's any place left in this grand old country where the Constitution still matters to people, it's in Mississippi. (Hat tip to Merle Haggard).
Bill Clinton said "Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line." Mississippi is dismissed, by the people who tell us what to think, as totally predictable. As a state that will fall in line with the national GOP as sure as the sun's gonna rise. We showed them they got that wrong recently. We voted down the Personhood Amendment. The people in charge of the push for theocracy picked us as "The State Most Likely To Go For Something Crazy As Long As It's A Republican Telling Them To Do It" and thus a good place to begin. It was so great to see Mississippi voters put them in their place. To prove them wrong. If there was ever a time to prove it again, it's going to be in November of 2012.
Think long and hard about it my friends. There's kind of a lot riding on it.