My husband loves ridiculous reality shows. It’s his guilty pleasure. During one program, I found a correlation between the perceptions seen in the show and how some politicians may be viewed during this election. Could these perceptions foretell the outcome of the presidential race in 2012?
One of the programs my wonderful husband enjoys is ABC’s “Wife Swap.” The program is about spouses from two different families that live with the other family to see what life there is like on the other side of the fence. The producers routinely select two homes from extremely different backgrounds. In the episode we watched the other day, the two groups included a family headed by a loving, liberal, lesbian couple, and a family led by an biting, self-righteous, and evidently emotionally injured couple. It was a train wreck!
At one point during the week the heteroamorous wife lived with the lesbian woman and her two children, the angry woman began spouting off about how she thought being gay was a birth defect, that she didn’t like Mexicans, and that she would abort a Down’s syndrome baby, and many other unkind views. Now, admittedly, she is entitled to her beliefs and views; however, to spew this vitriol in the home of a lesbian woman who has Mexican friends, and another friend with a Down’s syndrome baby was a mistake.
The lesbian woman threw a party and invited the aforementioned friends to meet the extremist woman. During the course of the evening, our lesbian partner, in a startling feat of passive-aggressive behavior, began relating the angry woman’s viewpoints to her unsuspecting friends. Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.
As soon as the angry woman’s views were subjected to scrutiny by those with whom she didn’t agree, she felt attacked and betrayed. During the remainder of the show, though, she slowly recognized that her views put her in the category of “monster” (her word, not mine). She had an epiphany that caused her to shake and weep at the thought that she was so bad, her family wouldn’t want her back. Let’s just say, her family was very kind to her by keeping their thoughts to themselves. Well, actually, they shared their thoughts on camera, but not to her upon her return. All three of the angry family’s members said they were going to miss the temporary lesbian mom that had resided there for the week. They said they sort of wished she didn’t have to go because she was so kind.
Currently, the Republican party is in the process of whittling down their numbers. As of today, the day of the South Carolina primary, we see three front-runners, including Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. They have eaten through several of their colleagues already, but more meals are ahead for the eventual nominee of this party. Once that feast is done, then it will be onto the Democrat-Republican battle. The commonality I suspect we will see between the show and the election is that when we have Obama vs. whomever, both sides will appear extreme to the other party.
Rick Santorum is likely the most extreme of the Republicans. He states that it will take a far-right wing Republican to win the race. A moderate will not get the votes. I have to wonder. As with all bell curves, the smallest numbers are on the outside of the arc. The statistical mode of the members of the Republican party are not likely to be found in the outside of that arc. When faced with public scrutiny over extreme views, the Republicans may find themselves having an epiphany similar to the angry mother’s on “Wife Swap.” Consider that Rick Santorum eventually won Ohio, Mitt Romney won New Hampshire, and Newt Gingrich has a good chance of winning South Carolina. That’s not good news for the Republican party. It indicates a division in viewpoints in three distinct areas of the country.
Regarding President Obama, it’s likely that the same division may occur. Many Democrats wonder what they should do as an alternative to the chicken who is willing to work so closely with the foxes on important issues. Many democrats may end up seeing Obama as too moderate, and not strongly convicted enough to democratic principles.
Both Democrat and Republican candidates will be under a level of scrutiny that we have not seen for many years in this election. A candidate like Ron Paul, if he were to run as an independent, is not likely to be elected because of his Black & White, Libertarian opinions. He is also not very presidential. He seems more like an cranky hardware store owner sitting on the porch pontificating about how the country is going down the tubes.
We will see a real horse race this year come November. The truth is that I have no idea whatsoever who will come out on top regarding the Republican nomination. I suspect it will be Mitt Romney. We must remember, though, the surprise during the last presidential primary when Barack Obama received the nomination over Hillary Clinton. We can’t assume anything at this point. What we can expect, however, is that both candidates will be dissected into tiny parts by the public and the media. Someone’s going home crying.