Take Five (Timmy, We Hardly Knew Ye but Get Lost edition)

ONE: Ready? Ames. Fired!

And just like that, the landscape of the Republican presidential race, already a strange and terrible place to those of us who vote Democratic, got a lot stranger and even more terrible.

The Ames Straw Poll– one of those silly events that the media can’t resist hyping, much like Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow (or not) or the annual World Naked Bike Ride – has come and gone, ending in a photo finish between Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, who narrowly won. The bronze went to the hopeless, hapless, helpless Tim Pawlenty, who celebrated third place by withdrawing from the race:

… speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” he made the official announcement. “The pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist and so we’re going to end the campaign,” he said.

I suppose Pawlenty deserves a little credit for recognizing that his candidacy was doomed, although 312 million of us knew it well before he did. And in the self-awareness sweepstakes, at least he’s miles ahead of fellow doomed candidates like Herman Cain and Rick Santorum, who are too dense to take a hint and go find themselves another hobby.

Obviously completely unaware of how the electoral process works, Cain remarked:

“Finishing in the middle, that is a great position to be in.”

Santorum claimed that his very distant fourth-place finish “shocked the political establishment.” Finding nobody nodding after he coughed up that hyperbolic hairball, Santorum returned to his favorite obsession a few days later in an appearance on American Family Radio:

Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken…

If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

Jeezum crow! There it is, folks, hidden in plain sight all this time. Marriage equality caused the Great Recession! I just left a message for the perpetually clueless Tim Geithner about this. Thanks, Rick.

TWO: NOM, NOM, NOM

Of course, Rick Santorum isn’t the only person to have a little sand in his metaphorical vagina over marriage equality. Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, recently blogged about where it’s apt to take society:

When you knock over a core pillar of society like marriage, and then try to redefine Biblical views of marriage as bigotry, there will be consequences. Will one of the consequences be a serious push to normalize pedophilia?

Thought-provoking question, isn’t it? I considered it for about 2.6 seconds, and now feel prepared to answer it for him: No, of course not, you slack-jawed, homophobic horse’s ass. But hey, thanks for asking!

THREE: On the Commode Again

Sarah Palin’s sublimely absurd “Bus Tour to Wherever for No Apparent Reason” is back, driving right up the heartland, where the corn dogs are as high as an elephant’s eye and freedom’s just another word for fried potatoes.

She had abruptly suspended the tour back in June, ostensibly to return to Alaska for jury duty:

The Alaska courts have refused to confirm whether Palin was indeed called, saying the information is confidential; Palin apparently has a different view.

And as suddenly as the tour was suspended, it was revived, with this news flash on the SarahPAC website:

We accept with gratefulness an invitation to meet folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week. The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation’s heart, history, and founding principles.

Well, personally I’m just filled with gratefulness that somebody is putting forth efforts to revitalize that fundamental restoration. In depressing contrast, all that Barack Obama seems to want to talk about on his own bus tour is jobs and stuff. Big deal.

After taking in the fair and sucking up as much oxygen as she could find (lest any of it go to the actual GOP candidates) Palin headed for the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, tried unsuccessfully to buy some Lincoln Logs in the gift shop, then got back on the bus for brief stops in Hannibal and Kansas City.

And that’s that, for now:

Now it’s back to Alaska for the start of the school year. (And, of course, our annual visit to our own state fair where Piper looks forward to clogging on the Blue Bonnet Stage!) While kids crack open their school books, I look forward to continuing my own writing and research on strategies and plans to help move our country forward.

“Writing and research on strategies and plans to help move our country forward”? You might want to leave that off your updated resumé, Governor. I was a hiring manager in my corporate days, and believe me, flags don’t get much redder than that one.

FOUR: Hair Apparent

As I predicted last week – though it was no more impressive a feat than prophesying that the sun will rise tomorrow morning – rootin’-tootin’ Rick Perry has been projectile-vomited up from the bowels of Hell, and as of last Monday found himself the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

At least that’s what Rasmussen’s recent poll indicates. It places Perry at 29%, Romney at 18% and Bachmann at 13%. Among the even darker horses in the field, results were as follows:

Texas Congressman Ron Paul… has the support of nine percent (9%) of Likely Primary Voters, followed by Georgia businessman Herman Cain at six percent (6%) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with five percent (5%). Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, and ex-Utah Governor Jon Huntsman each get one percent (1%) support, while Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter comes in statistically at zero.

Well, at least we know Rick Perry and Herman Cain will be happy with these results. Speaking of results, Perry wasn’t even on the ballot for the Ames Straw Poll, and nevertheless garnered more votes than Mitt Romney. Hair today, gone tomorrow, Mitt?

FIVE: What a rickhead…

Perry’s fledgling campaign wasted no time rolling out a slick and largely content-free website, which I’m not going to link to because screw Rick Perry.

The site offers a full transcript of Perry’s announcement of his candidacy at the RedState Gathering, an announcement which began with the word “Howdy” and ended with ridiculous twaddle about “work[ing] every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.” In other words, “make me your President and I’ll return the favor by being irrelevant.”

The site offers Perry’s positions on a sweeping range of issues, four of them, to be exact: jobs, fiscal responsibility, national security and healthcare. The positions consist of a few measly paragraphs of boilerplate tossed at each issue.

You can, of course, donate to Team Perry through the site, and I have no doubt a lot of idiots have already done so.

But the best part is the “News” section, where each item, regardless of its content, ends with these words:

As president, Gov. Perry has pledged to get the federal government’s fiscal house in order, simplify and limit taxes, restore the country’s good credit, and repeal Obama’s misguided one-size-fits-all, government-run health care plan. He is also committed to holding government accountable to the taxpayers, and adhering to the fiscally responsible principles that will lead to job creation, and in turn, wealth, while educating and innovating in science, technology, engineering and math to create the jobs and progress needed to get America working again.

Can’t wait to see that on a bumper sticker, somewhere south of a gun rack and north of a pair of TruckNutz™.