Slouching Towards Tampa (Cyberpunks edition, part 2)

Last time, we visited the official campaign sites of Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman. Please fasten your seat belts. The ride is about to get even bumpier.

Overall, Rick Perry’s site is well designed and easily navigated, a sophisticated delivery system for Governor Perry’s reliably unsophisticated ideas.

Take just one example. As head of the Executive Branch, Perry would gut the Legislative Branch like a Guadalupe bass:

America needs a part-time, Citizen Congress – populated with those who choose to serve not for profit, or for the promise of a high-paying lobbyist job, but for the good of their communities, states, and the nation. Even with a 50 percent pay-cut, Congressional members would still make a significantly higher income than the average American.

Not long ago Perry (inadvertently) advocated reducing the size of the Supreme Court by one Justice, so I suppose he’s at least being consistent here. The site spotlights numerous Constitution-mangling proposals like this, all of which would help turn the United States into Bizarro World, a place where Rick Perry has already resided for years. But never mind all that policy crap. What about Rick Perry the man? You’ll be sorry you asked:

Rick Perry grew up without indoor plumbing the first five years of his life, wore clothes hand-sewn by his mother, and was even bathed in a number 2 washtub as a young boy.

If there’s any part of the site worth reading, my vote would be for the hilarious section on social issues, which includes an anecdote that again underscores Perry’s ignorance about the separation of powers:

It was during the Obama administration that Christian school children were ordered to stop praying outside the Supreme Court building because they were violating the law. Instead, those American boys and girls were forced to pray for the elected officials while standing in a gutter.

If you missed that (non-)story back at the time, Fox has you covered:

A group of Christian students was allegedly ordered to stop praying outside the U.S. Supreme Court building on May 5 [2010] because a court police officer told them it was against the law…

“The Court does not have a policy prohibiting prayer,” said public information officer Kathy Arberg in an email to FOX News Radio.

Oh. My. Gawd. Shocking, yes? If you’ve never stood in a gutter near the Supreme Court, well, I have, and I’m here to tell you it’s pretty harrowing, especially if you’re trying to pray at the same time. By the way, it was also during the Obama administration that the Texas Rangers got thumped in five games by the Giants in the 2010 World Series. The following year they were bested in seven games by the Cards. Damn that Obama, huh, Rick?

Elsewhere on the site, a big button (even navigation buttons are bigger in Texas) asked me if I’m a blogger. Why, yes, I am! The button advised that I visit their blogger action center, so I did, but all I found there was a Perry widget and a bunch of Perry buttons.

Rick Perry: all widget, no cattle.

Grade: B (as in “bluster”)

Ron Paul’s campaign site, much like the Congressman’s ideas and beliefs, is ugly. The first thing you see on the right side under the nav bar is the face of his son Rand. Ugly just doesn’t get any uglier than that, and I’m not talking about Rand’s appearance.

Last week there was a vid cap from a Paul campaign ad, with the Capitol all skewed and grungy, looking as if it’s just about to get vaporized in some Roland Emmerich digital effects orgy. And let’s just say that a photo a little farther down of Ron Paul cycling in Spandex shorts really didn’t help anything either. Both the Capitol and Dr. Paul’s shorts have now been removed from the main page; I figure there must have been a slew of complaints to the FCC.

As always, Paul is at pains to differentiate himself from what his site describes as “current conventional Republicanism.” His kind of Republicanism is even worse, of course, but he pours red, white and blue gravy all over it and serves it up with a side of freedom fries, and even some low-information progressives aren’t averse to a bite or two.

Ron Paul’s “Restore America” plan slams on the brakes and puts America on a return to constitutional government. It is bold but achievable. Through the bully pulpit of the presidency, the power of the Veto, and, most importantly, the united voice of freedom-loving Americans, we can implement fundamental reforms.

In support of this nonsense, Paul ignores all received wisdom about Republican voters and gets up in their faces with a bunch of graphs and charts. That is bold! Any day now, he’s going to start screaming about a “giant sucking sound.”

This close to Iowa, there’s a surprising dearth of news on the site, beyond the campaign announcing “additional families joining the ‘Homeschoolers for Ron Paul‘ nationwide coalition.”

And an item about the racist, homophobic, terrorist-militia-coddling candidate telling an Iowa crowd “… how there could be no liberty without valuing life, and how no constitutional government could exist in the absence of a moral people.” Funny stuff.

Grade: U (for “unreal”)

I’ll be damned. Rick Santorum’s site looks great. It’s visually dramatic and generally user-friendly, although its menu changes from page to page in an unpredictable fashion. It’s certainly the best of any of the GOP campaign sites. It features a photograph of Santorum pointing off into the distance, as if he just saw his presidential hopes galloping away over the horizon.

Now that the praise is out of the way, I’ll move on to the damnation. Rick Santorum has so many bad ideas that soon he’s going to need an extra head to store them all. He wants to replace “ObamaCare” with health insurance reform that is “market-driven, patient-centered.” He believes the nation should “live within our means” and wants to “cut $5 trillion of federal spending within 5 years,” promising as well to “stop implementation of any remaining federal stimulus spending” and “eliminate funding for implementation of Dodd/Frank regulatory burdens” and “eliminate funding for implementation of ObamaCare.”

None of this is a shock, of course. Santorum’s years in office were littered with appalling votes, earning him praise from that confederacy of dunces known as the Club for Growth, who are all giddy that Rick:

  • Voted NO on the Clinton tax hike in 1993
  • Voted YES on the capital gains tax cut in 1997
  • Voted NO on a cigarette tax hike in 1998
  • Voted YES on repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax in 1999
  • Voted YES on the 2001 Bush tax cuts
  • Voted YES to repeal the Death Tax in 2002
  • Voted YES to the 2003 Bush tax cuts
  • Voted YES to extend the Bush tax cuts in 2006

Like so many in his party, Rick Santorum spent years helping to slash revenues so that he could then turn around and declare that the cupboard is bare. The site proudly quotes (multiple times) a Washington Post article: “Santorum was a tea party kind of guy before there was a tea party.” I’d say he’s more like a firefighter who spends his off-hours committing arson.

Grade: C (for “consistent”)

I couldn’t resist checking back on Herman Cain’s website, which is still not mothballed nearly a month after the lascivious phony “suspended” his campaign.  For the most part, it still looks like an active campaign site. Even the donation page still seems to be working; I shudder to think why.

I don’t know who designed the site, but I suspect it was erstwhile Cain campaign manager Mark Block and that he couldn’t take the cigarette out of his mouth long enough to look clearly at his own markup. Jarringly, the front page features a black-and-white photo of Cain against a world map in color. Click anywhere on the map and you’re taken to a page described as “CAIN’S VISION FOR FOREIGN POLICY & NATIONAL SECURITY” which features a whole heap of useful information. Mexico is a friend and partner. Canada, Israel and Germany, on the other hand, are each deemed to be a friend and ally. Russia is a rival, whereas Venezuela is an adversary regime. The heading for Libya is simply “CLARITY NEEDED” and frankly, I couldn’t agree more.

There’s a page devoted to the 9-9-9 Plan, which still sounds as ludicrous as ever. The bio page informs us that “Herman Cain grew up in Atlanta, Georgia with loving parents and little else” but says not a darned thing about what size washtub his folks bathed him in, in vivid contrast to Rick Perry’s candor about such things. The more you look, the more you realize that this is a ghost site. The “Newsroom” page tells us about Cain media appearances from weeks back. Even the page devoted to attacking Ginger White’s character (by reprinting an “essay” penned by the infamous Mychal Massie) hasn’t been updated since December 1, which was before Cain even bowed out of the race. Here are some snippets from the Massie screed, verbatim:

Until I know definitively I am not prepared to condemn him, nor am I prepared to say it impairs his ability to run the country, less we forget a lot of great leaders who recovered from similar.

… her former business partner found it necessary to sue her and accused her of stalking. She had a order of protection taken out against White. White was also charged with bombarding her former partner with threatening texts and emails, threatening lawsuit and defaming her character. Hmmm, defaming her former business partner’s character, sounds like what she is trying to do to Herman doesn’t it?

I seriously hope that Herman doesn’t drop out. I hope he doesn’t let these Erebusic elapids from the trenches of hell have their way. We need him.

Herman is rich, powerful, educated, he is at the top of the food chain, are these the kind of women you would imagine him getting involved with?

I respect Massie’s right to cobble together and publish such slop – these are serious times and we need all the laughs we can get – but it’s incomprehensible that the Cain team chose to use it on their official site, even if they knew that the plug was about to be pulled on the campaign.

Even worse, the site still features a prominently placed link to a page called “Women for Herman Cain,” a transparent gimmick hastily thrown together in the campaign’s last desperate days. I actually winced when I read this:

Gloria Cain is the National Chairperson for “Women for Cain” and is the very special woman who Mr. Cain devoted his life to many years ago.   Mr. Cain and Gloria celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary earlier this year.

The page offers touching testimonials from women who apparently were never groped by and/or never had an extramarital affair with Herman Cain. Brace yourself:

“I’m ‘reassessing’ my Christmas List… instead of buying misc $10 gifts for people I barely know anyway, I’m sending all that money to you. YOU are who this country needs. Please don’t let the opposition win, they are vile liars and will face God for what they’ve done to you. How can We the People choose who WE want (you!) if you allow them to run you off? Gingrich has DONE all the things they’re accusing you of, and Romney is a RINO.. we call him Obama Lite.”

“I believe in you and the only reason this is happening is because you got them running scared.”

“I have been successfully self employed in a male dominated industry, commercial real estate, and never once did I have a problem with any male counterpart… Its disgusting these women have taken advantage of you.”

“I worry that if the media succeeds in their ‘assassination by innuendo’ it could be the end of our Republic. Will it continue to be that easy for progressives to destroy their opponents? We The People are the ultimate losers if they succeed.”

“Mrs Cain, I just want to say that you are an amazing woman to have to survive this liberal lynching of your husband. I and many other woman are standing by your man because he shows integrity, faithfulness, and inspiration.”

“I hope that you stay in the race and that you will soon be able to vindicate yourself against these unsubstanciated accusations.Stand your ground.If you have done nothing wrong, and you leave the campaign,-they win, and we loose you,the man, who just might be the person to made a difference and bring our country back to a semblance of sanity and solvency.”

“It’s very upsetting to witness your campaign and personal life subjected to this American ‘impact of reality television’. It’s pathetic and shameful women are so desperate for their five minutes of fame that they would position themselves against the greatest potential president Americans could be blessed enough to have.”

“I believe these ‘women’ are looking for money and attention and have been groomed by the “Demonacrats” to be a bunch of bad actress’.”

“Dear Mr. Cain, I am a 66 year old female architect in the State of Texas, and want to simply say… as a REAL woman I do not believe for one second any of these ‘women’ that have crawled out from under a rock somewhere to defame you and bring pain to you and your family. They are pitiful creatures at the very least, and evil at the most. Isn’t it convenient that they have suddenly become offended by supposed advances by you now after all these years, my goodness, poor babies, how have they been able to bare up under the pain for all these oh so many years… LIARS, LIARS, LIARS…GO GET THEM HERMAN AND PLEASE DO NOT QUIT!!!!

Then he quit.

One Cain site remains, the one he launched the day he “suspended” his campaign. It sounded like a grand vision at the time:

That’s why today we are launching the TheCainSolutions.com, where the people will choose, not the media, not the politicians, and the people will show that the people are still in charge of this country. Through this new organization, I will still be promoting the biggest change and transfer of power out of Washington DC back to the people since this nation began, and that is the 9-9-9 plan. It’s not going away…

Over four weeks later, the site still features only its original splash page, and a sign-up page “to be notified when the full site goes live.” Personally, I can’t wait, but I’m starting to think that Herman Cain can.

Grade: B (as in “beat it”)