Everyone who reads my blogs knows that I am a Democrat, so why am I watching the returns from South Carolina with such interest? There has been so much movement in this primary recently -- with Perry leaving the contest and throwing his support to Gingrich, and millions being sent into the race under Citizens United-driven Super Pacs, that leads have see-sawed all week. Also, in a surprise happening, Santorum was declared the Iowa winner in a recount, this time by over 30 votes. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson donated five million dollars to the "Winning Our Future" Super Pac run by a former Gingrich aide.
Since the Supreme Court decision, two years ago this week, equating money with speech and granting corporations personhood, unlimited amounts of money can be contributed to these so-called independent expenditures. Transparency and full disclosure is not required of these entities, so the election process is further removed from the average voter. Additionally the Pac run by former Bain executives and supporting Mitt Romney savaged Gingrich in Iowa and elsewhere.
Recently the Republicans have accused the Democrats of classism when pushing for a millionaires tax or when supporting aspects of the Occupy Wall Street groups. Where was the Party establishment when the former Speaker talked about putting poor children to work cleaning school bathrooms, or when he erroneously accused President Obama of being the Food Stamp President? Where were they when he used race baiting and made false statements repeatedly?
Gingrich used an opening question asking about his affair during his second marriage, as an opportunity to attack the questioner specifically and the "Liberal media" in general. (For those who might not have heard, Gingrich left his first wife when she was fighting breast cancer, had an affair during his second marriage and left his wife who has MS -- while he was working on the Clinton impeachment -- and is now married to his former mistress, Callista.) Apparently these issues were too much for some of the religious conservatives who met in Texas recently and endorsed Rick Santorum, referring to Gingrich as a serial adulterer. He also asked for and received an annulment of his 18 year second marriage under Catholic Church rules so he could marry Callista in the church. I cannot see how any woman could vote for a man with such abhorrent behavior.
So, will you, like me, follow the campaigns on to Florida? What are your expectations for the upcoming debates? Do you think the tone will improve or get worse? How will the President's "State of the Union" address on Tuesday evening influence the dialogues? What do you think the speech will have as it's main focus? I will have another blog after the SOTU -- and would love to hear from you.