What a rollercoaster! With huge turnout on both sides of the aisle, a dead heat on the Democratic side, and a surprising third place upset on the GOP side (is that a thing?), we're here to explain what exactly just happened!
Does it seem like the 2012 race went on FOREVER? It sure felt that way to us, and we loved pretty much every second of it - so much, in fact, that we can’t seem to let it go. Now that the post-election glow is gone and it’s back to business as usual in Washington (not getting anything done), we think it’s as good a time as any to look back on all of the best (read: most ridiculous) moments of the campaign. Though we do call ourselves the Brain Trust (because, um, we’re geniuses), we couldn’t possibly remember everything that happened along the way. There will be people, places and things that get left out, and we’ll probably be excessively focused on small moments that only we cared about. But really, isn’t Newt Gingrich’s obsession with zoo’s or Marcus Bachmann’s general unlikeliness as a person way more entertaining than the details of Mitt Romney’s tax plan? (Did anyone ever get those details btw?)
So, without further adieu, here is PART ONE of THE 2012 ELECTION OPUS: Meet the Candidates
The 2012 Republican primary field was special. Reeeeeeal special. What began as a battle between several factions of the Tea Party movement, one teen-libertarian idol, and one man who believed in climate science, descended into a two-man dogfight between a rich plutocrat and a Catholic wannabe-Evangelical who was one chromosome short of reality. As was to be expected, though each candidate enjoyed a week in the lead, the richest, least qualified, and most vanilla man won out. Meet Mittens Romney.
Mittens, a.k.a. the childhood crush of one vampire-slaying Eliza Dushku, was an enigma from the get-go. Known (actually) for being a private equity bigshot and (barely) as the moderate ex-governor of Massachusetts that passed the model for Obamacare, he never did get “unzipped” the way his wife Ann promised he’d be. (Also, gross.) The man in question, after all, is somebody who cannot, at present, sit naturally or comfortably on a stool; puns about being stiff and wooden are not just obvious, they’re embarrassingly on-the-nose. Still, the little personality we did glean through the power of investigative journalism was telling. For example, Mittens was a class-A bully, forcibly cutting his gay classmates’ hair and dressing up like a police officer to pull his friends over. Har har, isn’t high school hilarious? Isn’t life hilarious? Aren’t people without car elevators hilarious? Totally.
Zippered Romney, in a turn that surprised rich white men everywhere, ended up being a terrible presidential campaigner who was most famous for hating 47% of Americans and not knowing how to describe lemonade. Still, we like to think he did a little something for America. After all, his poorly coordinated messaging and latent racist symbolism handed a victory to Democrats despite the terrible economy. His campaign was so appallingin fact, that it was almost as though the whole thing was by design, though apparently nobody had told him. He, after all, was as shocked as anyone by his loss. And THIS, friends, is why you should do your math homework.
RICK “Don’t Google Me” SANTORUM:
Never has a candidate for president been so obsessed with dirty gay sex, which makes it fitting that he’ll more than likely be remembered for the stunt pulled by Dan Savage that ruined his presence on Google for the better part of the campaign. This is a classy operation here, so we’ll let you do the research on this for yourself.
In totally not-shocking fashion, Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucus (like we told you he would), adding his name to the esteemed list of winners like Mike Huckabee. From there, Santorum used his folksy hatred of non-white straight married people to solidify the support of mouth-breathing evangelicals across the land (read: south).
Santorum’s sweater vest tour of America led to some pretty good gems. Besides running a campaign based entirely on making sure no one ever has access to health care, he also dealt with the important issues facing America, like outlawing teleprompters, outlawing porn, and outlawing males using pink bowling balls. When it finally became clear that Rick’s sugar daddy Foster “put an aspirin between your legs” Friess couldn’t purchase the election, Rick did what all good candidates are supposed to do and wholeheartedly endorsed Mitt Romney for President by sending out an email to his supporters at 3am.
Look for the Rick Santorum show on Fox News coming in 2013!
You know how a lot of musicians tour by bus and those buses travel on roads and those roads are paid for by tax dollars?
This was something we thought about a lot as the celebrity endorsements rolled in for Ron Paul. His fan club, after all, included Kelly Clarkson, Michelle Branch, Prodigy, and Joe Perry – all road-touring musicians. The very people for whom the presence of paved roads in counties far and wide is a professional necessity. Those people.
Ron Paul, a Congressman from Texas, was one of the holdovers from the 2008 primary pool, though he’s never had an actual shot at winning the election because he’s a libertarian who doesn’t like to spend money on wars and is against the Patriot Act. Despite his many other ultra-conservative views, he draws out a dedicated base of stoned college students every cycle because he’s in favor of deregulating marijuana (presumably this is where his musician support comes from as well) and runs a spirited campaign that never, ever, EVER gives up. This year, after making sneaky plays for delegates in several states during the primaries and succeeding, Paulites got frozen out at the Republican convention and, in a very “Democratic party circa 1968” move, waged a protest inside the hall. Awesometimes!
On a more serious note, there was speculation that Paul was wearing eyebrow wigs at the primary debates. When you really get down to it, that’s probably all you need to take away from his candidacy.
You know what’s hard? Running for President. It’s super time-consuming and people are always asking you questions and being ultra needy and you never get any time to yourself. That’s why it’s so important to remember to take a vacation now and again…like, perhaps, a few weeks after declaring your candidacy. You know, to clear your head and get some of your Tiffany’s shopping done. Sage advice from a true American butterball…
Meet Newt: election 2012’s laziest campaigner. Newt’s rise to frontrunnerdom was short-lived, but it was late enough in the game to nab him primary wins in South Carolina and Georgia, making him seem like a borderline legitimate person for a day or two before reality set in. As Sheldon Adelson’s personal pet project, Newt enjoyed access to the type of funding that no person running a front for a zoo tour of Americashould, but reality got the better of him as his staff’s exorbitant salaries and voters’ lack of interest pushed his campaign into the red. After taking a vacation, going shopping, hitting eight zoos, and suffering one penguin bite, he still was not getting enough of the zoo-animal vote to win the presidency, so Gingrich suspended his campaign for good and presumably went off to pick up the pieces at his beloved-but-bankrupt Gingrich Productions. Sheldon Adelson, his one-man financier, moved on to (debatably) greener pastures and ended up losing an impressive $54M in his quest to get the American embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Lest we undersell him, there was something that Newt’s campaign excelled at. He got a nod from the Washington Times for “Worst Campaign in history” status. Achievements!
Governor Rick Perry of Texas was the candidate who entered the race to save the day after realizing that no one in America liked any of the other 72 candidates that were already running. Announcing his candidacy on the same day as Michele Bachmann’s Ames Straw Poll triumph (yep, that happened), many people saw Rick Perry as the man who could shake up the race. Remember how everyone just KNEW that Fred Thompson would come into the 2008 race and just out-conservative everyone and stroll into the White House, but then he didn’t like to campaign and was sort of dumb? Similar story here. Perry did enjoy some time at the top of the field immediately after announcing his candidacy, but like the other candidates who led the race, after people got to hear him speak, it was over.
Rick Perry won’t be remembered for much, but the one thing he WILL be remembered for is one of the better moments of the 2012 campaign. Do you remember what it was? If you can’t remember, just wait 53 secondsand maybe it’ll come to you. If it doesn’t, well, “oops” for you.
Where to even begin? Our obsession with Michele began long before she ever decided to run for president. From making out with her pal George W. Bush to literally hiding in the bushes to spy on a gay rights march, Michele Bachmann had all the makings of a candidate of choice for everyone who wanted an absurd candidate with exactly zero chance of becoming president.
Michele, like every other Republican that ran (and some that didn’t) led the race for awhile, even scoring a pretty impressive win in the Ames straw poll. Unfortunately, that’s about as far off the ground as her campaign got.
In our minds, Michele Bachmann will ultimately be remembered for 2 things:
- Making things up at every turn. Michele made up so much crap in the debates, the AP fact-checkers had a fact-checking quota for Bachmann (we’re serious). They just had to quit at a certain point because it came too taxing on their staff to check everything she made up. One of her most exciting gaffes, however, was a non-intentional fact invention. In Waterloo, Iowa she made reference to being in John Wayne’s hometown. Sadly, the only John Wayne that’s from Waterloo is John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer. Did we mention Michele Bachmann’s hometown is also Waterloo, Iowa? We think that pretty much sums it up.
- Her gay husband Marcus, who runs a gay reparative therapy clinic. We know that we should respect Marcus’s sexuality. If he says he’s straight he’s straight right? Well, one half of the Brain Trust is gay, and the other half grew up in Chelsea, New York. If there’s one thing we’re experts on besides politics, it’s knowing who is and is not gay. Marcus Bachmann is gay. Deal with it.
It’s lucky that running America is exactly like running a business. It is, right? Early on in the primary season enough Americans were thinking this to elevate Herman Cain, the former CEO of a Godfather’s Pizza (ick!) and current haver of no other experience, to frontrunner status for a week. Then, of course, everybody realized that his much-publicized 9-9-9 tax plan looked like the devil’s number if you turned it upside down and he admitted that he didn’t know who the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” was, so his moment of glory began to wane.
Predictably, Herman Cain then got caught an infidelity scandal and dropped out of the race soon after amidst speculation that he should have never been “in” to begin with.
FILLING OUT THE CLOWN CAR:
As we began writing this, we had to go back and remind ourselves who all ran for the Republican nomination this year. There were so many. SO MANY.
John Huntsman: Former Governor of Utah and Mitt Romney’s magic underwear-wearing partner in crime
Lost Because: Believed in Evolution and trusted climate scientists
Gary Johnson: Former Governor of New Mexico and non-believer in roads
Lost Because: Not a warmonger
Tim Pawlenty: Former Governor of Minnesota, former mullet-haver
Lost Because: World’s most boring human
Thadeus McCotter: Former Congressman from Michigan, wannabe Hollywood screenwriter
Lost Because: If you can’t even remember to get enough signatures to get yourself on the ballot to run as the incumbent in your own congressional district, you are disqualified from becoming president. Also, who the hell is Thadeus McCotter?
Other people we’re not convinced are even real: Buddy Roehmer(completely unknown to Republicans but the only candidate to make an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show!) and Fred Carger
Stay tuned for our primary and presidential debate highlights, coming tomorrow!