Primarily Awful

image of older white man sitting in the sun looking grumpy, holding a US flag and wearing a pin on his hat that says 'Fire Obama'
Bert Shadowen of Port St. Lucie, Florida holds an American flag as he listens to remarks by Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum at a Treasure Coast Tea Party campaign rally in Stuart, Florida, January 24, 2012. [Reuters Pictures]
Awwwwwwwwwwwww LOL! How can we turn that frown upside-down, Mr. Shadowen? By electing Rick Santorum? Well, that's probably not going to happen. How about I get you a tin of peanuts and a nice cold soda?

That picture reminds me of this biology teacher I had in high school, Mr. Looft, who had the reputation of being a total humorless hard-ass. He was suuuuuuuuper grumpy, and he never smiled, and he always held his wiry body very rigidly under his ratty old lab coat. For some reason, my best friend and I suspected he was actually a very witty and fun-loving guy underneath that seemingly impenetrable exterior, and we undertook the challenge of unearthing his wild side.

We called him Loofty. We teased him good-naturedly about how grumpy he was. We screeched and hollered with delight when he'd do something that previous classes had received as evidence of his hardness—like the time a fish was floating belly-up in his classroom tank, and he responded to reports of its death from proximate students by marching to the tank like a drill sergeant, pulling up the sleeve of his lab coat, sticking his arm elbow-deep into the tank, and stirring so hard the fish began to swim again. "Fish ain't dead; just being lazy," he said, marching back to the front of the class. We told him he was a superhero.

One day, he came to class wearing, instead of his ancient, tattered, fatigues-green lab coat, a bright, crisp, new white lab coat. "Loofy, looking FOXY!" I said. C and I made exaggerative "sexy" gestures, hands against our foreheads as we pretended to faint, licking our index fingers and sizzling them against our butts. Loofty stopped in his tracks and looked us with his usual look of consternation, bewilderment, and disdain. I thought, for a moment, we might actually get in trouble this time. And then his face broke into a huge blushing grin, and he laughed and laughed and laughed.

He was secretly a fun dude. And also a great teacher. Loved that guy.

Anyway! To the candidates!

Heading into the Florida primary next week, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are now virtually tied, although we've got ANOTHER DEBATE! to look forward to, which is another chance for Gingrich to distinguish himself as not-a-Mormon. What will happen in Florida?! Will it be the super rich and super privileged white guy, or the OTHER super rich and super privileged white guy? IT'S A REAL NAIL-BITER!

Gingrich thinks he can win by channeling Ronald Reagan. Romney, who everyone definitely hates, thinks he can win by not being Newt Gingrich. Good strategies, both.

Money Talk! Romney brazenly bullshits about paying a "45 or 50 percent" tax rate. Okay, player. Gingrich's SuperPAC is being bankrolled by a billionaire Las Vegas casino tycoon. I know what you're thinking—that cannot be healthy for democracy! But just think of it like this: Money is free speech, and that guy can really bellow.

Is Ron Paul even campaigning anymore? Where is he? Somebody look inside his debate jacket—I think he might have gotten lost in there.

Rick Santorum's campaign strategy continues to be positioning himself as the grossest asshole on the planet, defending TSA profiling and accusing "the left" of indoctrinating people at universities. (Hey, it's not our fault that education tends to make people more progressive, dude.) These are two of the least offensive things he's said in ages. You're really losing your horrible, horrible edge, Rick Santorum!

In other news, Jeb Bush has some hot advice about how Republicans "can win Hispanics back." Here's my hot advice: Start with not using immigrants as a political football in gross campaign ads.

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro called this Republican primary "he greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been." LOL! I guess "Work It" didn't air in Cuba.

Finally! According to the new NBC/WSJ poll: "Americans are growing more optimistic about the state of the economy and direction of the country...and President Obama is receiving better grades on his handling of the economy and job as a result." Too bad, Republicans! Looks like you just didn't ruin the country ENOUGH to beat this guy!

Sad trombones all around, I'm sure.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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