It's time. It's here. Are you voting today? Of course you are! You've had months and months to get ready for today, of course you're ready! Or maybe you've already voted? In which case, good for you. Way to be a responsible American. Well done, you.
But maybe you are also thinking to yourself, "Wow. This campaign just flew by! I wish I could relive every moment of it."
Okay. Probably you are not thinking that to yourself. Probably what you are thinking is more along the lines of, "What an unbelievably dreary slog that campaign was. I wish I could just remember the highlights, so that I can laugh. Laugh even though I feel like crying because, shit, there's a Nor'Easter coming to our area tomorrow."
Well, if that's what you're thinking then you're in luck. Let's relive the highs and the lows—the seemingly bottomless lows—of Decision 2012.
The Republican Primaries
Remember when Donald Trump was pretending that he was really going to run fro President? This was before he returned to doing what he does best, which is being president of Twitter, where he composes such gems as "It’s extremely cold in NY & NJ—not good for flood victims. Where is global warming?" and "Everyone is asking me to speak more on Robert & Kristen.I don't have time except to say "Robert, drop her, she cheated on you & will again!" We also got to entertain the reality that Michele Bachmann—who thinks that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation—or Rick Perry—who had trouble naming the three different federal agencies he wanted to eliminate—or Herman Cain—of Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan fame—or Newt Gingrich—the only candidate who understands the vital importance of building an American base on the moon—or Rick Santorum—whose last name is synonymous with the frothy, fecal by-product of anal sex—could all maybe be our next President! Exciting.
But who would it be? Who would get chosen by the troglodytic Republican base?
The troglodytes finally spoke and chose the man of a thousand spray tans, Mitt Romney! And now the fun could really start. Well, if your idea of fun is endless campaign commercials and tracking polls. That is not actually even close to my idea of fun, but whatever.
Romney Doesn't Care About England or Poor People
I'll say this for Mitt Romney. He's running the kind of bold campaign where he doesn't care who he insults because he knows who his base is and that they're either too eager to protect their money or too stupid and woman-hating to care about protecting themselves that they'll vote for him no matter what. Romney went to the Olympics and managed to pull off gaffe after gaffe, where he alienated himself from his British hosts who thought he was a total ass, thus dubbing his visit "Romneyshambles." Just a couple of months later, a video was released that showed Romney at a fundraiser held in May telling his supporters that he didn't care about 47% of the electorate because they were "dependent on the government" and felt "entitled."
What do these two things have to do with each other? Well, they both demonstrate that Romney doesn't even pretend to give a shit. He knows where his money comes from. He knows who his base is. He doesn't care about alienating people who weren't going to support him anyway. So they can go fuck off and keep sucking on the government's teat. Or something like that. And that includes his horse, the lovely Rafalca Romney, who competed in the Olympics without having Mitt there to watch her. No wonder she did so badly. But Mitt doesn't like losers, Rafalca. So, I'd watch out if I were you, unless you want to ride on the top of the family car like poor Seamus Romney.
When Is Rape "Legitimate"?
Oh, that's a hard question! Oh, wait. No, it's not. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin tried to explain why he thought abortions were always just plain wrong, even in the cases of rape, by saying, "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Now, what's interesting to me about this, is that Akin is actually citing doctors in his idiotic observation. That's practically like using science! Which is super rare for a Republican! Unfortunately, there is no science behind this, nor is there any such thing as "legitimate" rape. In the words of Paul Ryan, "Rape is rape." Well, Ryan said that after he was caught differentiating between "forcible rape" and...well, I don't know. Non-forcible rape? Hmm.
But, all of this is better than what Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said recently, which is that, "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." That's right. Mourdock believes that your rapist's baby is actually a "gift from God." But where to send the thank you note? Mourdock doesn't say.
Obviously not all Republicans feel this way about rape and abortion and God. But it's important to remember that Mourdock was specifically endorsed by Romney, in a direct-to-camera commercial that makes it crystal-clear that Romney wants Mourdock with him in Washington. Gross.
The Republican National Convention
A lot of this election cycle would be about storms. Not political storms, but, like, ACTUAL storms. The Republicans decided to hold their convention in Tampa, Florida in the middle of hurricane season and an incoming storm almost caused the whole thing to be canceled. In the end, the convention went on, with only one day's worth of events canceled, including what was supposed to be an incredibly important speech by Donald Trump. Well, incredibly important according to Donald Trump. But the storm canceled it. Maybe the Republicans knew that they were doing after all?
Who did speak? Well, Mitt Romney spoke. Ann Romney. Paul Ryan. Chris Christie. And Clint Eastwood. Eastwood spoke to an empty chair. And that was the Republican National Convention. An old man talking to an empty chair. Personally, I would have been far more interested to see Donald Trump reading all of his tweets out loud, but I don't always get what I want.
The Democratic National Convention
This is how you throw a convention! You introduce a bright, shining new start to your party's base and watch them go wild and get excited for the future! And this year's bright, shining new star was...Bill Clinton!
That's right. There were a lot of memorable speeches at this year's DNC—notably Michelle Obama's—but Bill Clinton did such an incredible job, making a million hearts flutter across America every time he said the word "arithmetic." Say it again Bill! In fact, Clinton's speech so overshadowed Obama's speech that even if the convention ended with the Democratic base feeling energized, it should have ended with the Democratic base feeling worried. Because we can't elect Bill Clinton again. Where did you go, Barack Obama? Please come back soon!
First Presidential Debate
Annnnd...here's why Democrats should have been worried. Obama went into this debate with a pretty secure lead in the polls. What could possibly go wrong? Obama is a skilled speaker and should clean up in a debate, right? Right?
Ugh. No. Wrong. Romney handled this so well. The lies flowed from his mouth with such ease and whenever moderator Jim Lehrer tried to step in, Romney spanked him back down. If you were an Obama fan, it was not fun to watch. If you were a Romney fan, I don't even really care. If this is your idea of fun, you're still a total sicko. Anyway, this was also when we learned that Mitt Romney wants to fire Big Bird. This is something that everyone cares a lot about. Not me so much. I haven't watched Sesame Street in years.
Second and Third Presidential Debates
What will happen now? Will Romney bury Obama? Will Obama rise like a Phoenix from the ashes? Well, the common consensus was that Obama soundly defeated Romney in the final two debates. And this is important because who doesn't remember the results of every Presidential debate of all time?
Well, these debates actually were important. Because if you weren't watching them, how would you know what "binders full of women" meant? Or why "horses and bayonets" is such a devastating insult? Memes are everything these days. That's what I've learned about life from this election cycle.
The Storm That Changed Everything. Or Nothing.
It's pretty common for New Yorkers to think that we live in the most important place on earth. Because we do. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, right before the election, pretty much crystallized that feeling in the worst possible way because suddenly all eyes were on our region as we struggle to recover from the effects of the storm. And you know what else might be affected by the storm? That's right. The presidential election.
Sandy was the cause of many surreal things. But some of those include Republican Convention keynote speaker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie becoming buddies with Barack Obama and Bloomberg coming right out and endorsing Obama for re-election. It's hard to say if this will really effect the votes of people in Ohio, but we will see soon enough.
That's right! Today is a key moment in decision 2012. Please vote today. Thousands of people began lining up at polling stations in the dark and the cold this morning so that they could exercise a right that we take for granted. People whose homes were ravaged by the storm, whose lives were irreparably changed, wanted to make sure that their voices would be heard. Let's all do our civic duty and vote.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen