Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

If 2012 presidential election comes down to Internet savvy and knowledge, four more years for Barack Obama

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When John McCain ran for president in 2008, a lot was made about him not knowing the Internet, leading us to wonder if a president should be somewhat tuned into the Internet. Four short years later, we find Rick Santorum running for president who understands the Google. The one skill he hasn’t learned is finding things on the Internet that are true.

Euthanasia of old people in the Netherlands. Not teaching American History in the University of California system. Rick Santorum found these on the Internet. The stories weren’t true; then again, that would have been easy to check on the Google, so maybe Santorum’s Internet skills need fine-tuning. Now that he has dropped out of the race, Santorum can take those lessons.

Mitt Romney hasn’t talked about his Internet skills. But if Romney is elected in 2012, he will be the 4th oldest person to be inaugurated. Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, and James Buchanan comprise the top three.

Jon Stewart had a bit of fun with Obama engaging his supporters through social media, but Stewart won’t have to worry about doing a similar story on Romney.

The Internet has been bad news for Romney because people who do know how to use “the Google” can find out where Romney stood on positions that the former Massachusetts governor has changed. There is even video of some of those moments. You can even find the speech where Barack Obama quoted John McCain that Romney manipulated in his first ad as Obama saying it about himself.

George W. Bush was the last Republican who skated through without having his record seriously questioned. And look at what happens when the press fails to do its job. Would have been easier to find that DUI conviction or the real truth behind what he did (or didn’t do) in Alabama in the National Guard.

Perhaps it isn’t fair to conclude that the Dems understand the Internet better than Republicans. This has been true, so far, but the cluelessness (and age, somewhat) of the GOP candidates has been a factor. Santorum is three years older than Obama, but in terms of the Internet, Obama is light years ahead.

This doesn’t even factor in the modern definition of Santorum, thanks to Dan Savage and his readers.

Barack Obama had the advantage four years ago with the youth vote thanks to his advantage with the Internet. Now we have a new fresh batch of the 18-22 years old potential voters. The only Republican strategy in dealing with these people is passing laws to restrict their ability to vote. While Romney is the best-looking 65-year-old not in Hollywood, when it comes to the Internet, you are as old as you use the Internet. On that level, Obama has the advantage once again.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton had no chance to win the Democratic nomination. Still, we had 6 weeks of hanging out in Pennsylvania, waiting for the commonwealth’s primary. The 2012 wait won’t be as dramatic, since the pundits were mostly turning up the heat for Santorum to leave the race. Pennsylvania is Santorum’s home state; perhaps losing his last election there by 18 points played a role. Santorum had just come back after dealing with his daughter who was hospitalized. Hope she’s doing better.

Santorum had seen himself as the 1976 version of Ronald Reagan. Or perhaps as “Rocky” (also from Pennsylvania), who did lose in the original film but later came back to win. Mitt Romney is Gerald Ford in that scenario, though Ford was the incumbent. The conservatives were howling so loud in 1976 that Ford was forced to dump Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate, marking the last time that a sitting VP wasn’t on the national ticket. Yes kids, Bob Dole was seen as being more conservative in 1976 than Nelson Rockefeller.

A major hole in Santorum’s theory is that conservatives have made inroads in the last 30 years, so they control the energy of the GOP. Dole and Reagan would have no chance in the 2012 version of the GOP. While the old version of Romney might have been comfortable in the GOP in the era where Dole ran for president (1996), the new Romney would have been seen as too conservative in 1996. Then again, Santorum would have know this if he had taken a class in American history with those snobs in college.


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  1. […] we’ve noted, Romney would be the 4th oldest person to be inaugurated if he wins in November. He is only 7 years younger than McCain was on Inauguration Day 2009. A safe […]

  2. […] we’ve noted, Romney would be the 4th oldest person to be inaugurated if he wins in November. He is only 7 years younger than McCain was on Inauguration Day 2009. A safe […]

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