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Since the GOP's campaign issues have little or no credibility as constructive policies after having been field-tested under W for eight rot-inducing years, what then are the GOP presidential contenders being judged on?

Style, m'man, style (sansabelt slacks, anyone?).

With the jaw-dropping inanity of each of the entrants being inadvertently showcased through the Liberal Media's (hahahahahahahahahahahahaha -- *cough cough* -- hahahahahaha!!!!!!) round-the-clock coverage, the only thing worthy of analysis is the particular way in which each participant in The Antique Choad Show expresses the retrograde ideas upon which they base their campaigns.

For Mitt, having exposed himself as a shape-shifter which would make any Star Trek alien envious, his only appeal lay in his physical dimensions. Though a strapping Caucasoid and comic book handsome, his record is one of singular greed and thirst for power. But his attraction to a certain swath of public is in his ability to evoke trust and comfort merely by possessing the same hue, saturation and overall color scheme of Ronald Reagan. Annnnd that's it.

Newt, of course, exhibits all the traits of the mean kid in a Little Rascals short, his disdainful grimace stained by a hastily-eaten chocolate sundae; or the stunning pomposity of John Houseman's character from The Paper Chase -- sans the character's self-awareness. And if that's not enough, his characterization of Obama, which verges on satirical, serves only to detract from his labyrinthine politics and instead whip his audience into a frenzy, much the same way a professional wrestling crowd boos an impossibly contrived and villainous version of Obama. And while his personal and professional hypocrisies are as glaring as a blinking casino marquee in need of a few new bulbs, there is a demographic which absolutely ignores his presidential disqualifications and wets themselves with every condescending utterance, every haughty accusation. The former Speaker oozes (among other oozing things) supreme confidence. And to some, confidence (even devoid of sense) is all it take to replace You Know Who.

Ron Paul, who occasionally spouts sensible ideas, apparently cannot stop there (which might ensure his place as this election cycle's Republican Voice of Reason) but must instead continue onward into territory which makes people look at each other nervously. Sure, he's a doctor and is against paying for wars of choice. But he also smells of darker, conspiratorial sentiments which evoke some pasty, emaciated guy in a stained wife-beater looming over a Thermofax machine in his basement, sulkily cranking out pamphlets about chemtrails. And, undeniably, that's attractive to some, especially in a culture in which technological advances bring with them real privacy concerns and neocon rightwing corporate pig-dogs behave as though George Orwell and Roger Ailes were unlikely lovers rolling around the moss at a Bohemian Grove gathering tongue-kissing and formulating the systematic dumbing down and detachment of the average American from the political process through an incessant drenching of the national psyche in media nonsense. Fit THAT in a pamphlet, why don'tcha, Dr. Ron Paul!

For Rick Santorum, and all the rapturous sighs his sweater vests have evoked from the small but still potent Lawrence Welk set, the earnest, plain-spoken, Old World pastor that he personifies is of course belied by a lethally backward attitude when applied to governing a diverse group of people as opposed to a church congregation. Spouting a mishmash of minimal government intrusion and maximum Jesus intrusion, his appeal might fly with the radical evangelicals who comprise a truly powerful force in American politics. But with the rest of America -- even those who hit their knees with regularity and pray like hell there's a heaven -- his style is terminally unhip. In fact, it's terminally broken hip and orthopedic shoes (see what I did there?).

Now, in terms of style, let's look at Obama: he exudes confidence but not arrogance; he doesn't crow about his military accomplishments; he thinks before he speaks; he maintains civility amidst the most disrespect a sitting president has had to endure; he can sing but doesn't hog the microphone during drunken karaoke.

As for his style trumping his substance, in this case, it's the opposite. His accomplishments outshine even his style, though they are perfectly compatible.

After this election, with Republicans having exposed themselves to the world -- vis-á-vis (that's French!) "Obama Derangement Syndrome" -- all the desperate, self-loathing, xenophobia that comprises the current rightwing mentality (and the ruining of sane Conservatism), they should at least take a night school course in style.

Queer Eye for the Self-Defeating Xenophobic Homophobic Global Warming-Denying Poor-Hating Racist Sexist Guy, anyone?