Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Copyright © 2012 Sun-Sentinel
A Mitt Romney victory in the Florida Republican primary may mean the end of the road for his rivals. Personally, I hope not. It’s too entertaining.
For the few who have not been following these men on their fast-track, speed-dating tour – 19 debate episodes and three primary returns – we finally got a real opportunity to consider their cosmopolitan courting techniques in Florida, an arena more reflective of our nation’s stage than Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Watching the debates and the campaigning up close in Florida, it struck me how watching the GOP’s final four was like watching the TV show Sex in the City.
Frontrunner Mitt Romney, the too-cute-to-be-true Carrie Bradshaw. The older, experienced, unapologetic philanderer, Newt Gingrich, is the media spin doctor Samantha Jones. Rick Santorum? The idealistic, doe-eyed brunette resembled Charlotte York-Goldenblath. And Ron Paul? Why he plays the role of Miranda Hobbs, the contrarian.
In short, they are four zany guys, stomping and stumping from city to city on a singular mission to score with each of us, working around the clock to romance us into the perfect moment to pop the big question: “Will you, take me, to be your president?”
Only Sex in the City producer Michael Patrick King could spin a sexier plot of political one-night stands, temporary hook-ups, short and long-term relationships, and of course, actual marriages, affairs and related escapades.
In the middle of this political sideshow is Mitt Romney, the fast moving, hard-to-keep down, quintessential (Republican) party-line guy. Other than on a few occasions, he always finds a way to steal the show, and just when he seems down and out, he always ends up on top. He is never far from the center of attention and is the candidate with all the right friends in all the right places. But it’s his witty way of redirecting voters from his frequent foibles and flip-flops that keeps us glued to our seat week after week, watching for his next cover-worthy pose.
And there is just no forgetting Newt Gingrich. He has been around the Beltway so many times even his ex-wife expressed concerns about us making White House with him. He is crass, sarcastic, and commanding, and doesn’t seem to be at all phased by the fact that he’s been labeled the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mack daddy of the mortgage crisis. His credit account at Tiffany alone could probably cover what you owe on your overvalued home, and the guy certainly isn’t ashamed to be shameless.
Rick Santorum’s purist positions related to family, faith and freedom have some people believing his moral standards are so high that he reports to the Pope directly – but make no mistake, this guy gets around. He comes off as coy, quiet and dignified, but I challenge you to find a firehouse, bingo hall or church in Iowa he hasn’t campaigned in.
And then my personal favorite, the redheaded stepchild of this conservative clique, Ron Paul. He is the one you want to see more of but who never seems to get enough screen time. We connect more with his tenacity than his electability, and his ardent supporters are more willing to throw their votes in his corner than marry a man they aren’t infatuated with. He is loved most when his rationale borders on the irrational, and he certainly doesn’t need anyone’s approval to be well liked.
If you were not a big Sex in the City fan, you might have to do a bit more research to really understand which character Floridians woke up staring in the face today. It’s the morning after, and regardless of whether or not you had a choice, or chose another candidate all together, our bed is made. We are all left feeling a little dirty as the scent of SuperPac’s fade from our television screens to target the next state, but for now we get sit back and see if Florida’s Mr. Right gets to be our nation’s next Mr. Big in the season finale.
Tony Plakas is the CEO of Compass, the gay and lesbian community center of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches.