Three of the front runners for the Republican nomination are now just memories, pundit fodder: Huckabee and Trump, and Palin recedes into political tinnitus. But the retiring of all three has one thing in common, and it’s money. Huckabee just bought a huge house in Florida and is enjoying his  status and salary at Fox News. Trump is more at home on his reality show. And Palin is enjoying both Fox money and reality TV and will probably be the next Oprah Winfrey, although she’ll never get more than twenty percent of the viewers because only that percentage of Americans can identify with her spunky pride in her ignorance. And yes, she’s pretty.

What does it say about a party when three of its stars prefer to rake in the money than serve their country? I don’t blame anyone for avoiding the presidency, but if you claim to have the answers for the nation’s problems and have questions only about the birthright and patriotism of others, then you should show the rest of us how to love our country.

No one who is proposing the dismantling of Medicare in favor of a pitiful government voucher is worried about their own health care. If not already multimillionaires, they are serving, or have served, in one of our Congressional bodies and are now insured for life. As far as I know, none of them have publicly refused the dreaded government insurance. Yet they want you to refuse it by helping them repeal Obama’s nightmare of compassion.

Newt Gingrich just shot his own foot off by pronouncing Paul Ryan’s proposed dismantlement of Medicare “radical,” and “right wing social engineering.” The Republican House voted for in en masse, so Newt is now a heretic. What he was “trying to do” was actually pretty smart – if premature, clumsy and arrogant – because public opinion agrees with him, which means there are tons of voters out there who consider themselves conservative but don’t like the idea of Medicare’s death, either because they’re about to use or it’s just a dumb idea. Potential Medicare users are not wealthy, so it’s inarguably a good thing. Newt saw that, so his massive “intellect” “adjusted” his “philosophy” to “account” for it. When will such pandering become transparent to voters?

This is what the American voter will soon find out: Republicans are all about money, and their leaders care about the typical American family only so far as they consume and vote. Their friends are the powerful and wealthy, just as the caricature of Republicans has always portrayed them. If you’re a conservative, hate me for that. But sometime soon, as the evidence mounts and mounts, you won’t be able to ignore it. If Tiffany’s is out of your reach, your party doesn’t give a damn about you.

So who’s left? Of note are three: The improbably named Mitt Romney, a Mormon with an entire beach of flipflops who is already so incredibly wealthy that he has nowhere else to go but the White House. Too bad Obama got the idea for ObamaCare from Mitt, because he seems like a decent man who would make a less-than-horrifying president, maybe even one who sees the value of education and safety nets and the dangers of excessive greed.

Ron Paul is truly a man of conviction and has some good ideas. But this morning he said that rather than us going in to get bin Laden, we should have asked the Pakistanis to get him for us. A dreamer. They’re coming for him next.

And it looks like Michele Bachman is the new Palin. She’s pretty, too. But she surpasses Palin in ignorance: the Founding Fathers freed the slaves, and the Earth is six thousand years old. And isn’t Michele a French name? I just mention that in the spirit of Death Panels.

You have some smart people out there: Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christy and others. But their problem is that voters won’t care for what any of them will be selling. Voters want things fixed without losing what they’re used to – and have paid for. They want America out of debt, but they don’t want to sacrifice benefits that 1. they paid for and 2. arrive late in life, when they’re scared. Refusing to understand that are flaws of arithmetic and character. People want government to stop doing other expensive things that anger them. An example: they pay high gas prices, then hear that Big Oil gets more of their money in subsidies. It seems wrong, and it is. Another: They see their tax money going to Afghanistan and Iraq. That seems wrong also. Sooner or later, when they wake up, they’ll see that they’re being asked to pay for government’s mistakes. Sooner or later, the word “welfare” will be connected to the word “corporate,” and right behind that will be the forming of a thought: What are you giving up?

(Americans will blame whoever is in the White House for all this, so you should sit back and enjoy Obama getting torn up. See if he notices.)

Here’s your Party: The retiring CEO of Salinas Valley (CA)Memorial Health Care just got “nearly $4 million in retirement payments in addition to his regular $150,000-a-year pension.” Some years he hired consultants at around ten million. And they want to cut the pay of their health care workers. That’s your party pal – they want to fix problems, sure, and they call for sacrifice from everyone including the elderly and their caretakers – but not themselves. There’s your Party. Selfish and cruel, and not a little un-Christian.

They correctly recognize that our debt is catastrophic and wars have been started for less. They acknowledge that they are co-responsible for it, although they won’t admit an amount – the ideological disasters of both Iraq and the further loosening of Wall Street restraints come to mind, both of which remind me of Cheney’s “debts don’t matter” comment. Those things have been expensive, but again, Cheney didn’t pay for it.

As always, I admit that Democrats aren’t much better. Venality and worse accumulates at the top and then no one, it seems, can fix anything or adhere to any articles of common sense. Such as these: No matter its size, government should be efficient. Taxes should be simple, fair, and not regressive. Excessive greed that harms the people should be restrained. Dumb wars should be avoided. And money is a fuel, not a goal. Not that I’m terribly spiritual, but something resembling spirituality is badly missing from a leadership that values power so much that its core principle – to serve the people – is compromised. The correct thing is to compromise your ideology to that principle when necessary. Afghanistan aside, I see Obama as an adult willing to park his ideology in order to make deals that insult it, and I feel a genuine urge to shape a government for the people. I don’t see the other side doing the same – playing chicken with the debt ceiling is as asinine as attacking Iraq, and suggesting that our elderly survive on 6k worth of for-shit private insurance is phenomenally cruel – and thinking they can sell that last idea to those soon to be elderly is, again, unbelievably stupid. (For an hour or so, before he caved to the Hive Mind, Newt was smarter than all the rest of them.) How can anyone follow people who think like that? The freshman House right wing is ideologically obese and immature, so they have an excuse; their elders have none – but they’re wealthy. Insulated. I like people on occasion, so I’ve tried and tried to find another answer, another cause for such disconnected, inhuman thinking, but I never see them put their money where their mouths are – only ours. “What the American people want …” Don’t tell me what I want. I might want you to abuse yourself with a dull cheese grater.

I would like to end with some hopeful news. When our leaders find their brains and learn to follow us down here, they’ll figure out something that has plagued mankind since we appeared six thousand years ago, and they will … stop … waging … war.

It costs too much money.