What is it with the Republicans these days? I’m talking, specifically, about the Republican presidential field. It’s absolutely nuts. You know it’s really nuts when Pat Robertson, of all people, is saying that it’s bad. (I mean, can you believe this? This is the guy who blames floods and other natural disasters on gay people. You can’t make this stuff up.)
The one guy who could actually be elected from that group has to tack so far to the right to get past the wing nuts that have taken over the party that he’s making campaign ad after campaign ad for Obama in the general election. The other guy who’s actually reasonable can’t gain any traction because he’s reasonable. The nominal frontrunner (depending on which poll you’re reading) is a mediocre pizza chain executive who’s never held office.
I feel like I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone and am waiting for Rod Serling to step out of the shadows and tell me it’s all okay. But of course he never does because this is reality. Surreal and real at the same time. Go figure. Such is the state of the Republican Party as it tries to find anyone other than Romney for the nomination next year.
Let’s briefly examine the field:
- Mitt Romney – this is the one guy who could beat Obama next year. But the wing nuts are driving him so far to the right that he’s looking more and more like a wing nut too. He just hangs in and hopes to be still standing when the latest flavor of the week flames out. And not be so far to the right that he can’t come back for the general election. You just know Obama can’t wait to run some of the things Romney has said in this primary as campaign ads in the general election next year.
- Jon Hunstman – he could probably beat Obama next year, too, but he can’t get any traction because he worked in a Democratic administration (as ambassador toChina), and has no money, probably also because he worked in a Democratic administration.
- Herman Cain – the mediocre pizza chain executive. All he can talk about is 9-9-9, even though it’s been repeatedly shown to belong in the pile of ordure it came from. He’s polling so well precisely because the Republican Party can’t stand Romney.
- Rick Perry – this is the guy who touts his C average in college. He’s trying to make himself look more attractive by making himself look stupid. He’s also the guy with the racist name on his ranch. And the one who tried to bring back the “birther” controversy in Parade magazine, of all places. (Does anyone else mistake that magazine for coupons, as Jon Stewart notes? I always toss it, unread.) He’s also the candidate who said that appearing in debates was a mistake. Pardon me for thinking it’s somewhat important to see how candidates think on their feet. A debate is a friendly venue compared to sparring with some world leaders.
- Newt Gingrich – Mr. Family Values himself. This is the former speaker of the House, who resigned from Congress in disgrace, attempting a comeback like Richard Nixon’s. He’s also the stand-up guy who informed his wife of divorce proceedings while she was in the hospital. (Gingrich disputes this, of course.) I always admired his intellect – he always seemed to be the smartest of this motley bunch – but he seems to think that the way ahead is to deny established science.
- Michele Bachmann – Ms. Wing Nut herself. I can’t believe I was saying that we needed to take her seriously. Well, those words certainly weren’t true. I guess the old adage about giving them enough rope is true.
Let’s be real here. The economy is horrid and has remained so for a long time. People are rightly upset about that. Obama gets the blame for that because he’s the president, and the president gets the blame for everything. Kind of like an oldest child. And because of that, President Obama is in a tough fight for reelection. He’s beatable. But the Republicans are handing the election to him. I’m an Obama supporter, so I don’t like saying or reading that he’s vulnerable. But he is. The election in 2012 is going to be hugely important. We have real problems in this country. I see Obama trying to address them, Republicans trying to stop him, and then blaming him for not doing anything. And the presidential candidates are doing the same thing.
I think the Republican Party needs to grow up. They claim to be the adults in the room, but what I see is a group of people who childishly deny something despite the facts. (Just watch The Daily Show for myriad examples. Jon Stewart and his staff are masterful at putting that together.) What happened to the intellectuals of the GOP? Did they all check out when Bill Buckley shuffled off the mortal coil?
The Republican Party has taken a real slide in intellectualism lately. They’re all smart enough, but seem to want to be stupid. Constantly. It makes one truly despair for the future.