And so begins again the Herculean task of wrapping my poor, abused mind around yet another crop of Faustian caricatures lined up to scrap and scrape for the Republican presidential nomination. They seem to get worse every year, but this time around, there are definitely a lot more bananas in the bunch.
Let's see. We have Newt Gingrich, who pointedly continues to declare that he remains a viable candidate, despite having blown four tires and an engine immediately after leaving the starting line. We have Rick Santorum, whose name, when Googled, is given a whole new definition that appears at the top of the search engine list (presumably despite the best efforts of Mr. Santorum's campaign and supporters). There is Ron Paul, whose much-ballyhooed libertarianism fails to encompass his desire to give the Federal government whole and complete control of a woman's reproductive process. There is Jon Huntsman, who seems like a fairly balanced guy (he has openly declared his belief in evolution and global warming), which means he is utterly doomed in the GOP primary chase. There's Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Thaddeus McCotter, and Buddy Roemer, too...and if you said "Who?" to any or all of those names, you're far from alone.
According to the "mainstream" news media, however, there are only three Republican presidential candidates worth paying attention to. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has already been running for something like thirty weeks, not that you'd know it from his deliberately stealthy campaign. Romney, of course, ran for the nomination in 2008, but was undone by Mike Huckabee, who stayed in long enough to keep Romney from collecting enough GOP base votes to survive. John McCain essentially won the nomination by default in the aftermath of Romney's collapse, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) has been in the race since late June, having declared her candidacy early this summer (with no small amount of historical irony) in Waterloo, Iowa. Bachmann is a Tea Party darling who has, at various times, blamed Presidents Carter and Obama for the outbreak of swine flu, claimed that carbon dioxide is not harmful to your health, stated that the elimination of the minimum wage would be a cure-all for unemployment, and sincerely believes that gay people are looking to take over the country so as to crash the planet into the sun.
The most recent entrant into the 2012 Republican field is Texas governor Rick Perry, who jumped into the fray howling like a werewolf in the rut. He began by accusing the Fed chairman Ben Bernanke of treason, followed up by questioning President Obama's love of country, and concluded his trifecta of crazy with the claim that environmental scientists who warn of global warming are only in it for the money. Perry was first brought to national attention when he made it known that the state of Texas might secede from the union after Obama's election, and once tried to end a drought with a statewide prayer drive.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your 2012 Republican presidential field.
Granted, the freak-show reality of the GOP's Big Three - Romney, Bachmann and Perry, oh my! - is sure to deliver a great deal in the way of entertainment value. When Perry ripped off his "treason" remark about Bernanke, about thirteen dozen former Bush officials came down on him like a ton of bricks, exposing for a national audience what is already widely known in Texas: Bush and Perry do not like each other. This dynamic promises to expose any number of rifts within the Republican Party, as Mr. Bush remains at the right hand of God in the minds of many GOP base voters. Perry has been learning foreign policy at the knee of such catastrophically failed luminaries as Douglas Fieth and William Luti, presumably the last two people in America who still think invading Iraq was a good idea.
Romney, for his part, is believed by many Republican voters to have no principles worth mentioning. Exhibit A will be the fact that he is running as fast as he can from his own health care reform plan for Massachusetts, adopted to no small degree by Mr. Obama for his own health care reform legislation. Add to that the fact of Romney's Mormon faith, which many GOP evangelical base voters consider to be a cult, and what he has before him is a very long row to hoe.
Michele Bachmann is...well...simply insane on any number of levels, and so she will certainly give us all fits before the curtain comes down on this sorry show. She barely has a voting record to speak of, and is only in the race because Tea Party voters like her style. If she stays in long enough, she could wind up playing the evangelical spoiler role (a la Huckabee in '08), thus upending the whole show and delivering the GOP nomination to one of the also-rans who linger at the back of the pack.
The comedic aspect of this fool's gallery is far beside the point. Not one of these individuals should ever be allowed anywhere near the kind of power one is given upon assuming the office of President of the United States...and yet the "mainstream" news media has been propping these three up as legitimate, thoroughly normal candidates for the highest office in the land. It is a testament to how utterly deranged our political culture has become that any of these people would even be considered an appropriate candidate for dog-catcher, and yet we will spend the next fifteen months being spoon-fed the idea that these three are perfectly appropriate potential nominees, and not a pack of deranged fanatics who couldn't govern their way out of a wet paper sack.
Who knows, though. Some heretofore unannounced challenger could parachute into the race and change the whole dynamic. People have been muttering the name Jeb Bush as a potential candidate, which would be interesting; I think it might be easier to run for president with a dead koala bear tied around my neck than it would be to run with the name "Bush." Sarah Palin could make a late entry, thus answering all of my most earnestly delivered prayers.
These people frighten me for a variety of reasons, but what frightens me most of all is the fact that, almost certainly, one of them will be the Republican nominee for President...and the "mainstream" media will tell us how perfectly normal that is.
Pssst...it isn't. These people are uniformly terrible, no matter what the TV says. Pass it on.