Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Field Starts to Take Shape

With a mere 14 months and change remaining, the Republicans are starting to take position for their 2012 effort to dethrone Barack Obama and take back the White House (making it, to the delight of Tea Partiers, white once again).

I have to say, right up front, that I suspect this whole thing is pointless. Obama will be re-elected. Sure, the economy is still in the crapper, but Osama bin Laden is dead, we've seen healthcare reform passed, we no longer ban stem cell research, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is over with. For a more comprehensive list, visit

I could go on, but I think that in the end, the American people will do the right thing, even if it means choosing the lesser of two evils next November, as we did in 2008. Which brings me to the current crop of challengers:

• Mitt Romney: So far, the heir apparent. He's experienced, well-known, handsome. Will he get the nomination? His chances are better than average. Will he unseat Obama? Not a chance, and here's why. Ultimately, hardcore conservative Christians, which make up the GOP these days, will not be able to hold their noses and pull the lever for Romney. While he was governor in Massachusetts, they adopted universal healthcare and legalized gay marriage. Oh, and he's Mormon. Those three things will ultimately doom his chances of being elected by the modern-day GOP. Ironically, he's also the least objectionable of the lot.

• Michele Bachmann: Again, well-known, experienced, and familiar with the workings of Washington. This makes her a credible contender for the GOP nomination. She’s done a good job cozying up the born-again and the Tea Party crowds. But she’s got two weak spots: she’s insane (like, one medication dose short of eating her own feces crazy) and many of the things she claims she’s against, she takes part in – things like government subsidies for farmers, Medicare, Freddy Mac, and government-sponsored healthcare. Not to mention, she married a huge closet case.

• Jon Huntsman: Who? Seriously, the guy has no game. None.

• The rest: Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, David Duke, Rick Santorum. The mere fact the these names are being seriously considered in any sphere apart from a reality show about train wrecks is just more proof to me that the GOP isn’t taking this seriously.

There are only a handful of explanations here to explain the field as it stands: One possibility is that they’ve become so detached from reality that these names actually seem worth supporting. In other words, the lunatics have taken over the asylum. But I think the more likely explanation is that the GOP knows that they are doomed to sit through a full eight years of President Obama.

The wounds inflicted by the previous eight years of George W. Bush provide a dubious track record to run on, and they know it. They can complain all they want about Obama, the liberals, the deficit (which they totally participated in creating), but when the average voter says to them “okay, what do you plan to do about it, and why would we take your word for it?” they have nothing.

They have no real idea how to fix the economy, their idea of foreign relations is enough to make you sympathetic to al Qaeda, and their attacks on teachers, nurses, unions and the middle class in general are proof positive that the only people who stand to gain from a Republican in the White House are arms dealers, oil companies and billionaires in general.