I first started paying attention to presidential election campaigns in 1948, which, if I have counted correctly, is seventeen campaigns in all, including the one on which we are now embarked. In all that time, I have never seen anything as loony as what is now going on in the Republican Party. In view of the state of the economy, this ought to be a cycle in which the Republicans have a serious chance of defeating Obama, for all that he is far and away the most skillful politician and most effective campaigner currently on the political scene. It will come as no surprise that I have a low opinion of people like Romney, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Barbour, and Daniels, but they certainly, by current American standards, as "serious" candidates, and under the right conditions, which includes unstinting support from their own party, one or another of them could make a pretty decent run against Obama.
The Republicans get beside themselves with rage and loathing when they think of Obama. So what do they do? They find every way that the most imaginative satirist could dream up to keep any of those possible candidates from gaining traction in the run up to the nomination season. I feel as though I were watching the old Barnum & Bailey Three Ring Circus, in which a miniature car drives into the middle of the center ring, and then disgorges one clown after another. No sooner has one bulbous nosed slap-footed character been dispatched from the center of the spotlight by a swift kick to the keester than another pops out of the car and starts screaming, to the cheers and laughter of the crowd.
For a while Palin sucked up all the air, until she passed her buy-by date, and began to fade into Fox heaven. Romney poked his nose up, sniffed the wind, and was about the make his move when Bachman popped out of the clown car and began her special brand of crazy. That pretty much consigned Romney, Pawlenty, and crew to the side rings, where they did a few half-hearted back flips and handstands just to stay in practice. But a little Bachman goes a long way, so even she started to sound dated. Time for the heavyweights? Not a bit of it. The biggest clown of all, complete with a comb over from hell, unfolds himself from the little car and parades around the center ring, declaring to one and all that since his net worth is "many many times" that of Romney, he and no one else should get to be fired out of a cannon into the net.
Meanwhile, Obama, whatever you think of him, just stands there acting like a grown-up, heeding Napoleon's advice not to interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. I freely confess that it is all fun, but then I really liked the circus when I was a kid. Maybe the Republicans have decided to test the old maxim that "you can't beat someone with no one." At this moment, despite giving the matter a good deal of thought, I cannot figure out how any of these Bozos is going to actually secure the nomination.