WE are now into the the third Presidential election cycle in which Republicans have no answer. Which ought to be considered a lot odder than the Mass-Market Media seems to do, seeing as how it's happy to portray the Republican party as the one with Answers readily at hand.
The first of the three involved an incumbent, of course, which managed to obscure the problem somewhat, especially from people who didn't care to look. But leave The Mostest Incompetent Bush of All out of the equation for a moment: what if Dick Cheney hadn't been forced by circumstances, health concerns, and the fact that he'd named himself Vice President to declare at the outset that he wouldn't run in '08? How would setting him up as the next nominee have gone over, when was polling only slightly better than the Still At Large Anthrax Bomber? Republican basement-dwellers had been proposing a "Cheney steps down, Condi Rice steps up" campaign for two years at that point, and chuckling to themselves over the dilemma liberals would face in being forced to vote for a Womyn, and a Black, thereby putting Dubya in the Oval Office, legitimately this time. (Which, by the way, gave me no end of amusement, not so much for the idea of Condimelda Rice, Irresistible Candidate, but for a political analysis predicated on the idea of Dick Cheney giving up power voluntarily.) So even they recognized the man was anathema.
Really, it oughta be enough that 2012 is recapitulating 2008, except with the Republicans supposedly ascendent this time, to shelve the "Republicans are unhappy with their choices (again)" routine like it's just another unlucky roll of the dice. Consider that Bush 2000 was anointed by insiders in 1999, not selected by primary voters, and that above all everyone was desperate to end eight years of Clintonism; imagine Fumbles really running in a competitive race. Consider the two previous elections: nobody much liked Dole, or George Herbert Walker Imperius Panamanius Bush, either. Maybe it's time to admit they have a little problem. Or maybe it's time to acknowledge that the real point where they connect with the rest of American is that, deep down, neither of 'em likes Republicans.
And maybe it's that I've been watching this stuff continually now since early 2009, when the artificial groundswell for Mitch Daniels, the Anti-Charisma Candidate, signaled that the Piratical wing of the party had finally, in Still Governor for a Couple Weeks Yet Palin, found the point at which the Psychopathology Wing disturbed or embarrassed it enough to say something, so long as it thought the mike was off.
It's not like things ain't bad enough when Mitch Daniels, or Haley Fucking Barbour, look like attractive candidates to you; how bad are things when there's a move to run Fred Dumbo Thompson and nobody says, Wait a fucking minute! ? Rick Perry is your savior? Th' hell's he saving you from…Mitt Romney's even-worse hairdo? How does this go on--for years, now--without a general recognition that a) the Republican party is by far the worse of the two majors in choosing image over substance, and/or b) it doesn't actually believe what it says?
And listen: th' hell is so wrong with Michele Bachmann that Rick Perry looks like a good alternative? It ain't ideology. It's not, if Dave Weigel and Peggy Noonan can be believed, that Bachmann is a half-educated microcephalic with a terminal case of religious mania; that's a liberal calumny she refuted by being able to recite some lines last week. She's the triple high point of Teabaggery, which is the great political dynamic of the age. Why isn't she the nominee by acclamation? Why isn't there a Draft Sarah movement at least as persuasive as that Draft Mitch magic lantern show?
For that matter, what's wrong with any of 'em? Or, for the reality-based community, what's wrong with any of 'em that's not wrong with all of 'em? Yes, the front-runner is a smarmy snake-oil peddler and imitation human who's changed most of his major positions to correspond to the Base's wishes; how does that differ from Ronald Reagan, again? As a mere default Democrat, god knows I wish there'd be a Democratic field that included one halfway viable candidate who thought so highly of his own party's constituents as to actually pander to 'em. Yes, most of the Republican field, maybe all of 'em, would seem at a glance to have the national electability quotient of warm piss, but that's certainly not because they're not Republicans.
Clearly Sarah Palin is the heart and soul of the current Republican party, and possibly its brains, too; if she isn't the nominee by acclamation, why not? Fuck "she'd rather rake in reality teevee bucks." This is the party of Patriotism, and it's her patriotic duty to respond. I've heard a few Republicans note her negative numbers, even among Republicans. The thing I haven't heard is any of 'em brave enough to explain why. With the mike on.