With womanizing/harassing Herman Cain out of the running, the Republican presidential field has dwindled down to what can euphemistically be called the seven dwarfs. It appears that Sleazy, aka Newt Gingrich, the adulterer that conservative Republicans seem to accept is in the lead. A friend recently explained to me the reason he needed such a huge credit line at Tiffany is that Callista insisted on it for when he cheats on her.
The debates have been a reality TV show that Democrats seem to be enjoying more than Republicans. Now we are told that Donald Trump will moderate one. I assume that will be called 'Apprentice President'.
As it comes down to the wire and the Iowa caucuses are only a month away it looks like Republicans will be choosing between Mitt Romney, who has taken every possible position under the sun on every issue and made fortunes buying companies and firing people; and Newt Gingrich who has not only taken every possible position on most major issues (education, climate change, choice) but managed to make huge sums of money peddling influence as the ultimate Washington insider.
It is inconceivable to many that this is the best of the Republican Party but alas it appears to be. The election season began nearly a year ago with many pundits saying that Barack Obama couldn't possibly win a second term. They cited the economy, the war in Afghanistan, and the total lack of passion he has brought to fighting for the issues he says he cares about. Today the discussion isn't so much whether Obama can win but that the Republican Party has spent the last year working to lose. Obama's fortunes continue to rise as the Republicans show they are not only not able to agree on a candidate, but the candidates they are fighting over are all so flawed that they won't be able to beat Obama.
Imagine the Newt Gingrich campaign slogan; Back to the Future: I was relevant once and can be again! With the subtitle; I must be important look how much money I convinced all these people you don't like in Washington to pay me to peddle my influence. Were it not for the fact that this is playing out in real life it would be hard to dream up.
It has been a wild ride for Republicans and a comedy act to watch if you are a Democrat. Consider Newt Gingrich with his constant braggadocio being the one to negotiate with China or with his bluster trying to bring Washington together. Newt could actually be the candidate that gets the Democrats back the House of Representatives. Or Mitt Romney in a debate trying to remember where his last flip-flop left him on an issue and defending Romneycare as he is vowing to end Obamacare.
Some have questioned why the Obama campaign is running negative ads against Romney. I think the answer is simple. Romney is still more dangerous to Obama in the general election than Gingrich and these commercials accomplish two things. They call Romney's multiple positions on everything into question and begin to weaken him as a general election candidate and might even help to knock him out of the Republican nomination.
The strongest general election candidate the Republicans have against Obama would be Jon Huntsman, Jr. Thankfully they find his intelligence and more moderate views, he even supports domestic partnerships, not to their liking so he will remain in the single digits in their nominating process. Maybe Obama can convince him to take another job in his second administration.
As the Republicans have adopted the Democratic model of proportional wins rather than winner takes all in each primary we could be watching a long distance race between Gingrich and Romney. While some compare this to the fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama which strengthened Obama in the long run, I don't think this is comparable. When you are up against a president running for reelection the dynamic is different and the opposition party slugging it out and bringing out the worst in each of their candidates will end up weakening not strengthening their last man standing.
I salute the seven dwarfs and may they continue the best reality/comedy show on television. Maybe before it's all over we will see Martha Stewart moderate a bake-off between them.