The Washington Post’s Jonathan Bernstein makes a couple of good points today. First:
Here’s what you need to know about the Republican candidate field: this is it. No one starts running for president in August, less than six months before the voters start getting involved in Iowa and New Hampshire, and has any chance at all. At least, it’s never happened since the modern process has been fully in place (say, by 1980).
He does suggest that Sarah Palin could be a quasi-exception, because she has been running for President—in her quirky, Wasillaly way. (I think she started her Presidential bid in September of 2008, after realizing that there would never be a President McCain.)
The second point:
What you’re upset with isn’t the candidate — it’s the party. It’s inconceivable that anyone could get the Republican nomination while using anything but solid Tea Party rhetoric on pretty much every issue. They’re all going to claim that taxes should never, ever, ever be raised no matter what, that half of what the government does is evil or unconstitutional or whatever, that the scientific consensus on climate is some sort of crazed conspiracy, and so on down the line.
In other words, the Republican Party has vacated the center for the fringes. The party hasn’t really moved to the traditional right-wing, fiscal and social conservative fringes. Rather they seem to have moved to some fringe in another dimension: a fringe in which validation and proof comes from the emotional reaction an idea evokes; a fringe where facts that don’t pass the “feels good” test are dismissed; a fringe that is largely divorced from the everyday wants and needs of Americans.
Frankly, the only candidate that stands out from the fringe is Mitt Romney—a candidate who is seriously flawed by his numerous position reversals, and a candidate that comes of as totally disingenuous every time he spews a talking point. Even with these flaws, chances seem high that Mitt will succumb, first and foremost, to right-wing religious bigotry….