Anyhow, I raise this now because I have a big question and I am only going to guess at the answer. The question is: why do the GOP candidates suck so very much? Romney has an off-putting personality and is absolutely the wrong candidate for a Tea Party pandering party--he made $20 million dollars on his investments and his utterly out of touch on $$. Joking about $10,000 bets and saying he was only paid $357000 for something, as if that some is beneath being noticed? Gingrich is a philander who helped get Clinton re-elected and then lost his job due to an ethics scandal. Santorum is a hateful, narrow-minded guy who could not get re-elected, something 98% of incumbents manage to do, so what is wrong with him? Ron Paul is obsessed with the gold standard, has a history of racist newsletters, and often appears to be smarter than he is and crazier than, well, hmm, more than he should be.
I am not the only person pondering where the good Republican candidates are. This is not always a puzzle. When a potential candidate thinks that he or she has little chance of winning, he or she waits for a better time.* Notice no Democrats running for President--this is not just about respecting the party's leader and the President but about an estimate of the probability of winning. Ted Kennedy versus Jimmy Carter is the exception that proves the rule. McCain was the best of another mediocre lot perhaps because most Republicans realized that Bush had done so badly that any Republican would lose in 2008. Maybe. But 2012 is about as good as it gets for any Republican--Obama has not been that successful in getting heaps of policies past,** the economy is still mighty weak with high unemployment and uncertain growth, and the war in Afghanistan is not going so well.***
* I have a good friend study candidate emergence, which informs my pondering here (thus, this is a shout-out to Cherie Maestas--the best colleague I ever had [yes, shocking that it is someone who studies American politics]).So, where are the good Republican candidates? The only thing I can think of is that such folks may not have wanted to go through the process of pandering to the far right to get through the primary process. Otherwise, I am flummoxed. Is this really the best the GOP has to offer: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, or Paul? I am having deja vu to the days of Dukakis and Kerry.
** Of course, a big reason for this is that the Republican Party has preferred that Obama fail than see the US do well. I have been tempted to call the GOP treasonous for putting party so far above the country's interests. It is one thing to want your party to do well. It is another thing entirely to try to deny the President any success at all when there are opportunities to improve the condition of the country.
*** On the other hand, this is really a lousy time for the Republicans to complete on foreign policy as Obama did pull out of Iraq as Bush had promised (and the Republicans pushing for the US to stick around? Talk about a position that is destined to lose votes!), made the decision to kill Bin Laden, cheaply facilitated the end of Qaddafi, and so on.
Anybody got a better idea?