A while back Knight asked me to do a write-up on the Republican presidential field in 2012. I still haven’t done a candidate-by-candidate evaluation (and don’t expect to), but I took my response to him on that post and turned it into an entire post over at the League:

It occurred to me the other day as I was leaving a comment elsewhere: if someone had written a TV show and the plot followed the current Republican primary, I would have some serious problems with it. Namely, I would pan the show as unrealistic. A joke. Liberal Hollywood’s parody of what the Republican Party is. Herman Cain? Who the hell acts like that. There is no way that a party would seriously give a serial-adulturing, ideologically muddled, lobbying-compromised former House Leader a shot at the nomination. Hollywood couldn’t devise a more repugnant figure as the potential head of a party that they want noting to do with. The comparisons between Rick Perry and Rob Ritchie have, of course, frequently been made. But in some sense, Ritchie would seem downright normal compared to a lot of the candidates. And though the connection hasn’t been made, I see some similarities between Mitt Romney and Bob Russell, the simply unpalatable (to many) candidate who doesn’t belong there but is there because he’s there and his biography doesn’t entirely discount his presence.

Of course, what would be missing from a TV plot is the “good guy” Republican. Which is to say, the Republican that demonstrates his commitment to morality and apple pie by spending his time criticizing other Republicans (as opposed to Matthew Santos, who demonstrates his commitment to morality and apple pie by being well to the left of Democratic Party candidates). Jon Huntsman comes close to this, but more recently has revealed himself to actually be pretty roundly conservative and the sense of “moderation” is more about temperament than policy. Also, whatever else might be said of him, he is not “leading man” material in the way that even Bob Dole was. Unless it was all a comedy. And, for that matter, maybe it is.

Since this is an overtly political post, I am turning off comments here. The original post has drawn a lot of comments, or if you want a place where it won’t be lost in a sea of comments, you can put your two cents in here.

Category: Statehouse

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