Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The GOP's Eventual Nominee

Richard Cohen offers his take on the list of Republicans who may enter the race to be the party's 2012 presidential nominee. He doesn't find them to be a particularly impressive group. And in fairness to Cohen, they're not. But let's not have any premature triumphalism. The first impression may be of tortoises entering a race with a hare, but....

If you can recall Bill Clinton's climb to the nomination, back in 1992, going into the race he was far from an obvious choice. People had fun talking about what a weak field of candidates the Democrats had. "Paul TaxOnGas. Tsongas. TaxOnGas. Get it?" Hey - I said they had fun, not that they were funny...

During that race an acquaintance who, as I come to think of it, reminds me of Richard Cohen (or perhaps it's the other way around) would triumphantly throw his support being a particular candidate and, invariably, that candidate would be the next to drop out. Now to be fair, I don't think he ever got behind Laughlin, but seriously - his instincts were that good. Throughout that time he would repeat whatever scurrilous rumors were circulating about Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom he denounced as totally unfit for office. Until Bill was the last man standing and the tone of his comments changed to, "He comes pretty close to walking on water." Clinton, of course, won the nomination he wasn't supposed to win, then the presidential election he wasn't supposed to win, and the rest is history.

I personally hope that lots of people join the Republican race, even those from the lunatic fringe, simply for the amusement value. I'll be happy to suggest campaign theme songs.... Tim Pawlenty? Plenty, Pawlenty, get it? (Dang, now you're going to think I made up that TaxOnGas joke.) Seriously, let's have Darrell Issa enter the race and offer some, dare I say, fiery oratory. He could strut onto the debate stage fighter style, in gym shorts and a robe to the chorus of Fire Water Burn - and he has the street cred to pull it off!

Yes, I want the Republicans to "bring on the crazy" for my personal amusement, but at the some time I'm not going to sell the process short. At this point we don't even know who's running.

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