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How bad can the GOP field get?

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By Rick Howell

    The weak and mediocre state of the Republican presidential field for 2012 has become such a given in recent weeks, I almost feel like I’m picking on them if I write about it….

    But, I said almost…Honestly, I’ve observed presidential politics for a long time, since about 1968, and I’ve never seen a field of “contenders” from an out-of-power party – Democratic or Republican – that’s this bad.
    As I wrote about not long ago, more Republicans are getting out of the race than getting in…so, how does that square with all the conservative propaganda about our failed and tragic socialist president from Kenya?
    It looks like the American people might view him differently.
    But first, consider the recent developments in GOP presidential politics. Mike Huckabee, who had come in first in polls after Donald Trump’s star fell, announced on his Fox TV show that he won’t be a candidate this time.
    Huckabee called his decision “spiritual.” Really? I wonder how many times, as a Baptist preacher, Huck told his congregation that they couldn’t serve God and Mammon (money) at the same time? A lot, I’d guess.
    Yet Huckabee clearly chose making a lot of money over raising a lot of money. He had no desire to leave his lucrative media gigs at Fox and his syndicated radio show. Chalk one up for Mammon.
    I mentioned Trump, right? What a con job he did on Republicans and the media for a period of months. Him and his birther nonsense.
    Once the president released the long form birth certificate and then nailed Bin Laden, Trump was done. Good riddance.
    Then there’s Newt Gingrich. He got into the race knowing that his three-wives-history and his admitted womanizing would be a burden. But then he did the unexpected, he criticized Rep. Paul Ryan, the current darling of the GOP radical right.
    Ryan wants to kill Medicare with something called a “voucher” program and Gingrich said that was “right wing social engineering.” That may be the closest Newt has ever gotten to the truth, but it is heresy to the straightjacket conservative ideology of the modern Republican Party.
    Newt, attacked for his “sin,” promptly apologized. But the Internet was subsequently lit up with a video of an encounter he had with a Republican at one of his events. “You’re an embarrassment to the party,” the guy told him. “Why don’t you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?”
    Can I take a moment here to simply say: I’m not making this stuff up; these are the party’s presidential candidates for 2012. There’s more….
    Rick Santorum, the former ultra-conservative U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, recently took offense at John McCain’s rejection of torture as U.S. policy. Water-boarding, Santorum said, was simply something that McCain didn’t understand.
    Water-boarding was probably the least of the tortures McCain endured as a POW in North Vietnam. But Santorum imagines that he knows more about it than McCain.
    What’s Santorum’s experience with torture? Well, it could only be the reaction he has when anyone Googles his last name on the Internet. (I refuse to describe the results in a family newspaper.)
    So, I ask you, is there anyone here who can beat Barack Obama? And I haven’t even mentioned poor Mitt Romney, burdened as he is with his record as the World’s Greatest Flip-Flopper, and with what his own campaign called in 2008, TMT (the Mormon thing).
    Some one may yet get in to spare us this bunch and least let the party nominate a credible candidate. But right now, barring disaster or scandal, Barack Obama looks like a pretty good bet for re-election.
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com