Over the Holidays I tried to explain the Republican Presidential Debates to my grandson Derek. For starters, I tried something from his own frame of reference to describe what’s going on. Best I could do was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arguing over who should be the boss of the playground. His first question, of course, was which one was Dopey? When I told him they all were, he accused Grampa of being silly. Not wanting to confuse a three year old any more than the Republicans already have, I decided Derek and I needed to come up with new names for this curious band of wannabees.
The names we came up with were Ditzy, Thin Crust, Wishy, Washy, Ho, Hum, and the two Texans, Wacky and Clueless. The only candidate missing was Senator Kevin, the demonic rabbit from Prickly City. Thin Crust was gone before Christmas and Ditzy left after Iowa. New Hampshire did in Ho and Clueless. But it’s beginning to look as though Wishy, Washy, Hum, and Wacky might make it all the way to the California primary in June. Lucky us. For the first time in decades, the California Primary might actually help select a nominee, and these are the choices?
As a Democrat, I’d like to think it was the inevitability of Barak Obama’s reelection that winnowed the field down to this unlikely foursome, but the 2010 mid-term elections belie that. It certainly can’t be their policies that brought them to the fore. They promise the same mix of supply-side voodoo economics and unregulated crony capitalism that got us into this mess in the first place.
Where are the new ideas to meet the challenges of the 21st Century? What am I missing here?
Three years ago, I’d have guessed that two ex Florida governors might be vying for the nomination, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush. But the Tea Party sent Crist packing and Jeb went into hiding. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour also concluded the nomination wasn’t a prize worth having.
In the old days, Californians might have opted for a favorite son candidate and hoped for a brokered convention. Turns out the Governator can’t run (score one for the birthers) and probably couldn’t win anyway.
I have my own suspicions about what led us to this conundrum, but here’s your chance to weigh in. Send your explanations to [email protected] But please, resist the temptation to blame it all on Ronald Reagan or the Founding Fathers. They aren’t around to defend themselves anymore.