I have a number of hobbies that involve collecting things, primarily coins. Accordingly I like to scan eBay for bargains regularly, finances permitting. One thing that sellers like to do when in possession of a collectible item of no particular value for which there is no demand is bundle them into huge lots. If nobody wants to buy a 1987 Topps Oil Can Boyd baseball card, even at a price of 1 cent, then…maybe a lot of A THOUSAND 1987 Topps Oil Can Boyd cards for $20 will be more appealing. Because there's, like, more of them. Isn't that a good deal? Think of how many items of no value you'll have.
At this point I'll abandon the thinly-veiled analogy to the 2012 field of Republican presidential contenders except to note that I am not entirely convinced that Herman Cain and Oil Can Boyd are different people.
We raging liberals understand better than anyone that Barack Obama is beatable. His approval rating isn't good and he hasn't succeeded in making, well, anyone happy with his endless efforts to make everyone happy. But as we all learned in 2004, a vulnerable President won't lose just because he's vulnerable. The other team still needs to come up with a decent candidate to beat him. That's the rub for the GOP next year.
Everyone knows which side my bread is buttered on, but I mean this as objectively as possible: this field is terrible. Absolutely, indisputably terrible. One must go back to the Democratic field of 1984 or perhaps the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers to find a bunch of losers this sorry. The primary season is going to be a sad parade of the lame, the halt, and the ugly. If I was a Republican I would be frustrated as hell right now. Obama is so beatable and yet he'll likely survive simply for the lack of an alternative.
Skeptical? Seriously, look at this gaggle of losers. It's like the lineup of speakers on a second-rate National Review cruise. I shudder to think that we actually have to watch this jug band of woe play its mournful song for the next two years.
Newt Gingrich? The thrice-married born-again Catholic (which means his serial infidelity has been forgiven) was washed up 15 years ago, yet his Jupiter-sized ego mandates the formation of a presidential exploratory committee to spend extensively on polling that will tell him that he is unelectable. His name recognition is sky high. You know what else has high recognition among the public? Herpes.
Donald Trump is the Fred Thompson of 2012, the candidate around whom the media and TV junkies will create a buzz because of his "excitement" factor and "celebrity" status. Trump is a social liberal and pompous egomaniac currently on his 4th 19 year old Eastern European wife. His only potential asset is the endless amount of his own money he will piss away in service of his own vanity. The odds that his current "I might run!" feints are cynical efforts to get more attention (read: money) stand at about 99.7%.
Speaking of, does anyone think Sarah Palin is serious about running? Actually, as schizophrenic as she is, she might be. Who really knows. But it's more than plausible that this is all a marketing plan for Sarah Palin, Inc. Why bother running for office – remember, she quit her governorship in less than 2 years – when she can make millions on ghost-written books, TV shows that require no effort to make, and speaking appearances for which she doesn't prepare? Palin is a national punchline with zero chance of defeating anyone, as her appeal is limited to an exceptionally dedicated, almost cultlike herd of diabetic rednecks, housewives who haven't had sex in 8 years, and future abortion clinic bombers.
Michelle Bachmann is insane. I do not mean this in the casual way one would describe an acquaintance (i.e., "Mary? Oh, that girl is crazy!) No, there is something wrong with Bachmann. She is mentally ill. That glazed, vacant look in her eyes, those tinfoil hatted conspiracies, and the Real Housewives of What the Hell Happened To Your Face? perma-smile add up to someone who needs professional help and most likely immediate medical intervention. Seriously, whatever you think about conservative policy positions is irrelevant here; Michelle Bachmann is absolutely fucking crackers.
Haley Barbour – Seriously, he's running. I couldn't make this up. – is an exact replica of what prejudiced Northerners think Southerners are like. Beyond that he is the Webster's definition of a good ol' boy party insider. If you think a sweaty racist who sounds like Foghorn Leghorn is a threat to win any states outside the former Confederacy and the Plains of Sadness, I have some magic beans to sell you.
Herman Cain is a black guy. That is his selling point; he is here to make Teabaggers feel less racist. See, look! We let a black guy in, and some of us even voted for him! He'll do exactly as well as a 5th-string AM talk radio host would be expected to do.
Romney, Mitch Daniels, and Tim Pawlenty could feasibly give Obama a run for his money. They're sane (albeit misguided), polished, and relatively experienced candidates…so of course they have no chance whatsoever of surviving the Republican primaries. Romney? MORMON HERETIC! VOTED FOR GUB'MINT HEALTH CARE! MASSACHUSETTS LIBERAL! Combined with the fact that he has changed his position on every issue about five times, he seems unlikely to appeal to the base. Daniels is a conservative apostate by virtue of his "truce" on social issues and his refusal to stand behind Wisconsin-style anti-union legislation earlier this year. Tim Pawlenty is…holy balls, I spent 10 seconds trying to think of something to say about him and I got so bored that I'm ready to jam a syringe full of meth into my eyeball. If I'm lucky that will buy me 2 or 3 minutes to think about him without losing consciousness.
Where does this leave us?
Mike Huckabee? Ex-Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer? Cult leader Ron Paul? Or do we assume that one of the potentially electable candidates – presumably Romney – somehow slips through the primaries? This is a question to which the answer is irrelevant, because if you're asking it, you're already in big trouble. Nothing says "We're screwed" quite like a party debating whether Mike Huckabee is a serious candidate or hoping that Mitt Romney can somehow make it to the general election. This field proves beyond a doubt that if you take 12 shit candidates and bundle them together, you get 12 shit candidates.