(Bonus points for identifying the song and artist from the title without resorting to Google. Amazingly, she once put out a good album. It was a long time ago.)

After the first two Knights in Shining Armor charged over the hill but somehow failed to save the day – their knightly skills having been somewhat overrated in the telling – the Republican Party found itself in need of yet another savior. The search for someone young, hip, and exciting led them, naturally, to first-term New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. His main qualifications appear to be speaking like an extra in The Sopranos and having that unusually aggressive personality type usually found among people who kill animals for fun. Alas, Gov. Christie has definitively – or at least apparently definitively – excluded himself from the field.

In realityland, Christie would have been hard pressed to declare at this point. The first primaries and caucuses are in about 90 days. Due to the condensed, front-loaded primary calendar, he would have needed to put a complete campaign team on the ground in about 30 different states in just a few weeks. That's just not possible, even assuming (irrationally) an unlimited amount of money.

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Additionally, there's no way that his statements about extremism and stupidity among Teabaggers – he is the governor of a liberal northern state, after all – would have had most of the party base whining about him in short order. Like so many Wesley Clarks and Fred Thompsons from the past, the idea of Christie running has more appeal than Christie actually running.

The problem, of course, is that the appeal of his candidacy was driven by dissatisfaction with the current field. So the GOP now finds itself in need of a new Savior – and fast.

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As much as I like to think of myself as being abreast of electoral politics, I cannot fathom who that might be. Paul Ryan has already been the Savior, albeit briefly, before declining to run. Rick Scott is as popular as dick cancer. Scott Walker wishes he had dick cancer's popularity.
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Mitch Daniels is out. Every candidate with an ounce of name recognition from past elections – Gingrich, Santorum, etc. – is already running. Recruiting any GOP Senator to run given the current popularity of Congress (and Congressional Republicans in particular) at the moment seems beyond futile. There does not appear to be anyone left, at least among people who would even remotely consider running.

In the next few weeks I am betting that we will see some truly bizarre Draft So-and-So campaigns on the internet and in the media. David Petraeus. Dick Cheney. George Bush the Elder. Jeb (again). Sarah Palin (again). Rudy Giuliani. Katherine Harris. Mike Gravel. Ross Perot. John Anderson. Oliver North. Ted Nugent. Baltimore Orioles OF Luke Scott. Sideshow Bob. Gennifer Flowers. WWE superstar John Cena. This inanimate carbon rod.

Desperation does terrible things to one's judgment. But no matter how many names are floated in the upcoming weeks it is becoming increasingly likely that the Republicans are stuck, for better or worse, with the current field.

God have mercy on us all.

41 thoughts on “A HERO IN A LONG LINE OF HEROES…”

  • Totally thinking out loud but — Palin's gonna run, don't ya think? Her pea-sized brain and elephant-sized ego must be feeling that with Bachmann's wave having passed, Jesus wants her to run.

    Because honestly, I was pissed off when it looked clear that she _wasn't_ going to run. The loss of entertainment value hurt me deeply.

  • … oh, and the name of the song … @#$&%, I can't remember. Great album, tho', and then one of the strangest, abruptest declines ever.

  • What about Rubio?

    I think it'll probably be a Romney/Rubio ticket, which will allow the teabaggers a way to rationalize a vote for Romney.

  • Rubio is waiting until 2016 to run. He's young (for the position) and there's no reason to get his name dragged through the mud running against a bunch of nobodies. And there's no real reason to believe that any GOP candidate is going to beat the President. Rubio will wait until there isn't an incumbent and trounce the stuffed shirt the Democrats roll out.

    I want to add Hank Williams, Jr. to the bizarre draft list. He basically already announced his candidacy when he compared President Obama to Hitler – that's a GOP presidential candidate rite of passage, right?

  • Comrade Luke says:

    What I'm thinking is that Rubio gets involved in the campaign, with the intent of being VP in '12 so he can make a run on '16.

    I've heard from a few wingnuts that Rubio is basically a lock for VP, but who knows.

  • It's never a good idea to wait until the last minute to try to find a date for the prom. Shouldn't they have been grooming some pod person since, oh, about 1999?

    For some reason, I thought that one factor in the choice of running mate was (or used to be) someone who could run for President later, continuing the dynasty. Reagan paved the way for Bush I, Clinton paved the way for Gore. Perhaps Obama should ask Hillary to be his running mate for 2012 — or vice-versa, if you'll pardon the phrase. Even if Obama wins again, Joe Biden ain't happening, any more than Dick Cheney.

    The fact is, the GOP doesn't want the job at all. It's much easier just to bitch, stall, and get in the way. They'd rather point the finger than take any responsibility.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    Perry may yet win and be the white hope against Obama; I wouldn't bet the farm against him. Romney, the only other sane candidate, may win too. He is rich enough to hire the best people that will make him appealing to many Democrats. After all, we have dick cancer as president now.

    In 2016, the country will be in an awful shape no matter which party wins in 2012. The Democratic Party may have a pressing urgency to find good new leaders; there are plenty such individuals in the party. At least, it's my hope.

  • Here's my prediction: Romney gets the nomination, which forces the GOP southern evangelical base to come to terms with its prejudices in new and exciting ways (whom to vote for? The black Marxist or the moderate Mormon?). Out of this mess comes a third party tea party candidate who splits the conservative vote and gives Obama the election, but gets enough support to set up for an 2016 run.

    I just don't know who the tea party candidate will be. Not Palin, as she's just not that popular in the south. I'm taking out Haley, Rubio and Jindal too, as the candidate pretty much has to be a white guy with solid Protestant roots. Rand Paul perhaps?

  • It'd be worth a column to actually unpack "stuck", as in the GOP is "stuck" with what they have. Is the problem that none of these candidates can win in a general election? Is the problem that one of them might win in a general election? The GOP is already stuck with the radical no-nothingism of both the Tea Party and Grover Norquist. They are one of two major parties, and their basic foundational concept is, destroy government. They've been stuck with that since Reagan, and over thirty years their pundit ranks have "educated" the electorate into agreeing with their contradictory principles. They are the party of denial. Their one black candidate has to say, publicly, that "nigger" is ok with him, after first making a mild-mannered objection.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    When all the dreamin', and wishin', and hopin', and prayin', are done, it'll be Romney/Rubio, and they'll have a legit shot next year. It'll also set-up Rubio to run in '16 if they lose, and '20 if they win.

    This is the least scary ticket, and it still scares the shit out of me.

    We are not too far away from being The Dominionist Christian Corporate States of America.
    A hyper-religious, Fascist 3rd World Banana Republic, led by banana's Republicans.

  • Yeah, I think Sideshow Bob is the answer. He's an oppressed-by-Liberals-because-he-wants-to-exercise-his-First-Amendment-Rights-on-Bart-until-Bart-stops-twitching cartoon character, so what's not to like? Being a cartoon character, he won't go and drop some uinintentional "gaffe" like those fallible humans who keep screwing up and saying things that annoy the crazy folks. Plus he looks so harmless, and with that hair you know the pot-smoking liberals will think he's one of them! Perfect disguise. I admit that he's an Intellekchul, but that can be toned down (see "cartoon character", above).
    Sadly, though, I think CU is right – now that Luke Perry has made the cardinal sins of (1) allowing that perhaps children should not be eviscerated for their parents' sins, and (2) looking really damned pathetic on national TV, Mitt's the only credible option. Rubio is both his Commissar and his "friendly mask for easily-fooled and wishful-thinking Liberals". So, unless Obama can buck the long history of disaster for Presidents who fiddle while the economy burns, it looks like we're in for a short, sharp shock come next year. Still, this is good news for the People Who Count. Soon they will be able to cheaply hire crowds of adoring serfs to line the streets as they pass from the gates of their mansions to the magnificent entrydrives of their business principalities. Throwing small change and candy to the childlike proletariat always makes good TV.

  • Monkey Business says:

    Palin has already prepped the field for her inevitable declination to run. She realizes that actually running for President and getting stomped in the Primary would irreparably damage her personal brand. Why bother governing when you can wait in the tall grass and sling arrows at passers-by?

    The GOP hasn't yet grasped that the candidates they have are the ones they deserve. Four years ago, they were thumped to the point of being completely out of power in government. They had the option to do some soul searching in the political wilderness and come out a better party, but instead they decided that rather than make the hard choices, they were just going to give the big crazy core of their party a bear hug and ride that to victory. Having now empowered their racist, homophobic, xenophobic, reactionary base, they're suddenly discovering that they have a noticeable lack of quality candidates for President. They're stuck between someone electable but unpalatable to the base like Romney, or someone electable but red meat for the base like Perry, Bachmann, or Cain.

    All the while, the Democrats are watching these primaries with glee, and the President is on the move.

    It's possible that rather than being a repeat of 2010, 2012 could be a repeat of 2008.

  • I have no idea what the fuck they are going to do, but I know one thing. No matter what the hell the media tells us it won't be Herman Cain. He never had a chance and we all know why.

  • It's going to be Romney, and we all know it. Conservatives will suck it up and vote for him because he's better than the black guy. The Dem game will be to paint Romney as a stuffed-shirt corporate Wall St. raider type (just the goshdarn guy that got us into this mess) and the Repub. game will be to paint Romney as a moderate, problem solver, expert on the economy (which is just what we need right now). Not sure who will win but it's not a big deal since the policy outcomes will vary only slightly. Wake me up when it's over.

  • "Amazingly, she once put out a good album. It was a long time ago."

    Whip-Smart is good, dammit! "Shane," "Nashville," "May Queen." What?

  • Totally off-topic, but Phair's lyrics first described – for me, anyways – the new guy living in the small town who quietly hints at his dangerous, glorious past, at his violence and his sacrifices in service to our country. He could be mobilized again at any moment to go on another special mission. You'd better respect him. Or else.

  • Elder Futhark says:

    Do I get bonus points for not giving a shit what the song or who the artist was? I think so.

    Speaking of which, I took a really giant shit, just a mammoth lunker then other day, the kind that has you mystified as to when exactly I ate all that food. I'm pretty sure it was an accurate cast of my colon.

    I say the Republicans draft that whale of a turd. It's somewhere in the ol' Mississippi bobbin' around like a sawyer, right now as we speak. Maybe Haley Barbour could wrestle it ashore.

  • Halloween Jack says:

    You know what? Fuck it, I'll run. I'll get some of that sweet Koch cash (and, if Christine O'Donnell is any indication, I won't ever have to give it back or even justify how I spend it!), and I'll shake up the campaign by using the word "motherfucker" at least once in every speech and debate, and further rock the debates by occasionally looking thoughtfully at my opponent and saying, "You know, that's a really good point,", then smiling gently and not saying anything else while the clock runs out. Nina Hartley will be my running mate.

  • There's a chance of an inconclusive primary season, with three or four candidates splitting the delegates but no one with a majority. I wonder what the reaction would be to a brokered convention?

  • @Ken: Not for the Republicans. It would be a thin outside chance even for Dems, but Republicans just aren't the sort to split that way. What's the old line? "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line"? I can't imagine that there will be more than four candidates (probably three) still in by Super Tuesday (probably three), and the fallout from Super Tuesday will knock out all but two if it doesn't lock in one entirely.

  • And Sarah Palin has announced she's not running. Frankly, I expected her to milk it for a few more weeks, rake in a few more bucks with those "send me some money and I'll think about it some more" e-mails. I guess Roger Ailes' admission that he hired her for her tits was too humiliating.

  • I know I'm late to the game, but I thought it would be funny to relate that I couldn't remember Liz Phair's name but the lyrics did trigger a memory of her boobs in the liner notes.

  • I agree with your last sentence in one way–it seems astonishing that the field for one of the two major parties would have so many fringe candidates–to put it politely–at the center of things. Romney's nomination seems essentially assured, to me, at this point–I can't imagine Perry and his handlers have the ability to reinvent him as someone credible enough to be president, and ultimately the outcome will follow the money that has so far been withheld while looking for a savior. Maybe I am wrong, but the interests behind the Republic party must surely think that Romney can be controlled, and recognize he's their best shot. The thought that one of the others might be nominated is truly frightening.

    On the other hand, I can't help but feel happy that the field is so weak. Certainly there are reasons to criticize Obama and his administration, both on tactics and on strategy, and perhaps on core beliefs, though I admire his pragmatism, personally, as well as his intellect. Romney, like McCain, certainly will not be able to energize a Republican and Tea Party base, nor appeal very much to the independent middle. The absence of a charismatic figure on the right–which Romney certainly is not–seems like a good thing.

    I cast my first presidential vote for Carter in 1976, and was violently surprised to see that Reagan beat him so handily–the election was actually thought to be far closer than it turned out to be. Luckily, Perry is no Reagan. Christie might have been, though the logistics of competing are vastly different now. I'd be very surprised not to see that the dominant narrative in the press soon shifts to the inevitability of Romney's nomination, especially if the primary date turmoil maintains NH as the benchmark and potentially de-emphasizes SC.

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