Even if every polling indicator wasn't already pointing towards a Democrat surge next year, the line up of wannabes, freaks and burnouts among the Republicans should be giving the American people pause.
John McCain, the establishment candidate who seems baffled at his reversal of fortune from heir apparent to busted flush. His slavish support of Bush's insane Mesopotamian quagmire has lost him all of his independent and conservative Democrat support while the right wing base of the GOP does not, and never will trust him to actually be one of their own. McCain just laid off 50 campaign workers. Rumors are already flying that he may withdraw early and end his lingering death march.
Mitt Romney is an empty suit who flip flops almost daily, blown wherever the polls lead. The Christianists don't trust him because of the Mormonism, the far right correctly assumes he's telling them what they want to hear now on the joys of torture and expanding Gitmo - if he wins the nomination the message to the general public will be completely different from the message to the base and they know it. Then there's the dog torture. And the links to groups that torture children. He's the torture candidate, and even if he wins the nomination he's going to turn off the American people. He's the candidate who will suffer most from the fact that candidates can no longer say one thing to the base and another to the general population without being called on it by the legion of watchers on the Internet.
Rudy Giuliani, America's mayor, still coasting on 9/11. This guy has so many skeletons in his closet and so many knives being sharpened for the perfect moment to strike that the Republicans really should be praying he doesn't win the nomination. Not that they have a lot of better options. Combining Bush's disdain for the rule of law and any limitations on his most authoritarian leanings with a vengeful paranoia all his own, if Giuliani doesn't flame out in the primaries he certainly will in the general.
Newcomer to the race is Fred Thompson. Hollywood Fred, best known as the disappointing replacement DA for Adam Schiff on Law and Order, seems to be the GOP establishment's panicked response to McCain's flameout. With Fred you get flip-flopping, an embarrassingly young and surgically pretty trophy wife and his brief career as Richard Nixon's personal snitch during Tricky Dick's impeachment hearings. Thompson is a desperation play by the party establishment.
The rest of the field of religious extremists like Huckabee and Brownback and no-hopers like Tancredo and Gilmore are just collecting face time. The only Republican candidate with any real credibility, honor and intellectual coherence and consistency is old school libertarian Ron Paul. He's very much a return to the Republican Party as it existed decades ago and as such he doesn't have a prayer.
When you factor in the ideological sea change among independents, the huge swing to the Democrats among younger Americans many who will be voting for the first time next year and things look bad for the GOP. When you add in the way they've completely lost the Hispanic vote and that they NEED to win Florida in any electoral college winning calculation, a state they lost in 2000 (Don't test me on this - we all know they did) and only barely won in 2004, things look VERY bad for the GOP.
There are a few hacks in the Democratic field too, but it's one of their strongest lineups in years, not even counting the possibility of Gore parachuting in at the last moment.
Things look bad for Republicans in congress too and a lot more Republican senators will be facing the voters in 2008 then were last year as well.
We may be about to see a perfect storm completely engulf the Republican party.
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