Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Joe Klein on the State of the Republican Field

Joe Klein is pretty awful in general. But ouch.

This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party's banner. They are the most compelling argument I've seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can't let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mick Huckabee, the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot--please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.

Now, the idea that somehow Daniels or Jeb would be above this kind of pandering is the Beltway mindset in action--there's always a good, strong Republican out there to lead us!--but outside of that, this is a dead-on summary of the Republican field.

I want to especially agree that having one of these jokers actually get the nomination is a disaster, even for Democrats. Because if Gingrich and Palin and Huckabee are the new mainstream of the Republican Party, they pull that party ever farther rightward. With Klein himself, among many other Beltway people, fetishizing a glorious but never stable center, this also moves American politics to the right. And that is not a good thing. Even if there's a 90% chance Obama wins, that 10% chance is a 10% chance for the American apocalypse.