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Former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich may have said it best:
“Never before in modern history have the Republicans considered a more bizarre group of characters, who bear more resemblance to the denizens of the bar in “Star Wars” than to serious leaders,” Reich says in a public forum on Politico.Com. “Their candidacies will only help President Obama, whose favorability ratings — despite a level of unemployment that would sink most presidents – remain relatively high.”
“Maybe while Bachmann is hiring staff she should also bring on a geography coach so she knows what state she’s actually in and what happened there,” Democratic consultant Garry South told Politico. “Having already misplaced the battles of Lexington and Concord in New Hampshire, will she also think Mt. Rushmore is in South Carolina, or confuse Iowa for Ohio? Democrats should be so lucky as to have Bachmann as the Republican nominee in 2012.”
In more than 40 years of covering politics as a journalist or working inside the system as a political operative, I have never witnessed such an invasion of flakes, kooks and outright nutcases enter the national limelight. Politics has always attracted the bizarre but the level of loons on the national stage is downright frightening.
Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Sarah Palin and others have turned the GOP into an international joke and broug6ht amazement at the support and enthusiasm they generate.
Legendary journalist H.L. Mencken once said nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American consumer. The same could be said of the American voters who actually cast their ballots for these folks.
Says Dante Scala, associated professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire on Politico:
High expectations are often a curse in presidential politics, and of those Michele Bachmann is blessedly free. Much like Pat Buchanan in 1992, she will be all about sending a message to the party establishment. Many tea partiers, I suspect, want just that: a messenger who will be faithful to their cause. Bachmann will travel light.
Assuming Sarah Palin takes a pass, the other likely tea party ambassador is Newt Gingrich. But like most every person who wants to be president, Gingrich’s campaign is ultimately about Gingrich. In 2012, he confronts his last chance to fullfill the promise of the Wonder Boy of the 1990s. His head is filled with references to Lincoln, Churchill and Reagan, and his hopes to be mentioned among them one day. And as iconoclastic as he imagines himself to be, his campaign is a failure without the blessing of his party.
In other words, it will be style, not substance, that drives the Tea Party faithful.
Barack Obama’s election as President in 2008 proves the failure of style over substance. His memorizing speeches thrilled crowds but his lack of experience and failure as a leader has left voters with buyer’s remorse and America still in trouble.
America deserves better Presidents but until we find a more informed electorate the likelihood of actually electing one remains an impossible dream.