It's difficult to keep track, isn't it? There are a few candidates missing here. Oh, yeah, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee are two and maybe Jim Gilmore and Peter King are two more. Do you think average Republicans can even identify all the candidates in this photo?
As we watch all the hopefuls board the 2016 Republican Ship of Fools one by one, we have to shake our heads at how nonsensical the GOP has allowed its nominating process to become. There are some serious nominees here, including Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, maybe a few others. The rest are living in a world of fantasy, including Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki (his great sin is being too mainstream), Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Lindsay Graham and oh, yes, the epitome of showboatism, Donald Trump.
But hopeless as their candidacies are, they can do some damage by making the Republican field look stupid. Instead of Bush and Walker and Paul and Rubio sitting down for a real discussion of how they would handle the important issues facing the country, we will have Graham wanting to declare war on Day One of his presidency, Rick Perry wanting to building a wall four miles high and two miles wide between the U.S. and Mexico, Rick Santorum explaining how contraceptives are evil, Ben Carson opining that prisons prove gayness is a choice....
Instead of that serious debate among serious contenders, they will be dragged down having to match the Tea Party favorites to prove their conservative bona fides. The no-chance candidates will pull the potential nominees farther to the right than they would naturally go, much to their detriment in a general election.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump will be the Genghis Khan of Republican field although he doesn't have a prayer of actually winning. He shredded them all in his announcement speech. Imagine how much bloodletting he'll engage in during the debates.
And who gets to make the decision about which Republicans will be allowed to participate in the debate (and, therefore, in the primary)? Why, Fox News, of course. The Republican leadership happily ceded its responsibility for vetting the candidates to good old Fox. (They are going by notoriously unreliable polling but they haven't revealed what polls they are using or what the criteria is).
And, naturally, Fox is more interested in the entertainment value of the debates than in the actual goal of allowing voters to make commonsense decisions for winnowing the field. So, when you look at it that way, you can see that The Donald will definitely provide more bang for a news channel's buck.
Good old Reince Priebus, Republican Chairman, must be wondering where all his power went since Fox has more authority than the party in the nominating process and the Koch Brothers will have more money than the party in the election process. What does the GOP actually need a leadership for?
There has to be a better way of narrowing the field down to a few sane candidates who might actually have a chance of winning rather than watching them having to respond to the utterly fantastical assertions of the right-wing nuts so that they come to the general election weak and bleeding.
Come on, Republicans, get with the program. The country is better off when we have a strong race of competing ideas. You're ensuring that your candidate will come into this with one hand tied behind his back.