GOP Debates: Time to Call Off the Clowns
RightWatch: The last slugfest confirmed that the Republican contenders are Obama's best weapon.
The depth of Romney's problem with the extreme right was illustrated during Thursday night's debate by a remark from Bachmann. Mirroring the belief of Tea Party fanatics who will play an outsized role in the GOP's nominating process, she declared that because of Obama's weakness, Republicans need not move to the electoral center in order to oust him.
"President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern times," Bachmann shrilly intoned. "He hasn't gone to the basement yet. It'll be a lot lower than what it is now. That's why we need to choose a candidate who represents conservatives and constitutional conservative positions."
That's exactly what Obama is praying for: that he will get to run against a Republican champion who believes the nonsense that Bachmann throws out about the dangers of vaccinations, or Perry's hooey about Social Security, states' rights and alleged scams about global warming. The president would like nothing better than a rerun of Lyndon Johnson's battle against Barry Goldwater, whose ultraright convictions were far out of touch with the mainstream.
What he doesn't want is a serious dissection of the economic slump that has persisted on his watch from an opponent who actually stands a chance of luring fed-up independents and disappointed Democrats to unseat him. That's exactly what Romney (who has impressive credentials as a businessman and did some good things as governor that he is now trying to run away from) could give him, if he weren't immersed in a pandering contest with his nutty opponents. He may be forced to say crazy stuff to win the nomination that he can't shuck off when and if he faces Obama.
That would be a tragedy, denying the U.S. the serious and substantive debate it needs about the best way to pull itself out of the muck and build a better future for its increasingly desperate citizens. We need a real competition of ideas between the best-qualified contenders, not a clown show like Thursday's Republican debate.
Jack White is a frequent contributor to The Root.