Of the six or eight (depending on who is counting) Republicans vying for their party's nomination for the upcoming presidential election, at this point in time three individuals lead the pack. None of them has either intellectual credibility or persuasive rhetoric ~ at least not to this observer. And almost certainly the lead will shift over time. Still, it is instructive to regard recent proclamations by each of the three, to get a feel for what our choices might be in 2012.
Michele Bachmann ~ Minnesota Representative whose surreal rhetoric has eclipsed even that of the Tea Party darling Sarah Palin, would like to see our democracy replaced by a Christian theocracy. She is allied with Wallbuilders, which "advocates for the submission of political authority to the doctrines of the Bible (or at least their interpretation of the Bible)." Oh? What about the millions of citizens who happen to be non-Christians ~ Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists? What about one of our essential founding principles, the separation of church and state? Perhaps it's time that Bachmann and her fundamentalist Christian thugs find a nice unoccupied tropical island, and start their own nation. My nation is not for sale.
Like many of her predecessors, Bachmann has an eerie talent for providing non-flattering photo ops. Witness the very strange image of her unfortunate attempt to navigate a corn dog at the Iowa state fair (see above), which prompted one wag to comment that her favorite hero in literature is Fellatio Alger. Or witness the proliferation of photoshopped images which place her disconcerting eyes onto the faces of other celebrities, with truly eerie results. Just about her only redeeming feature is the ability to provide so much material for late night comedians.
Rick Perry ~ Texas Governor who conveniently declared his candidacy too late for voters in the Iowa straw poll, believes that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. Again, a candidate's imcompetent failure to grasp even the simplest elements of the U.S. Constitution is dazzling. But then, this Texas-centric showman has a history of promoting social policy which can charitably be regarded as regressive at best, catastrophic at worst. For instance, both he and Bachmann have ties to dominionism, the movement (mentioned above in connection with Wallbuilders) whose goal is "a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of Biblical law."
Like most of his fellow Republicans, Perry appears terrified of antagonizing the radical Tea Party, and like them, his top 15 financial donors list is dominated by big business (see chart below, click to enlarge). And wait ~ didn't we just go through the debacle of electing a mentally-and-ethically-challenged Texas governor to the presidency? Can you spell George W. Bush? Once again, somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot.
Mitt Romney ~ former Massachussetts Governor who lost the Republican nomination to John McCain in 2008, wisely stood back and let the other candidates savage each other during the most recent Republican presidential debate. His politics are true to the hyper-conservative mold of the times, another cookie-cutter obstructionist who advocates cutting spending, cutting taxes, cutting benefits to the elderly and disabled, perhaps even (tacitly) wishing those who disagree with him would cut their own wrists.
Or am I being uncharitable? Stay tuned, as the lo-o-ong campaign season plays out.