Op-Ed

Kentucky voices: Bankrupt primary rolls on with enough money to bluff

With Super Tuesday in the can, it appears the GOP is still not ready to take the bit in its mouth and get behind Mitt Romney.

The party really doesn't want to do it, but the primary season has revealed a bit more of the craziness than they had anticipated.

The establishment GOPers who exist just out of sight kept prodding former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to ride in and save the day. But wisdom prevailed and neither wanted to take a chance on the knife-throwing in this dustup.

I can't say I blame them. Last go-round the GOP went with Sen. John McCain — formerly known as a moderate with a bit of a maverick streak, meaning that occasionally he would shake hands with a Democrat. He took on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his partner and she stole his "maverick" mojo.

This time, a formerly perfectly reasonable man, Mitt Romney, once again sought the approval of his party but soon determined that perfectly reasonable was not going to cut the cake so he abandoned that tack to become "severely" conservative.

The problem is that his record did not reflect that and he has had to perform the unenviable task of running against himself. It is very hard to win a nomination doing that and he should be awarded extra points just for accomplishing that feat of derring-do.

I really don't know who decided that the GOP primary process would open with a series of sponsored debates, but my hat is off to them. That took a remarkable sense of confidence that President Barack Obama could be beat with a ham sandwich and a seeming lack of realization of the reactionary nature of the right wing of the party.

Debates are the perfect format for exposing weaknesses and highlighting strengths and only one of those options was foreseen. Who knew that people who seriously sought to run the most powerful office in the world would resort to such guttersnipe tactics to achieve their personal aspirations? It would have been just as easy to engage in civil, logical debate on issues our country desperately needs discussed. Well, so much for integrity and the common weal when it comes down to living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

These candidates have resorted to some of the nastiest and least relevant stuff I can recall and I remember Richard Nixon. Even Barry Goldwater seems like a shining light of philosophical discourse in comparison. Each candidate has been bankrolled by one or more knights in shining armor made of gold and trimmed in greenbacks. The funding has overcome the sanity and reason of the candidates.

It has allowed them to continue to hamstring opponents without being forced to fold. Everyone has had enough money to keep raising and the others keep calling their bluff.

If the nominee of the Grand Old Party actually wants to be president, everyone knows that he is going to have to tack back to the middle to actually get the people to vote for him. This inundation of PAC money has artificially allowed the losers to not lose so soon and has kept the apparent nominee from mitigating his positions a bit.

Now, the extreme right of the party sees mitigation as a cardinal sin subject to excommunication and just refuses to be driven back into the bushes (no pun intended).

The old heads seem to have finally accepted that Romney is their best chance for this go-round and have sent the Grand Old Dame, none other than Barbara Bush, out to speak the word out loud: compromise.

Even after these Super Tuesday results, the deed is not yet done and Romney will still have some heavy slogging to do to get to Tampa. Then, the heavy slogging will be to get back to the middle enough to defeat the so-called charlatan in the White House.

Just think, we still have eight months to go until this is over. Eight months of millions of dollars of ridiculous advertising designed to make the other guy look bad.

My take? It stinks. Oh yeah, the charlatan wins again.

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