It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for the president and the Republicans who would be president… and not in a good way. If we’ve learned anything from this past fortnight, it’s just how far the GOP wannabes have to go before they can live up to the lofty standard that Dubya has set. Consider:

Sure, Mike Huckabee ignored the warnings that if Wayne Dumond were paroled, he would surely rape again, and maybe even kill… which he did. But Bush ignored warnings about 9/11; the shakiness of WMD intel and dangers of invading Iraq; the drowning of New Orleans; global warming; Pearl Harbor; and Iran’s lack of an active nuke program. That’s some industrial-strength ignoring right there.

Can Mike Huckabee provide that kind of clear-headed, focused leadership? I think not. He does get bonus points for completely missing the NIE deflating the Iranian Menace, and for his callous not-my-fault response to the Dumond revelations.

Rudy took advantage of city government resources to facilitate his extramarital affair and then tried to cover it up, but really, who could ever compare to Dubya in the coverup department? Destroyed interrogation tapes, millions of deleted e-mails, the invocation of "executive privilege" against every investigation, whether it makes sense or not. Hiding penny-ante travel expenses in the Loft Board budget? That’s not the way to command respect.

And then there’s Mitt, who’s so scared of the Christian Right that he had to give the Bizarro version of JFK’s don’t-hate-me-’cuz-I’m-Catholic speech to reassure skeptical fundies that he shares their vision of a pious, intolerant socially conservative government. Mitt may dog whistle talk a good game, but when the chips are down, can you really count on a Mormon to pack the Justice Department with Regent grads? Can you really get the same kind of blind, unquestioning loyalty from BYU grads?

Well, okay, maybe you can. We’ll call it a draw. But can Mitt ever attract the same kind of unconditional, one-of-us affection that Dubya inspires in the hard-right fundie community?

In fact, I can only think of one GOP presidential candidate with the chops to surpass Dubya at anything: Fred Thompson. Yes, Fred Thompson. It’ll be hard non-work to break Dubya’s towering naps-and-vacation-days record, but I think Fred is just the man to do it. Just… not much else.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that the Republican nominee could grow into the job, and become the kind of corrupt, self-absorbed, moralistic bloodthirsty tyrant that the GOP base adores, but it’s hard to see anything but glimmers of potential at this stage. Rudy certainly looks like the best bet, but he doesn’t talk about Jesus constantly, and I’m not sure he hates women and gays enough. That could be a problem. Now, if the right wing wanted to demonize ferrets instead of immigrants…