When you look at any group of people you can put them on a continuum, assuming you’re willing to be judgmental. But since most of us are, we can look at a group and make a decision on who is most sane and who is least. It is totally subjective to be sure, but it is a yardstick that can be used to measure relative sanity.
All that being said, today the Republican field for their parties nomination got measurably less sane today. You see Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced that the will not be seeking that nomination. There are probably a lot of reasons for this. Personally I did not think that he really had that much of a chance really. His crypto-racist statements (even if they did not feel racist to him) and his long association with groups that are overtly racist were going to make him have a lot of problems.
There were others issues, like his history as a lobbyist and his, frankly, his physical appearance compared to the rest of the field that were going to make things just a little too hot for him. For all that I think he is a dyed in the wool conservative he was not insane. Sure he had the tax cut meme tattooed on the inside of his eyelids and he does not give two hoots for the poor or even middle class in this country, but at least he is not bark at the moon insane.
By taking out one of the folks on the sane side of the equation, it has moved the median of sanity in the Republican presidential field towards “wicky-in-the-wacky-woo” and away from “evil but sane”. After all we have folks like Donald Trump (who is only pretending to run, even though he is a front runner at this point) running around talking Birtherism or Michele Bachman talking about not raising the debt ceiling and there being no consequences.
Which raises a question to me; has the Republican base reached the point where there is no candidate that will actually fulfill their requirements? Mitt Romany is in huge trouble for Romany-care, Tim Pawlenty for all his attempts to court the Teahadists has been greeted with the same enthusiasm as cold oatmeal with no honey; Michele Bachman herself actually said that the Presidents birth issue is a dead one; Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer, and is a Catholic (not the best of the religions for the Right these days); Rick Santorum is a failed politician and folks are treating him that way; and then there is Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, both of whom are too busy making money to really want to be president.
I just don’t see anyone on the Republican side of things who has a high enough profile who can also be all things to all Republicans and still have a chance in hell of winning against an incumbent president. Love him or hate him or just have a bunch of places where he disappoints you, President Obama is a great campaigner. He gives awesome speeches and he will do it again this cycle.
If the Republicans are to have any kind of chance of winning they are going to have to find a way to get the nuts out of the equation before there are a lot of serious debates. Donald Trump will be gone in just over 20 days, when NBC announces that he will get another season of “Celebrity Apprentice” and that is going to leave a huge vacuum in the Republican field. If someone like Michele Bachman steps up with more crazy talk and folks like Pawlenty continue to languish in the bottom of the pack, we may see more of the “reasonable” (yeah scare quotes and I still use the word advisedly)