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Can Republicans Avoid a Debacle?

To say the least, things do not look good for the Republicans at this moment. Rasmussen polls released Tuesday showed Romney trailing Obama at 49 to 42 and Santorum lagging even further behind at 41. No word on Gingrich, but it’s hard to be optimistic.

According to the pollster: Among unaffiliated voters, the president leads Romney by 10 and Santorum by 16.

Yikes. For those who don’t want to see a second Obama administration this is, as Riley used to say, “a revoltin’ development.”

And it gets worse. The candidates, bunched closely together in the polls and looking to separate themselves, are too busy denigrating each other to pay much more than temporary lip service (except on the evening of a primary victory) to the main enemy in the White House who expands his lead over them even while his own approval rating is a dismal -11.

What seemed even weeks ago as potentially a banner year for Republicans now appears a potential debacle. Not only is the continued loss of the presidency (Intrade now has Obama’s reelection at 60%) and the Senate an increasing likelihood, the loss of the House looms as a possibility.

The Republicans have only themselves to blame. Sure they have to contend with a dishonest and biased media, not to mention a meretricious administration honed on Chicago and Alinksy -- but this is a surprise? In reality, what the Republicans mostly have to contend with is themselves in an endless roundelay of “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most conservative of all?” – a game more befitting a theocracy than a democracy.

The debates came down to a contest about who had the more unsullied conservative bona fides and who would really fulfill their campaign promises about curtailing government spending and appointing pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. In truth they all would, but the media played up (and encouraged the candidates to play up) the idea that one or all of them might be lying, that there was a hidden liberal under the rock waiting to explode, whether it was Santorum with his earmarks and anti-right-to-work voting record, Gingrich with Fannie/Freddie links and global warming flirtation, Romney of RomneyCare and one time tolerance of abortion, etc., etc. The Republican electorate, like automatons in some Huxley novel, sat complaisantly at the debates as the media manipulated them into thinking one after the other of the candidates might be prevaricating. No one paid the slightest attention to the candidate’s actual ideas, even though the country was and is in the worst pass it has been in decades. And so, with little encouragement, fewer ideas were discussed in public, most relegated to the back pages of a website.