Neo-neocon makes some good points.
Coupled with this “especially weak field” business is the idea that someone else would have been a much stronger candidate this year. I happen to share that perception; I think Ryan or Rubio or Christie or a couple of others would have been preferable. But you know what? That may just be a case of grass being greener on the other side, or the road not taken.
I can just hear the attacks now if they’d entered the fray (and this is only what we know about so far; no doubt there would have been a mad scramble to dig up dirt on all of them, and/or to use truncated quotes to make it seem as though they were saying something they weren’t): Ryan and Rubio? Too young. Ryan too geeky and uncharismatic, and a House member to boot. No executive experience. Rubio’s a newbie. Just who does he think he is? He’s hardly gotten his feet wet on the national level, and here he’s running for president?
And don’t get me started on Christie. RINO extraordinaire. Too fat; wouldn’t there be health issues? Another inexperienced newbie. Too hotheaded.
I’ve made some of these points myself here and there, as has Roger: That among the reasons that these other fantasy candidates look better than the actual candidates is because they remain fantasy candidates. They’re political pin-ups until they join the race and subject themselves to the scrutiny that comes with being a contestant.
We have the field we have, flaws and all. Political candidates, being human and all, always have some flaws. Reagan had them, too.
Do I wish Mitt Romney had, say, Rick Perry’s governance record instead of his own? Do I wish he had the killer instinct or Herman Cain’s wit that he’ll need in the fall? Absolutely. I also wish Perry had Gingrich’s ability go gladiator on the media. And I wish Gingrich had any of the other candidates’ personal life — Romney, Santorum, Paul, take your pick. I wish Ron Paul wasn’t a gold bug with very questionable past newsletters who veers to the left of Dennis Kucinich on foreign policy. I wish Rick Santorum could build a real national organization, and could find a way to stop coming off as a scold. I’d wish all this on a proverbial star if I thought it would do any good. There is a meteor shower going on this week.
Romney does come off with some of the right instincts sometimes. Here he rejects the “free stuff” mentality that the Obama administration is actively and irresponsibly fostering.
The GOP candidates are what they are, and they’re all a zillion times better than the incumbent. We need to keep our eyes on the prize.