The Incredible Shrinking Republican Field of Presidential Candidates

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 5, 2011

George Will is quite right to mock Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich for some of the silly things that they have said about Barack Obama. He is also quite right to note the following:

Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

So the Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.

I would add that while having “five plausible Republican presidents” is a good thing for the Republican party as it heads into the 2012 Presidential election season, it would be nicer still if all of the Presidential candidates stayed as far away from the crazy as possible; if only because of the media’s tendency to ignore the virtues of the sensible Republican Presidential candidates when given the choice to focus on the crazy instead. Additionally, the Republican party benefits from having as many smart, sensible people as possible fighting for the Republican Presidential nomination, instead of being distracted by one or more candidates who clearly aren’t ready for prime time. The smart and sensible help the party’s image, and they help ensure that the eventual nominee, having gone through the fires of facing the Republican party’s best and brightest, will be as prepared as a candidate can possibly be to take on an incumbent President in a general election–no easy task, as history reminds us.

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