Jewish World Review March 9, 2011 / 3 Adar II, 5771
On the GOP Menu for 2012
By Jonah Goldberg
And so now we enter the mopey phase of the
It's like that feeling you get when you're starving and you go into a restaurant. At first everything on the menu looks great, until you have to make your choice and you realize there's nothing you actually want to eat.
There isn't a German word for this sensation, but one that comes close is futterneid -- the envy one feels when somebody orders a better meal than yours. That's not perfectly apt, but it does capture the despair that the best dishes aren't on the menu.
Another source of dread can be found in the worry that the good candidates will be vanquished, or at least diminished, by the bad and the ugly ones. This is
Will, who's famously smitten with
Will's sharp pen here is reminiscent of Jesus' "winnowing fork," which he used to "gather his wheat into the barn," leaving the chaff to burn with "unquenchable fire." Those Will would chuck into the flames are the "careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons." His exhibits A and B are
Some Gingrich aides signaled that he would announce an exploratory committee; others said he wouldn't. The brilliant but tragically undisciplined former House speaker compromised with a website that would explore the idea of an exploratory committee. Or something.
Meanwhile, Huckabee thought the climate was ripe for a dissertation on
Will, who is not prone to overstatement, nonetheless exaggerates his case. But you can only exaggerate the truth, and the indisputable fact is that Gingrich, Huckabee and several potential contenders are deeply flawed.
Each candidate has strengths and weaknesses, but one common problem, as my
Still, Huckabee and Gingrich's bouts of verbal incontinence notwithstanding, conservatives are united on the core economic and policy issues. That consensus will undoubtedly manifest itself in the primaries.
And isn't that what primaries are for? Let the voters use their own winnowing forks. It's not like the
Ultimately the election will largely be a referendum on Obama and the economy. The desire to order off-menu will abate over time. And Republicans will surely stomach the nominee, if for no other reason than they're ravenous to make Obama a one-termer. And, as the Irish say, hunger is the best sauce.
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