According to Donald Trump, his greatest anger over his debate debacle is that Michele Bachman declined to attend. Trump claims Bachman called him frequently for advice and even indicated that if she won the nomination, she'd consider him for vice president.
That probably says all anyone needs to know about the dangers of a Bachman candidacy. Have Republicans learned nothing from their last vice presidential disaster?
Top brass in the Republican Party are now grousing that their current presidential nominating path is becoming nothing more than a media circus with no real substance. It's amazing it took them this many boring, overproduced debates to figure that out. Though, I must quickly add, those of us who write columns and act as talking heads for all things political were extremely grateful for all the good fodder created through those forums. I just don't think it was the type of attention the Republicans were really looking to get.
The current Republican nominating process resembles nothing more than a stampede of cattle responding to electric prods on their butts as candidates race to see who can kiss up most to the extreme religious right. This is apparently considered the only path to nomination. Unfortunately, the majority of voters in this country do not live on that extreme edge. So once the nomination process is complete, the candidate will have to make a sharp left and try to find the middle again without looking like a total suck up. That's not going to be easy.
Rick Perry is currently running an ad claiming it is wrong that gays can serve openly in the military but kids can't pray in school, as though those two topics were somehow related. The fact that a soldier no longer has to lie about who he or she is in order to give their limbs and possibly their lives to their country is somehow equated with the fact that kids can't pray in public schools. This, despite the fact their parents have every right to put them in a religious school if they feel prayer is that important to their school day.
This is pandering of the most absurd and despicable kind. To somehow put gay members of our military in the line of this fire as though being given their rights has deprived school children of other rights is ridiculous. Religion should be everyone's private choice. That's what our constitution guarantees. Anyone can pick their religion and practice it freely.
So when I hear extremists complain that their religious rights are being abridged because they can't force their prayers on others, I wonder how they view Christmas. This is a paid holiday based strictly on a Christian celebration. Might not the Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Wiccans among us wonder why their holidays don't get equal billing?
The point is that Christianity is in no danger whatsoever in America today. But politicians like Rick Perry have to act as though it is in order to win the approval of the far right wing of their party. The question then becomes how do they get back to the middle with any credibility when they are running for national office in a country where the majority of voters are not worried that Christianity is losing some war in America. Where, in fact, the majority of voters are more worried about the war on the middle class and where their kids are going to find a job than whether those kids can sing Silent Night in a school pageant. How does the nominee bank back and not look like a panderer?
I'm glad Donald Trump and his cheap, tawdry braggadocio is being frozen out of this process. I'm grateful Michele Bachman won't have a chance to select him as a running mate. I'm grateful that most serious Republican candidates have the good grace to be embarrassed by the three-ring circus that is their nominating process.
But I'm also saddened that at a time when our country is at a critical crossroads and our current leadership is seemingly unable to rise to the occasion, there is no one of any stature emerging from this process and causing me to think that maybe, just maybe, they would make a good leader.
Ron Paul is looking much more appealing than I ever thought possible.
Elise Patkotak is an Alaska writer and author of "Parallel Logic," a memoir of her 28 years in Barrow. Web site, www.elisepatkotak.com.