Politico's Roger Simon laments that the Republican circus of 2012 has become the traveling freakshow of 2016, and if this weekend's Iowa Freedom Summit is any indication, for the rest of year this least we're looking at GOP politics as comedic performance art.
The Republican Party’s clown car has become a clown van.
With nearly two dozen possible presidential candidates, the GOP is having a seriousness deficit. There can’t possibly be that many people who are real candidates.
But they can ride in the clown car from event to event, and nobody can stop them.
At the Freedom Summit here Saturday, two dozen speakers ground through 10 hours of speeches in front of more than 1,000 far-right Republicans.
As it turned out, clown car candidates are not necessarily funny. Since they have nothing to lose, they can attack their fellow Republicans with abandon.
Usually they attack from the right, which can force the eventual nominee farther to the right than the nominee wants to go. This risks losing moderate voters in the general election.
This was not a concern at the Freedom Summit, however. The farther to the right, the better.
It was a classic cattle call, with speaker after speaker pandering to the crowd. Sometimes, however, pandering was not enough.
In the circus, the worse thing clowns lob is confetti. In the political circus, the clowns lob grenades. Verbal, to be sure, but they still can be deadly.
Bill O’Brien, a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told the crowd: “I don’t know what is worse, nominating someone because he has been nominated once before (i.e., Mitt Romney) or someone who endorses Common Core (i.e., Jeb Bush). Are we going to nominate one of them?”
The audience bellowed: “Noooooo.”
Indeed, Jeb and Mittens were nowhere near this mess, but the rest of them were: Christie, Trump, Huckabee, Santorum, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Carly Fiorina, hell even Moose Lady was there. The coming civil war in Reaganland is going to be brutal and bloody and when it's over the GOP is going to look as bombed-out and soulless as they are in the inside.
And we'll all have a huge laugh and figure that these freaks will be pushed aside for Mitt or more likely Jeb Bush and that the billionaires that really run the party will make their choice and get to work as soon as possible in order to go after Hillary with a united front.
But something tells me it's not going to be as easy as the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson think, especially after this. All the money in the world might not be able to sell Jeb or Mitt to the Republicans who will be voting the primaries, which could make the July 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland into the Greatest Show on Earth.