Jonathan Bernstein at the Washington Post Plum Line has a nice sharp little “Note to pundits“:
Here’s what you need to know about the Republican candidate field: this is it. No one starts running for president in August, less than six months before the voters start getting involved in Iowa and New Hampshire, and has any chance at all. At least, it’s never happened since the modern process has been fully in place (say, by 1980). And there’s no reason to expect it now…
The other thing I’d say to Republicans disappointed in the current choices (as Ross Douthat says he is today) is this: What you’re upset with isn’t the candidate — it’s the party. It’s inconceivable that anyone could get the Republican nomination while using anything but solid Tea Party rhetoric on pretty much every issue. They’re all going to claim that taxes should never, ever, ever be raised no matter what, that half of what the government does is evil or unconstitutional or whatever, that the scientific consensus on climate is some sort of crazed conspiracy, and so on down the line. I’ve been saying for some time now that the odds are against Republicans actually nominating a candidate who believes crazy things — but the odds of them nominating someone who says crazy things has gone up.
There is no Man on A White Horse remaining who can ride up and save the Republican Party, and its media enablers, from themselves. There’ll be no shortage of horse shit, however.