To say that the Republican Party has made a hash of things since it's mid-term election victories six months ago is an understatement, and it's clear that the series of self-inflicted disasters it has suffered since then stem from the mistaken notion that the victories were a mandate. They were no such thing.
What the victories were was a stew of anger, resentment and uncertainty amidst a recession that wouldn't quit. While that was to an extend a repudiation of the Democratic Party, it was not an endorsement of the GOP.
Many voters understood perfectly well that President Obama had inherited a huge mess -- economic and otherwise -- from his Republican predecessor. Obama's approval ratings remained relatively robust and were no worse than Ronald Reagan's at the same point in his first term; today they are sky high considering the low esteem with which politicians in general are held.
To say that the Republicans are desperate for a candidate who has a chance to beat Obama in 2012 also is an understatement, which has brought it to a bizarre crossroads: GOP bigs now acknowledge that they need an Obama-like nominee to beat Obama. Yes, the man that they have vilified non-stop for everything that he is and has said and done has become the party's presidential role model.
Wait, it becomes even more bizarre. This is because the person being bandied about as the most Obama-like prospective nominee is the party's one-man wrecking crew, Representative Paul Ryan.
Don't get me wrong. Ryan seems like a decent enough guy in the abstract, although I would never confuse him with Obama. And dealing with Medicare and other social programs that have become a drag on the federal budget is necessary.
But Ryan's prescription -- which already has lost the GOP one once "safe" House seat, puts a host of freshman congressfolk at risk in 2012 and virtually guarantees Obama's re-election -- has proved to be so widely unpopular that it has become the political equivalent of hemlock tea.
What in dog's name were the Republicans thinking when they approved and continue to approve of a plan that gives bread and water to the middle class, tax cuts to the rich and eliminates the Democratic-backed Wall Street oversight regulations that might have prevented or at least mitigated the recession?
And what are they thinking -- or smoking -- that would provoke them to push a Ryan candidacy?