I feel guilty watching the slow motion train wreck that is the American Republican Party's cross-country primary and caucus race to elect a leader. I know I shouldn't laugh at something so utterly sad - that the best hope for America's future has come down to a bunch of guys nobody likes and nobody trusts.
I know it's wrong - the enjoyment of watching a neighbour self destruct in public - but I can't take my eyes off the incredible spectacle that unfolds on the news each evening. It's like an American soap opera - All My Children Are Raving Lunatics.
First Herman Cain took the lead but was quickly shot down in a hail of bullets fired by Thelma & Louise & Donna & Karen & Sharon & Ginger. Herman called a press conference with his wife at his side, and while winking repeatedly at Diane Sawyer, declared his disgust for the media. A shame that one, because as the former CEO of Godfather Pizza, at least America's school lunch program had a chance of survival.
Then square-jawed and gung-ho Texas Governor Rick Perry became the Republican's flavour of the week. Suffering from a series of on-camera brain freezes, Perry said that if he was elected president he would immediately get rid of the federal departments of commerce, education and . and one other one he's still trying to think of a month after he dropped out of the race.
Perry's gaffes made Herman Cain's geographic reference to "Ubecky, becky, becky, stan, stan" sound like an actual country.
Then Mitt Romney, formerly the governor of Massachusetts and now a man with more money, more homes and better hair than all the remaining three candidates put together, shot to a lead so comfortable, two out of every ten Republicans could listen to him speak without gagging.
Always lurking in the weeds was Congressman Ron Paul who looks like Pat Paulsen and thinks he's Randy Quaid. Paul believes AIDS patients are victims of their own lifestyle and should be denied health care. He also confided in a colleague that the 9/11 terrorist attack was orchestrated by the CIA and that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney knew about it. (I find that patently absurd that Cheney would make George Bush privy to an event of that magnitude!)
Sneaking around just off stage was former Pennsylvania Congressman Rick Santorum who looks like a public golf course golf pro with a Bible in his bag. When asked about welfare in Iowa he immediately responded that he didn't want "to make black people's lives better by giving them other people's money." In Iowa, 84% of people receiving food stamps are white. Santorum and his wife creeped everybody out when they slept all night in a hospital with their stillborn child and then took the body home in the morning to meet the other children, introducing him as "an angel." Santorum remains a strong third in the leadership race.
The former House Speaker Newt "The Dough Boy" Gingrich has been neck and neck with Mitt Romney but is historically destined to lose in the end because he doesn't have "the hair" or the millions needed for hate ads. Dogged by money and marital affairs, Newt predicted that by the end of his second term as president, America would have a colony on the moon. He backs off a bit when informed that America no longer has the rockets to get there.
Gingrich, America's most famous voyeur, ran President Bill Clinton to the ground for his affair with an intern and dragged America through the impeachment mud for one full year knowing he did not have the votes to win in the end. Now as a presidential hopeful, when asked by CNN's John King about his own extramarital affairs, Gingrich said: "I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that . it's as close to despicable as anything I can imagine!" Gingrich received a standing ovation and a 10% bounce in the polls. His words will go down in Republican party history as "The Hypocritical Oath."
But then, after Mitt Romney finally revealed an estimated net worth of $264 million paying a tax rate of 14% (about 10% to 15% less than a New York cab driver) he took the lead. Running out of personal scandals, Newt Gingrich could not make up the difference in popularity.
But then, after victory in Florida, Romney who made $42 million in the last two years without actually holding down a job, tripped over his tongue. 'I'm not concerned about the very poor," he said.
Ordinary Americans were outraged. Romney put that kind of elitist posturing behind him by . scoring the endorsement of Donald Trump at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. He looks unbeatable now.
Pathetic and edgy but doomed from the beginning, it's like watching a horrible adventure movie in which Dumbo - the Republican Party's elephant falls off the circus train but limps on toward the next caucus state with a broken leg. Then a farmer shoots him to put him out of his misery but he doesn't die and now bleeding from the head he bravely soldiers on. He's attacked by wild dogs, hit by an old guy driving a handicapped scooter, gets one foot caught in a bear trap but still he crawls ever forward toward the national convention in Tampa.
It's just not right that as mascots go, the Republicans got the elephant and the Democrats got the ass. Why would you ever spend money renting a Will Ferrell farce when this stuff comes on TV free, every night at six?