Andy Borowitz, characteristically, took the funniest shot at the GOP yesterday when he posted a faux news story in which the presidential candidates announced that the whole primary season had been an April Fool's Day prank. "I'm just amazed that the American people never figured out we were kidding," the "story" quoted Herman Cain as saying. "I mean, I kept saying '9-9-9' every four seconds, which was total and utter bulls--t."
It did seem like a comedy act at times, or maybe more of a Bizarro circus, with Mitt Romney as the fumbling ringmaster who never knew which act was coming next; Rick Perry as the not-ready-for-center-ring trapeze artist who kept falling without a net; Newt as the clown who liked to have himself fired out of a cannon but kept overshooting; Michele Bachmann as the scary snake lady; and so on.
Now Rick Santorum, who tried so hard to be the elephant tamer but could never quite get the giant beast to lumber his way, is finishing the last act, and the circus is about to leave town.
What comes next is going to be a lot grimmer: a marathon of money- and mud-slinging between two men -- Romney and Obama -- who in truth are not all that different in outlook, intellect or temperament but who will try desperately to persuade all of us over the next eight months that they are.
Each candidate has a somewhat disaffected base to placate; each a somewhat exotic background; and each is a pragmatist at heart. Each of them will now, very pragmatically, turn his focus toward the Middle.
The fun part is over.