Congressional Insiders Unimpressed with GOP Presidential Field
Ask members of Congress about their opinion of the Republican presidential field, and they'll tell you pretty clearly: not impressed. Three-quarters of the Republican members surveyed in this week's National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll said they felt the field was "about average" or "weak" compared to historical standards. Democratic members, unsurprisingly, were even more harsh, with a full 96 percent calling the field "weak."
Based on historical standards, how would you rate the field of GOP presidential candidates?
"Dopey, Mopey, and Loony," declared one Democrat, mincing no words.
"Seriously, any primary that has Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum considered serious candidates can ONLY be qualified as weak," agreed another.
A few Republican Insiders were equally chagrined. Said one: "In attempting to claim the Reagan mantle, the candidates are pandering to the lowest common denominator. Shameful."
Several Insiders expressed the opinion that the drawn-out primary process has actually weakened the Republican field substantially.
"After going through 20 debates, the field is weak when it was 'about average' six months ago," said one Republican member.
"It started out relatively strong, but has grown progressively weaker with the passage of time," agreed a Democratic member. "Romney could have been a very formidable nominee for the GOP, but his candidacy has been weakened measurably by the right wing of his party, who have embraced a series of 'Anybody but Mitt' candidates since last fall."
"I didn't realize just how weak they are until they started pointing out each others' weaknesses," said another Democrat. "Obama should send them a thank-you card."
Some Republicans weren't quite so gloomy about their options.
"Several Governors, a former Speaker, Senators, and a successful businessman represent a rather traditional field in a normal year," argued one Republican member.
"Remember when they called candidate Reagan weak? It is too early to tell if we have a Reagan or a Goldwater," offered another Republican hopefully.
A third Republican member of Congress felt it was only a matter of time before the campaign settled down and the party lined up behind its choice. "As soon as the air clears and our candidate emerges, the circular firing squad will turn its aim on a very unsuccessful president with a horrible track record that sooner rather than later has to be the issue."
For now, Democratic Congressional Insiders weren't sounding that worried.
"All the candidates but Romney have bizarre views, and he has now been forced to compete in the crazy-thon. Who thought we could look good?" marveled one Democrat.
"This is the weakest field in my lifetime," declared another.
At least one Republican shared that sentiment, musing over what might have been. "Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, or Chris Christie would win this nomination fight going away. This is the weakest GOP field since 1964."