Let me finish tonight with this small list of Republican presidential candidates. Can anyone of either party remember a smaller, shorter, less dramatic pack of people?
Several of the names are simply the predictable set of politicians who have held lower office and have the presidency on their to-do list. That includes Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman and, I would suppose for almost a half century, Mitt Romney. These are the kinds of candidates that come along and run no matter what's going on. They are simply people of reasonable ambition who want to rise to the presidency from the governorship. Normal, unexciting, unexceptional.
Then you have the other candidates, those moved by some sort of calling - religious in nature. That includes Rick Santorum, who I do respect for believing and not giving up, Congresswoman Bachman and - soon to announce I suppose - Rick Perry. I know I skipped Newt Gingrich, who is not really a candidate, more of a troubadour of trouble-shooting, sometimes trouble making.
Not much of a list there. Not much happiness. Not much of a showing when you think of the opportunity out there in these very tough times.
And here's why: I think Republicans don't like government. I think they don't like people who go into it, don't really like politics of the kind that says here's something we can do that's positive. Something that's going to help our country, build it up, help people, help the quality of life in this country, help build faith in our democratic form of ... here's that word again, that word they don't really like government!
There it is. They don't like government. They don't like career politicians. And, guess what? If you don't like something, why would you want to be it? Why would you want your kid to go into to it, or your brother or sister or cousin? This is the problem for Republicans. They got this big, fat opportunity to win the big job and they don't have anybody ready, willing and gung-ho to win it.
The only candidate who seems really hungry for the job of president, the honor of being president, most likely put himself on that course back in 1968 when his Dad went for it and missed the grade.
That was back in the 1960s when Republicans still had people around, good people like George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller and Jack Javits who actually believed in government, thought a career in it worthwhile, even meritorious.
That was a half century ago - and that's how far the Republicans have gotten from their positive roots as a partner in running this country.