The Republican Party is paying for its deal with the Tea Party.
The Tea Party helped the Republicans win control of the House last year. John Boehner holds the Speakership because of that deal but the deal is undermining the chances of the Republicans to win in 2012. Tea Partiers don't like taxes, don't like the government taxes finance, and don’t like government, period.
This explains, as I've said before, why the Tea Partiers don't believe in leaders; don't believe in having leaders. Why have leaders if you don't want them to govern?
No. What they like are people who attack government - people like Sarah Palin, who is at heart a critic of government. She spent two years discovering that it was more to her liking to be outside of government than running Alaska as its governor.
The same goes for most of the candidates who show up for these Republican debates. Ron Paul is a critic of government "as such." He doesn't want to run the government; he wants it to basically shrink down to a size where anyone can run it.
So now the Republicans face the awful outlook of having two candidates still standing for president. One they don't like, don't trust, really don't want to see in the White House, really don't want to have to defend once he gets there, if he gets there.
The other who really is not likely to get to the White House but who embodies in his soul the Tea Party mentality - which is, that you don't have to know anything about government to run against it, which is what Tea Partiers do. All you need is a kind of unexplained self-confidence that you can do whatever you set out to do, that you need apologize for nothing, need to demonstrate knowledge about nothing.
How does this play out? How does a party go before the American people with a candidate for president it would prefer not to see in the presidency or a candidate whom no one else but the tea party can imagine there? Mitt Romney, the candidate they don't like, or Herman Cain the candidate who nobody but the Tea Party can imagine in the country's highest office? Which will it be?
How did it come to this? It came to this when the Republicans decided to cut a deal with a political force - the Tea Partiers - who really don't share even their limited confidence in government, a political force determined not to raise up but to bring down.