This time around, the Republicans have a diverse batch of candidates who appear to have a little more promise than the clown car of candidates who came to the circus four years ago. Remember weird and wide-eyed Michele Bachmann? The wandering hands of Herman Cain? The “Oops” moment of Rick Perry? Well, Perry may be back for more pratfalls and his fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz, will pick up spouting the shrill tea party message where Bachmann left off. But there’s also a Bush in the bunch -- ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- who seems to be the smarter sibling among the Bush brothers. There’s Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a guy who is occasionally a bit kooky but whose libertarian bent makes him a dove on issues of war and peace and downright enlightened about the American legal system’s obscenely high incarceration rate. And there’s Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has youth appeal but needs to prove he is finally ready to play in the big leagues.
Waiting in the wings are the two men who took it to the wire last time -- Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney still cannot believe that he lost last time when all his pollsters said he should be picking out a new carpet for the Oval Office. He clearly wants another shot, but he may be edged out of the GOP establishment’s largesse by Bush or Christie. Little has been heard of Santorum lately, but he has kept an organization together for the last two years and, if there is an opening on the right, God will probably tell him to run.