Instead of the political stances of the contenders, I've been thinking about the party as a whole. More specifically, does the party (or, should it) as a whole get painted by the crazy brush if they keep rallying behind crazies?
Here's what I mean--
Another Poll Confirms Trump as Republican Front Runner
Bachmann Emerges as Republican Front Runner
Rick Perry is Now the Republican Front Runner
Herman Cain's Surprising Rise to GOP-Front Runner
Newt Gingrich GOP Front Runner
People have written enough about the schizophrenia of the electorate, but that's not what interests me. What interests me is that BEFORE each of the previous has crashed and burned, the Republican primary voters have come out to extol their virtues and ability to lead the nation. Then, one thing or another happens and the candidate crashes and burns. The problem is, the issue that causes each to crash and burn is readily apparent long before they each became front runners.
Look at Trump--he was clearly a ridiculous candidate as people were calling him the front runner. But, despite his crazy rantings and the fact he was clearly only trying to make money, the electorate still backed him in polls. Nothing changed AFTER the birth certificate release in terms of him saying or doing crazy things...nothing at all.
Bachmann--BEFORE Perry entered the race and her attribution of mental retardation to the HPV vaccine, she built up a years-long record of saying patently untrue and ridiculous things. Hell, her entire persona is built around repeating what she'd heard/read in email forwards as true and then not "refudiating" them once disproved. She STILL managed to rise to the top as front runner with the backing of a large percentage of republican primary voters.
Then came Perry who BEFORE rising to front-runner status was a secessionist whose own book was filled with ridiculousness about income tax being unconstitutional and repealing the 14th amendment...but he STILL rose to the top before crashing under his own weight.
Cain's ignorance...no, not even ignorance (ignorance can be forgiven and shows a lack of exposure...Cain CHOSE to not know things or ignore them) something more insidious...shone long before he rose to the top. His 9-9-9 plan was utterly ridiculous and would have ruined the economy. But, he STILL rose to the top...
And now Gingrich, whose record of ridiculousness is longer than his Contract With America and who has flip-flopped more than a fish on land is rising to the top...
There are two options, either GOP voters seriously don't know what these people said or did in their lives preceding their run at the presidency or they know about it and don't care. The first shows a woeful ignorance and the second shows an ineptitude that's rather damnable.
Romney will eventually be the nominee, and Huntsman and Paul SHOULD have some weight behind them, but don't. The only explanation I can think of is that the general Republican primary voters at this time in America are backing ignorant and ridiculous politicians not as a fluke, but as a manifestation of a general belief. What I'm trying to say is...the list above, complete (somehow simultaneously) with flip-flopping fools, dithering ignoramuses and dogmatic firebrands has gained the support of the majority of Republican primary voters at one point or another over the past seven months and should be taken to demonstrate the identity of said electorate. To draw an analogy, think of religion. Anytime someone does something crazy in the name of religion, we all say, "well, that's not TRUE 'religion-X'" and that "religion X was hi-jacked". But, at some point, when enough members of religion-X start doing or saying that thing, it should be proof that it's really not hijacked or bastardized, but IS true. Likewise, the Republican party (unlike Conservativism) was hijacked...but now, the majority of Republican voters have tipped the scale so that it is no longer something un-true or hijacked...it is something altogether different.
Let's not, at this point, discount the negative contributions of those above, but rightfully paint the entire party with them as a brush...because they rose on the support of the people, the people should now carry their identity as a weight around their neck and, one hopes, it will drag down republicanism so Conservatism can again be a useful contributor to American political dialogue.