Okay, so the Republican race for nomination as candidate for the presidency has become the singular issue of how far to the right each can move.
First, we had Rep. Michele Bachmann and the awe shucks governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who apparently proved that the world is indeed flat, moved so far beyond even the reaches of the Tea Party that they dropped off the earth. Both were at one time front-runners in the GOP that has seen more twists and turns than auto racing's grand prix.
Former Congressman Newt Gingrich made a strong run to the front of the crowd, but something slowed him abruptly, moving him to the back of the pack despite the tens of millions of dollars that flowed his way from Las Vegas. He showed there are limits to how much baggage we're allowed, and that just because you think you're the smartest person in the room doesn't mean you should serve as the leader of the free world.
Then, along came former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and his seemingly endless wardrobe of sweater vests, who has demonstrated his ability to test the outer extremes of conservatism. There are no limits to which he'll go, perhaps knowing deep down that he'll eventually drop off the edge. Hell, his own state turned him aside in his re-election bid to the Senate. Which makes me wonder what it would have been like to have Santorum and his vests going up against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her pantsuits. Just sayin'...
Of course, we have the so-called establishment candidate, Willard Mitt Romney, former Mr. Lots of Things, with a boatload of personal wealth. Unfortunately, he's tacking perilously close to the edge of the abyss, risking whatever support he has just to be able to stand up and say: Hey, look at me! I'm the true Mr. Conservative.
Perhaps the brightest bulb in the lot, Congressman Ron Paul, who has made few protestations of ultra conservatism, comes across as more of a libertarian, with no shot at winning the support of either the far right or left (or even the middle, for that matter). He seems content to play the role of the little puppy dog, constantly nipping at the heals of his fellow Republicans. To them, I'm sure, he's little more than an annoyance. To anyone taking the time to listen, he's definitely the you-can-take-me-or-leave-me, this-is-what-I-am, no-window-dressing candidate. It's kind of refreshing, really, even though he has no real shot at the nomination.
One thing is certain. At the end of all the conservative one-upsmanship, there's still a strong possibility of a yet-to-be-named candidate who'll out-conservative them all, maybe even former Alaska Gov. Sarah I-can-see-Russia-from-my-house Palin. This would prove beyond a shadow of doubt that despite the adventures of Christopher Columbus the world is indeed flat.