And gets more pathetic.
Edwards and Giuliani are both out now, so my feelings are a mixture of grief and relief. Grief, because Edwards was my last hope for a Democratic candidate who would speak for the poor. (Clinton won't, and Obama doesn't represent either people or values, so far as I can tell -- he represents process. Which is nice, if you are a process.) And relief, because Giuliani was the candidate most likely to become a tyrant of Neronian proportion, blaming the press while Rome burns.
What does this leave Republicans with? Not much. The Huckster and Mom's old boyfriend are still kicking around, but the serious contenders appear to be McCain and Romney. They are not an inspiring pair, and will get less inspiring as the weeks drag on.
Case in point: the headlines about last night's debate read "Romney Accuses McCain of Dirty Tricks." This actually sounds promising. Did he hire Cubans and ex-CIA people to burgle campaign headquarters? Engage in push-polling about ROmney's putative biracial daughter?
Oh, no, my mistake. He attacked his record. Specifically, McCain said that Romney wants timetables on Iraq; Romney said this wasn't true. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Romney called last year for "a series of timetables and milestones" leading to withdrawal.
Okay, let's parse this mess. McCain is telling the truth, and Romney calls it a lie. That's pathetic. On the other hand, timetables and milestones are a very good idea, and the fact that neither man will say so is also pathetic.
Worse yet is the full form of Romney's accusation: that accurately citing his record in a "dirty trick that Ronad Reagan would never have approved of." What, you mean the guy who paid Lee Atwater to run his campaigns? Who lied every time he opened his mouth, most notably on the self-destructive abuse of executive power we call Iran-Contra? Seriously, guys, this is the wrong mantle to wrap yourself in. Reagan's dissidents still hold a grudge, and in the eyes of his acolytes you can only make yourselves look smaller by comparison.
It's gonna be a long year.