Or, rather, would-be candidates, soi-disant candidates, faux candidates. At this stage, the serious people are sitting quietly in their bunkers, or at least making highly-paid speeches to small groups of wealthy people. A few may even be earning something, somehow, although it doesn't really seem that politicians have jobs any more.
What the serious people are not doing is the media dog-and-pony show. It is far too early for them to expose themselves that way. Instead, they send in the rodeo clowns, the headline-grabbing character actors with no realistic possibility of being elected. And this week, the clowns are getting nasty.
Consider Rick Santorum, who may, or may not, have snarked on Sarah Palin, when he suggested that she wasn't at the Conservative Political Action Conference because there wasn't enough money in it for her (or, weirdly, because she was busy taking care of her kids, which only raises the question of why father-of-7 Santorum wasn't out fishing with little Jimmy himself). Or consider Sarah Palin, who definitely snarked on Santorum, when she said, and we quote (via the ChiTrib):
I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I'll let his wife call him that instead
Or consider Donald Trump, who showed up at CPAC threatening to run. This is an empty threat, since he won't run. The truth is that Trump has spent years pretending to be a wealthier and more successful businessman than he is; what little appeal he enjoys among the mass public would evaporate the moment his financials went public. (Gawker's version is funny, and the comments say the rest).
Anyway, the point is that Trump gave a speech, in the course of which he suggested -- to a supporter of Ron Paul -- that Paul could never win the presidency. Oh no he di'n't! This, of course, means that Ron Paul supporters will by now have declared Trump an enemy of the Constitution, and targeted him for deportation to the Soviet Union.
Perhaps, at this comical stage in the loooong run-up to November 2012, it is time to remind readers that our Mom once dated Ron Paul. It is an irrelevant fact, which serves no purpose whatsoever save to drive up our click-through rate, but -- unlike much of what the rodeo clowns will be passing off on us for the next year or so -- it is at least a fact.