It's the 21st century. We've got robots, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. So where are the candidates of the Grand Old Party? They're busy trying to be a movie actor born more than 100 years ago.
It's seven months before their convention in Tampa, a lifetime in today's five-minute-news-cycle politics. But the split decisions in the first three primaries and the personal attacks in the televised debates beg the question: Are Republicans divided into so many parts they are about to engage in 1964-style "politicide"?
Politicians can't any longer talk about "moral character" without sounding like a stuffy Baptist deacon or a stiff Presbyterian elder. "Moral character" is no longer important in a presidential campaign, even to many conservatives and evangelicals. If it is important anymore, it is only as a talking point.
Richard Threlkeld, a far-ranging and award-winning correspondent who worked for both CBS and ABC News during a long career, has been killed in a car crash on New York's Long Island.
With his virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum is the final flavor-of-the-week conservative alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The big news out of Iowa is, well, nothing much. Mitt Romney is still the front-runner, and there's a new flavor of the month (or week) nipping at his heels. If a challenger lower down the ladder wanted to jump a few rungs to become a contender, the Hawkeye State was the place to do it. That Mr. Romney pulled off a victory in this finicky contest, even by a few votes, means he has significant momentum that will be hard for any of his competitors to derail.
Thomas Jefferson collected old books and French wines, Warren Harding collected poker buddies, and FDR collected stamps. Harry S Truman collected sheet music and played the piano. But not so long ago, wife-collecting was regarded as over the line. Cats do it, dogs do it and even educated fleas are said to conduct serial impermanent romances. But presidents were held to a tougher moral standard.
Herman Cain continues to soar in the polls. In some, he is leading the presumptive front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney. What accounts for Mr. Cain's meteoric rise? He is the anti-Romney.
William F. Buckley Jr., founding father of the modern conservative movement, famously asserted his doctrine of voting for the most conservative candidate who is electable. Let me presume to add an analytic codicil: The GOP and the conservative movement have tended to support the most conservative policies only when they are understood to be conservative and are plausibly supportable by the conservative half of the electorate.