The Republicans are a beautiful mess

Just look at Politico this morning. When have you seen such a pretty sight?

Story #1 is about poor, occasionally reasonable Republican Dick Lugar. He’s unlikely to win another senate term because he’s not Tea Party enough for the whackos who have taken over his party.

Story #2 relates how godbotherer Rick Santorum was nauseated by John F. Kennedy, an American of some regard.

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up. What kind of country do we live in where only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up. And that should make every American [throw up]” . .

In 1960 Kennedy needed to make clear his intention, as a scary Catholic, perhaps likely to obey the Vatican rather than Americans’ wishes, that he wouldn’t defer to religious leaders in his decisions. The speech helped convince voters that the candidate could be trusted. Rick rejects Kennedy, the separation of church and state and the Founding Fathers. We can assume The Pope will loom large over the Santorum presidency. Excellent campaign strategy, sure to win him those skittish independents.

Story #3. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, mostly a moderate Republican nowadays, thinks Rick is crazy. With kisses.

“Santorum is nuts,” Koch told Klein. “And I say that in a loving way. He is someone who is of the belief that religious obligations that he has can be imposed on other people. Now I don’t mind his imposing on himself the business of no pre-natal care, no abortion. That’s okay from his point of view. . . You know, it used to be we did eliminate the right to sell condoms in Connecticut. The Supreme Court said that was wrong. Now what Santorum has said in affect is he would like to see states go back to criminalizing the sale of contraception. I think that’s crazy.”

Plenty of people, especially conservative Jews, still listen to Ed. Good luck with those folks, Rick. Story #4:

“It looks like we can throw Jeb Bush’s hat into the ring, along with Sarah Palin, as hoping to be chosen as the nominee after a contested convention,” [Ann] Coulter said on “Fox News Sunday.” . .

The conservative author, who is supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, said that a Jeb Bush candidacy would be a disaster.

“I think on closer examination, Jeb Bush would be the worst of all candidates to run, for one thing,” said Coulter. “We don’t need another Bush. That would be embarrassing to the Republican Party.”

So even the stalwarts are beginning to seriously discuss the deus ex machina options. Dynamite. Golly, it was Coulter’s job to pimp Romney. Instead, she’d rather remind everybody that Jeb Bush isn’t the best choice for a busted convention pick. Somewhere out there, though, the right man or woman waits, right? What should Mitt do now, Ann? Open up back-channel communications with Mitch Daniels? How about a Mormon for vice president, buddy?

Story #5. Speaks for itself:

“I think we’re returning to the dark ages. What? We’re discussing the legitimacy of birth control in this country? That discussion, I thought, had ended 30 years ago,” said term-limited Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who dubbed the four Republican presidential candidates “Christmas packages under the tree.”

Hilarious. Story #6, Brian is right:

A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll reveals the prolonged nominating battle is taking a toll on the GOP candidates and finds the president’s standing significantly improved from late last year.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 53 percent, up 9 percentage points in four months. Matched up against his Republican opponents, he leads Mitt Romney by 10 points (53-43) and Rick Santorum by 11 (53-42). Even against a generic, unnamed Republican untarnished by attacks, Obama is up 5 percentage points. In November, he was tied.

Obama looks better and better. Meanwhile, the Republicans descend deeper into chaos. Michigan and Arizona hold no hope of making anything clearer. You gotta like this.