Watching the Republican presidential debates -- the eleventh in a maxi-series of 22 took place last week on CNN -- is an experience similar to watching a NASCAR race on TV. The candidates race around the track until they run out of gas (cash). It's exciting for debate fans. You never know who is going to crash next.
We have seen Rick Perry go into a wall when he was blindsided by his own inability to count to three in naming departments on his Things to Do Today list as president. That deer-in-the-headlights look when asked puff questions will be missed.
Herman Cain was leading the pack until his attempt to win the women's vote with 999 accusers stepping forward fell flat.
The latest hot candidate, Newt Gingrich, who the polls say is in a virtual tie with the Romney Victory Cannonball Express, the betting favorite, had been winning laps with a sneering campaign against the news media. Withering heights were reached this month when he tore into Maria Bartiromo, the money honey at CNBC: "My colleagues have done a terrific job of answering an absurd question."
King Sneer lost a wheel or two recently with two goofy ideas. The man who would appeal most to Republicans with a $250,000 credit line at Tiffany's -- whose flexibility was demonstrated by his record of attacking Freddie Mae while being on its payroll -- enhanced his credentials further by coming out for repealing child labor laws, which he called stupid. He favors jobs, jobs, jobs for non-unionized kids as school janitors at a time when their elders can't find work, work, work.
Newt also made a winning argument for his election when he told a Christian Broadcasting Network interviewer that he was a better candidate than the previous Newt for President vehicle. "I do fewer dumb things."
Still remaining in the race to overtake Mitt Romney are Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsmen, who represent the beatnik faction of the Republican Party. But they're nervously studying their gas gauges to see if they can reach Iowa.
The race will be turning into a demolition derby as the remaining candidates try desperately to stop the man nobody wants (Mitt Romney). All of which will be cheered on by audiences who have already hailed 217 executions, along with the idea of letting a man die rather than subjecting him to socialized medicine, while booing veterans of the gay persuasion. Somebody ought to check those brewskis at the door.
As a registered Republican still solidly in the undecided column, watching the dysfunctional candidates limp to the finish line and trying to decide who is the most rigid, ideological, do-nothing (even if we destroy the country), least-of-the-bad candidate, I can go out on the limb here and say the "none of the above" vote is still large.
What can the party do?
Here is what I predict will happen: On the 25th ballot, the race will still be deadlocked. The players in the smoke-filled backrooms will turn to a dark horse candidate, the man all Republicans can unite behind. I am talking about Governor Chris Christie of the great state of New Jersey.
He can't run for office, he told the clamoring masses this election season, but he can walk for office. The brontosaurus of the party shrewdly elected to avoid the NASCAR race, and he remains unscathed on his moral high horse as he examines the battlefield carnage.
Christie is a big man for a big job. While other candidates have been stripping their gears the last few months, a very low-key, hush-hush campaign team has been meeting at a Palisades Ihop mapping out the strategy for 2012, if not 2016. Veterans of the "Rudy in 2008" campaign are working the phones. "Rupert is on the line for a mil" can be heard in the war room. Some of the biggest Wall Street givers are lining up early.
The team is worried the governor will eat his weight at the caucus food fairs, so the stratagem is to keep him at home until the convention call.
To those who say he doesn't stand a fat chance, they say, "Eat it."
In all transparency, I should point out that I am a card-carrying member of the Corpus Christie Party of New Jersey, which is trying to get our governor kicked upstairs to the White House and out of the state. But so what? As everybody knows, the Republican Party is the party of special interest groups.