The trends that helped elevate a series of politically unserious Republican candidates in 2012 — including Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann — have only grown stronger. It is instructive how easily Sen. Ted Cruz has gotten to Sen. Rand Paul's right. Who will be able to gather momentum to Cruz's starboard? Dr. Ben Carson? Allen West? Republican primary voters have a tendency to make more sober political choices in the end. But the process itself creates a durable image of radicalism and instability.
This leaves Republican governors as the most functional element of the party — and many are not only functional but impressive. They have the best prospect of carrying a tough critique of Obamacare while proposing a credible alternative. But the longing for a great leader is also a form of confession: that a divided party is in need of saving.
Michael Gerson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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