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God bless America

ELINOR TATUM Publisher and Editor in Chief | 4/12/2012, 1:12 p.m.
When guidance counselors need to care

Four years ago, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party were holding primary elections. The Dems had a stellar field of contestants, each one greater than the next. They had a deep bench: ten candidates, including one Black senator, one female senator and former first lady, five more senators, two governors and a members of the House of Representatives.

At the end of the hard-fought primaries, Sen. Barack Obama was victorious and Sen. Joe Biden was selected as his running mate--a Black man at the top of the ticket. And with his chief and highly competent chief rival Hillary Clinton's enthusiastic support, the Democrats created a winning ticket from a bounty of riches.

On the Republican side, the bench was kind of weak. While there was a huge field, there was not really much depth. Twelve candidates from across the country, also including senators, governors and representatives, but the field was older, less thoughtful and failed to capture the imagination of the American people.

Even the ones who should have been interesting were lackluster. And with a field of several old white men, a few bland younger white men, an actor, an egomaniacal former mayor of New York City and an uninteresting Black Republican who deserves little mention, any outcome of the primary was going to be anti-climactic.

But all was not lost; then came Sarah Palin, the so-called "Mama Grizzly"--a woman on the ticket. All bets were off. John McCain for president with Palin by his side--the Republicans thought they had renewed hope. But it turned out their team was more like a ticket especially created for "Saturday Night Live."

Fast-forward four years.

The Democrats are solid, with President Obama leading the nation and ready to take on the GOP candidate once one is finally determined. But once again, the GOP is at a loss. Four years later, they still have not found any candidates that are viable--and they know it.

In a primary season that has been boring and silly and seems to be taking too long, the list has shrunk from 10 not-so-stellar candidates--including a woman and an African-American pizza kingpin--to four candidates who all too often appeared to be offensive, two of whom are retreads from the 2008 primary season.

At this point, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, holds the lead. But he still has less than half the delegates needed to win the nomination. So the primaries will continue as the four Republican dwarfs left standing continue to battle it out.

The Republican Party is clearly a disaster.

There is no enthusiasm behind any of the candidates. At least four years ago, there was some enthusiasm among young people toward old Ron Paul, but that, too, has disappeared.

And as the contests go on, it looks worse and worse for Romney, who is clearly a stiff. While Republican Party elites and power brokers have lined up behind the so-called front runner, much of the party faithful has refused to back him, leading to many defeats in states across the country and to lackluster wins.