Why the GOP Primary Process Is Ugly, But Vital Staff
Posted: Nov 16, 2011 12:50 PM
Why the GOP Primary Process Is Ugly, But Vital

In the wake of high-profile gaffes and scandals on the campaign trail, many political observers are finding themselves scratching their heads in disbelief, saying: This GOP field is a total embarrasment!

Over at Newsweek, former Clinton campaign operative and “Crossfire” co-host Paul Begala wonders: “How did we devolve to the point where a leading Republican candidate for the presidency can’t count to three?”

He’s not alone. A lot of observers are making this point. But while writers — who are obliged to consistently produce copy — tend to be rather myopic, it’s important to put things in proper context.

What we are witnessing — warts and all — is pretty standard fare (though our modern new media landscape tends to magnify mistakes).

The Democrats, for example, flirted with a variety of flawed candidates in recent cycles, only to settle on fairly serious nominees (who became better candidates by virtue of the process). They didn’t end up nominating Howard Dean (whose “I have a scream” gaffe was an embarrassment), nor did they nominate (for president, at least) the gaffe machine Joe Biden — or for that matter — fringe liberal candidates like Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich. Things tend to sort themselves out.

The truth is that watching a primary nomination fight is like watching sausage being made; it’s ugly, but it usually turns out pretty good.

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