So here comes the second coming of George W. Bush out of the governor's mansion in Texas, Rick (Dubya) Perry.
Or maybe just call him W2.
Perry is taller, has much better hair, seems to believe he has an even better pipeline to God than Bush did. And he comes out of Paint Creek, Tex., different from the Texas town that gave us Bush, the one we also know as Yale University.
Whether Dubya Perry is holier than Michele Bachmann, the new President of Ames, Iowa, remains to be seen. For now, though, Perry and Bachmann are the headliners of the moment in the Republican Party. Barack Obama must be rooting like crazy for both of them, at the beginning of a campaign where fringe Republicans might do a better job of saving Obama than he can of saving himself.
Perry is the latest guy in the race, announcing Saturday in South Carolina, not throwing his hat into the race as much as his helmet hair. This was the day after Bachmann, who really does think she can out-God Perry and everybody else in the race, wins a straw poll in Iowa with about 4,000 votes, which is a couple of blocks in New York City.
But that was enough for her to immediately be treated like some sort of front-runner on the Sunday morning talk shows. It was like watching the winner of a split-squad game the first week of spring training be declared the favorite to win the World Series.
"[The voters] sent a signal yesterday," Bachmann (below) tells Norah O'Donnell on "Face the Nation."
"A strong message to Washington."
The message was so strong that Bachmann didn't get 30% of the vote and nearly lost to Ron Paul. You want to know how desperate people are to start this campaign, even with the 2012 election 15 months away? Straw polls in Ames, Iowa, in the summer of 2011 are how desperate.
Yet there was Bachmann talking herself up big, answering questions about Dubya Perry, as if he is her main competition just by showing up. Of course they both genuflect in front of the Tea Party and the religious right, all those who cheer as Bachmann talks about "taking back the country" from Obama, and act as if gay marriage is more of a threat than the Taliban.
They don't have any ideas, new or otherwise, about getting us out of the economic fix we're in, which makes them exactly like the President. In their narrow, and narrow-minded, world, there has only been one idea from the start: Make Obama a one-term President.
And at a time when that is a very real possibility, when Obama's record on the economy has him looking as weak as the original Dubya looked on his way out the door, the zealots - religious or otherwise - who make the most noise about showing Obama the door are the ones who might save him. By running the wrong man. Or woman.................