Speaking of speculation, as DougJ notes, Mitch Daniels is in the middle of a pundit market run-up as our elite overseers try to filter out the Republican candidates that the little people shouldn’t waste time on. He’s one of four acceptable, serious candidates:
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. That’s actually a very good test, because of the people you mentioned [Romney, Pawlenty and Daniels], who did, those are the serious candidates.
And I might throw in another. Jon Huntsman seems to be running. And I suspect he’s a serious candidate. I’m not sure what his odds are. But it’s going to be a — the good thing about this debate was, there were only five people up on the stage.
JIM LEHRER: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: When the serious candidates come in, there’s going to be a lot. And they will be very inconclusive. And it will just be hard to have a good debate with so many of the people who are not going to get the nomination up there.
And, so, you know what? I — but I think we will known in 10 days. I have been talking…
JIM LEHRER: Ten days?
DAVID BROOKS: … to some of the candidates. And I think they have a feeling that, within 10 days, the people who are half-in, half-out have to say, yes, I’m in; yes, I’m out.
So, I think we will know very soon, and by the next president — the next debate next month, it will be a real debate.
I realize that many an electron will be spent extolling the seriousness of this new fantastic four, but will the energy of tens of fingers hitting hundreds of keys really matter? Is there still a Republican electorate motivated to go to the polls and vote for a Mormon (bad), a Mormon Obama likes (worse), an Arab (shudder), or a wimp? How exactly is the admittedly immense potential energy of David Brooks’ imprimatur transmitted to the average Republican primary voter? I don’t quite understand the physics or chemistry of that reaction. Because what I see is a party controlled by its rump, a bunch of angry white tea partiers who don’t give a shit about what David Brooks thinks is “real” or “serious”.