While nearly 6 in 10 Democratic voters in the poll said they were satisfied with the candidates now in the race for their party’s nomination, nearly 6 in 10 Republicans said they wanted more choices. ~The New York Times
I’m not unsympathetic to the complaint about the GOP presidential field, since I have made disparaging or dismissive remarks about almost every one of them, but I am pretty sure that this result has to be a product of a lack of awareness of just how many Republicans are in this race. If we were just talking about the Terrible Trio and Brownback, this 60% of Republicans would have a point, but in addition to these four there are five more officially in now that Ron Paul has formally declared. Hunter, Tancredo, Tommy Thompson and Huckabee round out the field. Theoretically, Pataki has not absolutely said that he is no longer running, but everyone knows he isn’t. There are slightly reasonable expectations that Hagel may join the crowd (at some distant point in the future) and there is a lot of hype about Gingrich and Thompson, though I honestly don’t understand the enthusiasm behind the boosting for either one. All together, that makes twelve actual or reasonably probable candidates ten months before the first votes are cast. While there are a few reasons here or there for one faction or another to object to this or that aspect of each candidate, how whiny would Republican voters have to be that 60% of them can’t find enough satisfying in these twelve, or even in the declared nine candidates, that they need to have more? How many more? Five? Ten?
This really is unreasonable and unbelievable. I have to assume that this is a complaint about the Terrible Trio and not about the rest of the field, since most voters have no idea who anyone else in the field is. The GOP rank and file have declared that the candidates they know about do not really interest them and want other options besides the drab bunch they have in front of them in the mainstream and conservative media coverage. This makes all of Giuliani’s advantages in the polls seem particularly meaningless: if a majority of Republicans are unsatisfied with the state of the field, and you, Giuliani, are the leader of the field, it is a testament to how much they really don’t want to have to endure your nomination if they can possibly help it.