George Will wrong about GOP's presidential field, House whip says (video)

George Will says the 2012 Republican field is 'cluttered with careless, delusional' candidates. But GOP whip Kevin McCarthy lauds 'a longer primary ... based upon ideas.'

Michael Bonsigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy at a Monitor breakfast with reporters today.

House majority whip Kevin McCarthy (R) of California disagrees with the highly negative view conservative columnist George Will holds of the 2012 Republican presidential selection process so far.

At a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters, Congressman McCarthy was asked about a recent column in which Mr. Will argued that the “Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.”

IN PICTURES: Will these Republicans run in 2012?

To support his negative comments, the widely-read Will cited remarks by Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, saying President Obama was influenced by the “Mau Mau revolution in Kenya.” He also singled out a comment by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Obama could only be understood “if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”

After first noting that “I love George Will,” McCarthy said, “I think Republicans are in a good place.” He argued that “you are having a deck clearing” in the party after John McCain’s 2008 White House run. In 2012, “It is not somebody who has been around for so long, it is their chance, their turn,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s theory is that, “A longer primary is going to be better for Republicans. A primary based upon ideas is going to be better for Republicans.” The fast rising Congressional leader said, “I want to make sure we have the big debate to fill” the presidential candidate’s position. “I do not want to have a place where a primary collapses really fast.”

There currently are no major declared Republican presidential candidates although the list of potential contenders is long. Lydia Saad of the Gallup organization wrote on March 7 that in Gallup polling since 1952, “Republican Party nomination races always featured a clear front-runner at this stage of the campaign, and in almost all cases, that front-runner ultimately won the nomination.”

By contrast, Gallup says that this year there is nearly a three-way tie among the GOP's top unofficial contenders: Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney.

IN PICTURES: Will these Republicans run in 2012?

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