I'm troubled by that GOP debate

The scary part was how little distance there was, really, between her and the others on the stage. For all of the agitated sniping between Bachmann and Pawlenty about her legislative record, between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum about Iran, and between Newt Gingrich and the panel of questioners about his alleged persecution, there was a stunning ideological uniformity on display. Among the eight candidates, not one brooked the possibility of any tax increases to help solve the debt problem, even though John Boehner, a fiscal conservative, seemed to have a mind partly open to that at the start of the debt-ceiling negotiations.

HOW can that be? It’s because all of the Republican Party is running scared of its super-conservative faction in Congress and because the Republican nominating process rewards a rightward tilt. That remains true this election cycle, to the party’s and the country’s detriment. Obama is a flawed president confronting epic challenges; he needs to be drawn into a serious conversation with a Republican nominee who represents a plausible alternative, not with someone boxed into a corner. Is that where Romney, the current front-runner, would end up?