This week, the 2012 landscape was rocked by a couple of big announcements and one very bizarre news development. First, the field: it has changed. Haley Barbour, who had us more or less convinced he was going to take a run at the White House, surprised everyone by announcing that he had decided against mounting a campaign. Now, the insider knowledge and deep connections that Barbour has spent his career cultivating are hot commodities — as is his endorsement. Will Barbour lay his kiss of approval on the brow of Mitch Daniels? Or will he back his fellow southerner, Mike Huckabee? Or could it be Tim Pawlenty? One thing’s for sure, Barbour will not try to kiss Rick Santorum, lest Santorum vomit up his duodenum in revulsion.
Also, Ron Paul has formed his own presidential exploratory committee, edging closer to another run for the White House — probably the last before he passes the “someone named Paul running for President” baton to his son, Rand. With Paul in the race again, the classic Paul issues — ending foreign wars, dismantling the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard — will get a hearing on the stump and in debates. And Paul’s going to have no trouble getting his hardworking posse of libertarian devotees back together. Speaking of, that whole Gary Johnson campaign: man, that was sure fun while it lasted.
Of course, the crazy news of the week was that President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate, and now Donald Trump — simultaneously the GOP frontrunner and the man voters least want to see become president (try wrapping your head around that!) — is taking credit for the fact that Obama has again confirmed what hundreds of millions of Americans, save for a few determined nutters, have already known for years: that Obama was born in the United States, duh. But will it even matter, if Obama has lost an important part of his base, by which we mean “hedge fund managers?”