Paul Hampton

GOP is gonna need a bigger tent for Trump, Carson and the rest of the circus

Congress will return to "work" this week and it has a couple of weeks to raise the debt limit.

Scary? Sure. Like the horror movie that makes you twitch with its loud music and slamming doors. Seen it before. Know the ending.

The debt limit is just a show. Does anyone think Congress will stiff defense contractors?

I'm more curious to see how the Republicans are going to resolve their many problems.

First of all, they don't have a leader. Second of all, they have the Freedom Caucus. Third and fourth of all, they have Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Grab a snack and pull up a seat next to the octagon.

No. 1, the Republicans have a dilemma. Paul Ryan, the fellow the establishment wants for House speaker, is a bit reluctant. Actually, he's a smart guy. He turned down the job three times. Guess he didn't like the view from the plank.

And that means there are dozens of incompetents who would be "humbled" to serve should they be called. They haven't been.

Forbes even suggested Mark Cuban and Kanye West. After all, the speaker doesn't have to be a member of the House. Kanye? I'm sure Forbes was kidding. Well, reasonably sure. OK, give him the mike. Heck, he's probably already appointed himself.

Rep. Steven Palazzo's pick, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, is on the Forbes list and up against the likes of Darrell "Step Away from the Car" Issa. She sounds pretty good.

The Washington Post suggested early on that the Republicans could fool around and wind up with Nancy Pelosi in charge again. Even Fox News columnist Peter Morici admits they need someone like her.

There's already a winner in this. President Barack Obama. Remember all the unraveling the GOP was going to do once they got in charge? Hasn't happened. And the clock's ticking.

Now it looks as if they'll have to snag some Democrats to make up for the 30 or so members of the Hell No Caucus in order to pick a speaker. Assuming they have a speaker, that lucky one will still have the Freedom Caucus and will be halfway to a bleeding ulcer before he or she picks up the gavel.

Then the new speaker will get to fight that caucus over the debt limit. Then fight them again once the continuing resolution on spending runs out in December.

And they'll have serial arsonists Carson and Trump setting brush fires all the while.

Carson is taking a couple of weeks off from running to sell the book that makes his case for running for president. Trump is still drawing huge crowds, including one in Richmond, where a pushing, screaming and spitting match broke out.

And both threatened to boycott if CNBC didn't limit its debate to two hours. Not that I'm complaining.

Think their shenanigans aren't hurting? Bernie Sanders is leading or within the margin of error of their top presidential candidates.

Reach Paul Hampton, politics editor at the Sun Herald, at 896-2330 or jphampton@sunherald.com Follow him on Twitter@jphampton

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