GOP Elite: 2012 Field Is Hopeless

Conservative intellectuals don't have a candidate in the 2012 GOP primary, and they're making their worry more and more public. "To many conservative elites, Rick Perry is a dope, Michele Bachmann is a joke, and Mitt Romney is a fraud," Politico reports, citing a series of Wall Street Journal editorials that wrote Romney out of the race and dismissed Bachmann and Perry as unelectable. The Journal's editors wrote that it was time for "someone still off the field to step up." But the options are short: Rep. Paul Ryan shot down conservative pundits' fantasizing about a run when he said definitively that he would not enter the race. Mitch Daniels, right-wing intellectuals' previous crush, also decided not to run, and Tim Pawlenty, whom they saw as a serious policy thinker, dropped out of the race. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said there were still "leading lights" who aren't in the race, and wore a Ryan-Rubio button on Fox News last week.