GOP presidential field outdoes itself again and again

Well, it's about time. At last we have a candidate with the guts to close down our embassy in Iran were she elected president. Thank you, Michele Bachmann. Oh — and thank you Jimmy Carter as well, since he closed down the embassy there in 1980 in response to the hostage crisis in Tehran at the time. That we have had no embassy in Iran in the last 31 years matters less than that Congresswoman Bachmann has the intestinal fortitude to come out against our having one there now. It is no wonder she was the darling of the tea party.

Given this toughness and the knowledge that often only she seems to possess (remember, it was she who informed us that Hurricane Irene was a divine message to reduce government spending and that the HPV vaccine to prevent sexually transmitted diseases caused mental retardation), it must have taken some kind of special candidate to cause the Bachmann campaign to virtually collapse, as it did a couple of months ago. That special man is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


Thank you, Governor Perry. Thank you for not being afraid to identify the real problem that faces this country, as others seem overly focused on the state of the economy. Our problems really stem from the fact that we allow those between the ages of 18 and 21 to vote. While others claim Governor Perry blundered twice in the same sentence the other day (he also misstated the date of Election Day 2012), some of us see the wisdom in his encouraging everyone 21 years old and older to get out there to vote on Nov. 12: 18-year-olds are too young to vote, just as they are too young to serve in the armed forces. They cannot drive either, so it's crazy to let them vote.

Now, I am prepared to concede the possibility that the other part of the governor's statement might have been an error, but if so, there is a good explanation. Congress enacted a law requiring presidential elections to be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. In fairness to Governor Perry, bear in mind this date has been set only since 1845. Nov. 12, 2012, the date Mr. Perry urged people to vote, happens to be the first Monday after the first Tuesday in November 2012, so we can well understand Mr. Perry's confusion. When, during a debate, Governor Perry forgot the name of one of the federal agencies he wished to shut down, he pointed out that debates were not his forte. Again, credit the man. His point is indisputable. (Some have said that after the election date and age comment, perhaps speeches are not his strength either.)


It must have taken a special kind of candidate to cause the demise of a superstar like Rick Perry. That special candidate was Herman Cain. Thank you, Herman Cain. Mr. Cain became the next darling of the tea party because he, too, is not afraid to speak his mind.

So what that he mistakenly thought China was "developing" nuclear weapons. How's a person supposed to keep track of every country that already has a nuclear arsenal these days? So what that he said the U.S. recognizes the government in Taiwan, when in fact we stopped recognizing it 32 years ago. I'm sure China wouldn't mind if a President Cain made a small error like that. So what that he's not too up on what's happening in Libya? What's wrong with asking editors who are interviewing him to tell him what President Barack Obama's policy on Libya is? There hadn't been that much in the news lately about Libya.

People make way too much of what a presidential candidate should know about foreign policy anyway. Look at Sarah Palin. Anyway, what he may have lacked regarding knowledge of foreign policy, Mr. Cain more than made up with the strength of his character. Um …

And speaking of strength of character, all tea party eyes now look to Newt Gingrich, the $1.6 million in-house historian for Fannie-Mae. Your turn, Newt.

Steven P. Grossman is the Dean Julius Isaacson Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. His email is