As the joke goes, a conservative, a moderate and a liberal walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “What’ll you have, Mr. Romney?”

Apparently Willard’s style works because this week he won primaries in Arizona and then barely in his birth state of Michigan. And now he’s the front-runner in next week’s crucial Super Tuesday. (Yawn.)

These elections have been ongoing since last May but frankly I can’t remember a weaker field. (Then again, only today’s GOP could hold a Congressional hearing on women-related health issues with no women on the panel.) So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to “reminisce” (vent) about the early days of this strange Republican presidential nomination battle.

Remember Texas Gov. Rick Perry? At a TV debate in Iowa he boldly announced that he’d abolish three federal agencies. The only problem was that he forgot the name of the third agency. It was agonizing to watch him nervously flip through his notes and sheepishly lament, “Oops.” (Buh-bye, Perry.)

Or how about Michele Bachman? A self-proclaimed historian, Bachman claimed that Lexington and Concord were in New Hampshire. This, of course, was shocking news to folks in Massachusetts.

But my favorite was Herman Cain, who wasn’t sure who the leader of Libya was. Playing with his tie like Oliver Hardy, his excuse was, “I’ve got so many things twirling around in my head.” Ouch. (Go to YouTube and type “Herman Cain Libya,” it’s hilarious!)

Back to the GOP “Final Four.” Let’s start with Rick Santorum. Last weekend he attacked JFK’s 1960 campaign quote, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” Santorum said the speech made him want to “throw up.” (Want a scary thought? Imagine sweater-vest Santorum handling the Cuban missile crisis. Yikes!)

Rick is also an outspoken critic of any form of contraception. This led a female pundit to observe, “Santorum has a fine mind… for the 13th century.” Given his religiosity and Neanderthal stance on women’s rights, Santorum would seem to have a lot in common with the clerics in Iran. (A country he’d probably like to bomb.)

Keeping up gaffe for gaffe was Romney who, while campaigning in Michigan, bragged to an audience that his wife drives not one, but two Cadillacs. With an estimated worth of $250 million, earlier this month, Romney raised eyebrows with a comment that he’s “not concerned about the very poor.”

Frankly, Romney had some nerve campaigning in Michigan at all given his opposition to the GM bailout. Of course General Motors is once again the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, though no thanks to Willard.

But Romney does have an extraordinary memory. Also in Michigan, he nostalgically recalled being at Detroit’s 50th anniversary of the automobile. (Marking one of Henry Ford’s final public appearances.) Swell, except for the small detail that the event occurred nine months before Romney was born! As Rick Perry would say, “Oops.”

Apparently, the only thing that the Republican candidates can agree on is how much they despise Barack Obama. Not that I don’t have my own criticisms, but for his part, all Obama did was say that we’d get out of Iraq, and we’re out of Iraq.

He also said he’d get rid of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and we got rid of it; and he said he’d hunt down Bin Laden, and sure enough Osama bit the dust. (Actually he bit the bottom of the Arabian Sea.)

Poor Bin Laden, the day after he was killed so many tourists flocked to his residence that street vendors began selling ice cream cones. And now the Pakistani government is demolishing his house. Is nothing scared? (For Tea Partiers, that’s a joke, so please no angry e-mails.)

Like him or not, in 2008 Obama inherited perhaps the worst set of circumstances in presidential history. We were involved in two horrific and deeply controversial wars and George W. Bush left a country in near economic ruin. Few realize how close we were to an actual depression. (And yet I can still remember Bush’s farewell TV interview when he reflected on his presidency. “Laura and I had the time of our lives” he said, like he’d just been to Disneyworld.

From his first days in office Obama was warned by the obstructionist GOP that they would block his every initiative. And then they had the chutzpah to complain he “didn’t get anything done.” Worse, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) had the exceptionally poor taste to say working with Obama “is like touching a tar baby.” Classless.

Bin Laden’s dead and GM flourishes. (The Dow is over 13,000 and unemployment is down to 8.1 percent.) You’d think these things would count for something but not according to the “honorable” Doug Lamborn. Then again, I have a hunch he’s not that honorable.

Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.

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