This must be a frustrating time for the Sane faction. The Nutties have the colorful and exciting candidates, and it's a hydra-headed problem -- let Palin drop in the polls, and Bachmann and Trump rise up to replace her. The Sane faction can argue against these candidates, but the Nutty faction is too big to dismiss -- the belief that Obama was not born in the US (as good a litmus test as any for Nutty allegiance) is held by 45% of Republicans. Are such people likely to be swayed by rational argument? It's no wonder recent polls show Trump leading the Republican field.
Meanwhile, the Nutties rant against Boehner, the most powerful Republican in the country at the moment, for compromising on the budget; and if he yields to reality on the debt ceiling, the fury will get worse. A Sane candidate for President such as Romney or Daniels would face similar problems, to say nothing of Romney's Mormonism being anathema to the fundamentalists who make up the core of the Nutty faction.
If there's any hope for the Sane faction, it lies in Nutty over-reach. Theocratic bashing of gays, abortion, evolution, illicit sex, etc. -- railing against Sharî'ah law while pushing its Christian equivalent -- are red meat to the Nutty rank and file, and acceptable even to some of the Sanes. But recent Nutty ventures into the fiscal arena are meat a little too red even for this crowd -- 70% of teabaggers oppose the Ryan budget once they know what it actually does, and Congressional Republicans are facing a backlash as word gets out.
But even if the Sane faction wins the nomination fight for one of their own, Trump is likely to go home and take his ball -- a crucial bloc of Nutty voters -- with him. (A Nutty nominee, however, might drive many Sanes to stay home or even vote for Obama.)
There are people on the left who would welcome a Bachmann or Trump as the Republican candidate on the grounds that Obama's re-election would be guaranteed. I'm not one of them, and such thinking is dangerous. Obama will probably win, no matter who his opponent is, but he could lose. We on the left have our own (thankfully small) Nutty faction -- the delusionals who denounce Obama as a rightist and constantly threaten to sit out the election or vote for another Nader. Or some freak event, disaster, or bad decision could change the game at the last minute. These things happen. The Republicans have a duty to nominate someone who would be competent to lead if elected.
So I hope the Sanes prevail. But in the meantime, I'm not going to deny myself the wealth of entertainment value the situation offers.