With this country in its worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, and with a national debt that won’t be paid off in the next couple of generations, we are in need of some major political leadership. Major. Big Time. Great thinkers and doers. At the top. A president to match the difficulty of the issues.

Seems to me the last place to look for that required “at-the-top” leadership is the national Republic Party. At least at the moment.

In my long, politically-involved life, I’ve never seen a larger collection of misfits and empty suits … male and female … as the current crop of rabbits running from state to state seeking support. Never!

When the party of Lincoln needs someone of real stature to carry the banner for 2012, I can’t find anyone in the “unannounced-but-I’m-going-to-be-there” bunch that could carry Ronald Reagan’s coat to the inauguration. Bachman, Thune, Pawlenty, Paul, Barbour, Trump, Romney, Santorum and several others who can’t get any significant traction.

Note: I did not list Ms. Palin in the bunch. That self-limited, walking cerebral vacuum has no plans to give up a lucrative career on the rubber chicken circuit for less money and heavy responsibilities. Those with presidential hopes don’t file a copyright on their name like someone who has just invented a new floor wax. She’s just interested in the marketing possibilities of her celebrity-hood.

So, consider the aforementioned names and any others who may have told you personally of their impending candidacy. Find the heavyweight with the necessary proven leadership skills and problem-solving capabilities we so badly require. Go ahead. Consider. I’ll wait.

No one. I thought so.

What we find in this bunch of low-hanging frivolous fruit is a gaggle of people seeking to cash in on celebrity. Some of them couldn’t pass a test on American civics, much less solve national and world problems. Others of their number just don’t have any real appeal beyond their own families.

More proof of this thesis came a couple of weeks ago when freshman New Jersey Gov. Christie got some national TV time. He showed off his “take-no-prisoners” approach to state budgeting and cracked a couple of one-liners. Suddenly, we were inundated with Republican voices saying he should run for president. He demurred. Wisely.

The GOP is fresh out of fresh faces. It is also fresh out of anyone with national name recognition that can appeal to independents or centrists of either party. Leadership … such as it is … has moved so far to the right at the national and local levels that even the sainted Reagan would not be acceptable. It will get worse.

So GOP kingmakers are in a Catch-22 spot. They can’t produce a candidate with broad appeal and, if such a name were to surface, they couldn’t get the ultra conservative elements of their own party leadership … who will run the nominating convention … to accept it.

We are a long way from Nov. 6, 2012. Not even your old Ouija board could predict the outcome. But one thing is very clear. Republicans are about out of time to come up with someone to mount the elephant and lead a winning parade.

The ideological purists are not “forgive-and-forget” people so, in the end, they won’t get behind any one person. They will control the nominating convention and, after well-publicized infighting and purity tests, will likely produce a candidate unacceptable to anyone but them. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Were I the Obama family, I don’t think I’d sweat the U-Haul truck just yet.

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