The big winner in the Republican debates …

… is Caligula’s horse Incitatus, no longer the gold standard for distinction beyond merit.

… has clearly been Caligula’s horse Incitatus.

For close on two millennia the poor beast, the victim of his master’s insane (or perhaps jocular) intention to make him Consul, has been a proverb for those offered for posts beyond their capacities. Here, for example, is John Randolph of Roanoke on John Quincy Adams’s choice of Richard Rush as Secretary of the Treasury:

Never were abilities so much below mediocrity so well rewarded; no, not when Caligula’s horse was made Consul.

As a result of the Republican debates, we can now give the innocent Incitatus – who never, after all, ran for Consul, or even galloped for it – a rest. Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum are all clearly less qualified for the office they seek than a horse would have been to serve as Consul. The Presidency, unlike the Consulate under the Emperors, still has real functions.

And at least Caligula proposed the entire horse.

Perry, Bachmann, and Christian Dominionists

There’s a difference between political fundamentalist Islam and political fundamentalist Christianity. The difference is that there’s no actual plot to subject the country to Islamic law.

If you think that Perry’s views on the Constitution are crazy, his politico-religious beliefs (and Bachmann’s), centered around Christian Dominionism, are scary-crazy.

There isn’t actually a movement to subject non-Muslim Americans to Sharia. But there is actually a movement to subject the whole country to what the most whacked-out fundamentalists think of as Biblical law.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.