The GOP ideological kitchen is being overrun by many cooks, including a pizza magnate presidential candidate and a chain that sells God-fearing breaded chicken to say nothing of Sarah Palin's WTF moose chili and Michelle Bachmann's side dish of apple sauce.
All this complicates 2012 for the white-bread front runner Mitt Romney, whose ever-changing menu will have to take on historic proportions to accommodate the varying tastes of primary voters.
But not to worry, says the conservative Weekly Standard, going all the way back to "what Lincoln called, in a different context, 'an open field and a fair chance' for all plausible contestants to demonstrate their 'industry, enterprise, and intelligence.'
"We need many candidates—-experienced and not so experienced, old and young, congressmen and governors, formers and futures—-all making their case, in debates and on the stump, in forums big and small, addressing issues of all sorts and reacting in real time to developments of all kinds."
We already have that. It's called cable TV news, which has turned the electoral process into a chaotic contest for face time with little discrimination for what's being said and even less Lincolnesque intelligence.
What Republican office holders are learning now is a variation on an old saying, "If you have the Tea Party for a friend, you don't need an enemy," as activists target party stalwarts like Dick Lugar in Indiana just as they unseated Utah's Bob Bennett last year.
For Democrats, who already have their White House candidate, next year won't be a food fight but the new Chief of Staff William Daley reverts to a culinary cliché in his first TV outing by asking about GOP budget cuts, "Where's the beef?"
As Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Thune, Mitch Daniels et al start the 2012 stewpot boiling, there will be some esoteric ingredients in it, but political beef may be at a premium.
Update: Contenders are stockpiling one of the main ingredients in the recipe, money, with Romney having raised $4.7 million for his federal political action committee last year, Palin $3.6, Pawlenty $2.1 and Huckabee just under a million. Newt Gingrich, as always playing under his own rules, has piled up $13.7 million under a different section of the tax code.