It wasn't this way last time. By this date four years ago, there had already been six GOP debates. But the powers that be in pachyderm land decided that too many debates had wearied and bloodied the candidates, so this time around we would have fewer debates. But nobody foresaw the huge field that would enter. And nobody foresaw Donald Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
Politics is a game whose rules are constantly being rewritten even as the players are on the field. How many time-outs do you get? How many yards do you have to make? What shape is the ball? Everyone enters the contest thinking they know, but nobody knows until the game is being played. And things can change, even as the contest proceeds.
But in the end, as they say in Highlander, "there can be only one." That doesn't make losers of all the others, necessarily. Assuming that the Republicans can win the White House in 2016, they have a whole new generation of leadership available for high level posts. And the crowded field on their side shows up remarkably well against the Democratic field of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Joe Biden -- who are all old, mean, crazy, or some combination thereof.