A recurring question about the GOP presidential field

A RECURRING QUESTION ABOUT THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL FIELD…. Kevin Drum asked overnight, “For the love of God, can people please stop writing columns about how we ought to take Donald Trump seriously?” Perusing the op-ed pages this morning, pundits seem to have an answer: No.

But what I find especially interesting is the fact that we keep running into the same question about so many Republican presidential hopefuls.

Lately, Trump has spent quite a bit of time in the spotlight, and Eugene Robinson has a piece today, arguing that he finds it difficult to dismiss Trump out of hand, the television personality’s buffoonery notwithstanding.

No, I don’t believe that Trump is seriously running for president. But what if he continues this charade past the point of no return? What if he pulls away from Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and the others? What if he wins primaries and caucuses? What if…

What [Trump has] been, consistently, is a headline-grabber extraordinaire. If he now has decided to take himself seriously, I’m afraid we’re going to have to follow suit.

Robinson’s column shared a page with Richard Cohen’s latest, which ponders a similar question. David Brooks weighed in, too. (This is just today; similar pieces have been running quite a bit lately, bolstering Kevin’s point.)

But also note how often we’ve heard related questions recently. Jonathan Bernstein had an item in early March asking about Gingrich’s national ambitions, “Do We Have To Take Newt Seriously?” A couple of weeks later, Ed Kilgore pondered whether Michele Bachmann is “a serious contender.” MSNBC recently asked, “Should voters take Herman Cain seriously?” The same question has been asked about Sarah Palin for a long while, and it’s picking up again this week.

It’s problematic that a ridiculous reality-show host is leading some national polls, but it’s also troubling that the Republican presidential field is so ridiculous, every few weeks we find ourselves wondering, “Do we really have to take _______ seriously?”