By Tom Ehrich

After a long year with Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Me, it was moderately refreshing to see good ol’ Mitt back on center stage.

(I can’t believe I just said that.)

It wasn’t nostalgia – a throwback, like oldies rock. It certainly wasn’t enthusiasm for Mitt Romney’s possible candidacy for President – been there, done that. I suppose it was his reminder that the Republican establishment wasn’t always so perfectly expressed by Dum, Dee and Me.

Two know little of governance, one knows nothing. One whines, one wants a theocracy, and one wants a bully’s pulpit. All three pose a threat to democracy, not because they are Republicans, but because they speak for bigotry, un-American values, phony Christianity, lying and bullying, and the GOP’s fealty to mega-wealth.

It seems inconceivable that a great nation would entrust its future to any of the Tweedles. Can hatred of blacks be that virulent? Can fear of a future grounded in diversity be that strong? Can “the land of the free and home of the brave” have fallen so low that a majority would act out their cowardice by sacrificing their freedom and mine?

Okay, you say, enough of the snarky insults about the self-important Tweedles invented by Lord Byron who fought over a rattle, until a “monstrous crow, as black as a tar-barrel,” took the fight out of them.

Okay, but how do you move on? You can’t “un-see” the spectacle of three grown men behaving like middle-school taunters. You can’t un-see one point, one puff and one pout. You can’t un-see Donald’s fingers. You can’t un-see the strange bedfellows clustering around the Tweedles, such as the KKK’s David Duke, loose cannon Franklin Graham, and a boisterous father who thinks his son is, well, a savior.

Maybe that’s the point. When the Republican nominee goes after some blemish in Hillary’s physical appearance, or drags out the thoroughly discredited email nonsense, or blames her for Bill’s libido, or tags Bernie with “socialism = communism = un-American,” none of it needs to make sense. It’s like the insults we just heard: throw it on the wall, see what sticks, ignore the fact-checkers, and throw some more.

How did it come to this? One fraud at a time. One lie. One veiled N-word. One schoolyard taunt. One taking of donor-class cash while pretending to care for America. One sneering at the suckers/voters behind closed doors, one phony charge, one deliberate misreading of Scripture, one encouragement to white men bullying a solitary black woman – one at a time, until nothing seems real, nothing seems to make sense, until sensible people hide from the nonsense and, thus, become its enablers.

It’s time to push back. Using facts, using reasoned argument, using passion, using faith, using patriotism – using it all, maybe even a touch of snark, one push at a time, not expecting any one word to do it all, just a growing awareness that a groundswell of common sense is needed.