Dear Dairy:

Looks like there is a little bit of a storm over the fact that the four leading GOP candidates skipped a debate centering on African American issues last night. Critics are seizing on this to decry the fact that the Republican Party is about as carefully inclusive of all ethnicities as the Aryan Brotherhood at San Quentin, but I think there are a number of good reasons why the serious candidates chose not to attend.

From what I’m told, Rudy skipped it because he thought the idea of a minority-oriented GOP debate was some kind of prank, and who could blame him. McCain was aware that it was an actual event but he said that due to his busy schedule he simply didn’t have time to learn all of the elaborate handshakes. Romney would have been more than happy to attend, except as a matter of personal Faith he remains unconvinced that Blacks are people. Thompson could not reasonably be expected to attend because it has been proven that the less he talks, the more people like him, and certainly the less chance he has to demonstrate how exceedingly limited his grasp of any issue is. I’ll be surprised if we hear anything from him for months.

As good as these reasons are, I’m sure they won’t be enough to satisfy "some people." And then they wonder why we blow them off! The time to make empty demonstrations to minorities is in the general election, not the primaries. The question isn’t why these candidates didn’t show up; it’s why the others did.

Neat to see Huckabee say "lid of marijuana," though,