IF YOU have been watching the drawn-out kabuki exercise that is America's presidential election, it may be that you are too polite to wonder aloud how any nation could even consider entrusting its supreme office to a man who believes the risen Jesus turned up in the Americas, where He arranged for his updated scriptures to be recorded on gold tablets destined to be found 1,900 years later by a confidence man and Ponzi schemer, who proceeded to lose them before anyone else could have a gander? If you have not been following the US election, that man would be Mitt Romney, who may well get the Republican nomination.
Mind you, it is not his Mormonism that is the greatest concern. Unlike adherents of a certain other religion, no Latter Day Saint has blown himself, at least not intentionally, and it is well over a century since a non-believers' wagon train has been massacred in Utah. This might have something to do with the Mormons' renunciation of polygamy. If so, the other religion which still embraces multiple wives might do well to follow suit. A fellow who can't take a drink or draw consolation from the companionship of a faithful dog while being hectored by a quartet of shrill women is naturally going to regard TNT and exploding vests as key ingredients in a viable life-improvement strategy.
No, the real reason why Romney is to be feared is quite simple: he is not a good businessman. With more than a year before he can be installed in the White House -- a year in which he might have exploited his front-running status to the maximum financial advantage -- he has already sold himself at a market-opener price.
Read this and feel a genuine sympathy for those poor Americans, who will have to choose between the current, ghost-written American president on one hand and the bought-and-paid-for Romney on the other.
Still, Romney might not be that bad. A magic salamander in the cabinet could provide a welcome diversion as Europe folds, America revisits the 1930s and China, where no official economic numbers can be believed, is swallowed by domestic upheaval.
Is there no way, even at this late stage, New Jersey's reluctant Governor Chris Christie could be dragged off his (very) broad acre and dropped onto the Republican ticket? There might a be a little hope if that were to happen -- not much hope, just a little.