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Although it seems totally chaotic, the Republican presidential race has actually followed a very logical path. E.J. Dionne explains how in his column, “The GOP’s Rational Reality Show:”

The contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been described as a reality show and a circus. But what’s happening inside the GOP is quite rational and easily explained.

The obvious Republican nominee was Texas Gov. Rick Perry — obvious because his government-bashing, ideology-mongering, secessionist-flirting persona was a perfect fit for a Republican primary electorate that has shifted far to the right of Ronald Reagan.

The yearning for someone like Perry was inevitable. He combined the right views — actually, very right views — with experience as a chief executive that made him seem like somebody ready to be president.

Consider that even before he had gotten into the race, mere word that he might run sent Republican voters scrambling his way. He already had 18 percent to Romney’s 23 percent in a late July Gallup poll. Michele Bachmann was next at 13 percent. At that point, Newt Gingrich was at 6 percent and Herman Cain at 4 percent.

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