JIM CREES: So, here are the choices.

The beat goes on ...

The slow and ever-so tedious march to the next presidential election has already become an incredible burden rather than being a joyful demonstration of the democratic system.

Anymore, Election Day is preceded by years of campaigning (more often than not by people who have no chance of winning in the first place) month after month of debates (which do nothing but fill time for the 24-hour news providers) and days and nights filled with inanity as candidates do everything they can to out-buffoon each other.

It’s simply sad, but there we have it.

So, here we are. Half the potential Democratic field of candidates have already bailed and three remain — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and ... um ... er ... the other guy. Oh yeah, Martin O’Malley.

Actually (in my very humble opinion) O’Malley seems probably the best qualified and most balanced Democratic candidate in the lot, but he probably (in my humble opinion) won’t make the cut.

O’Malley, a former governor of Maryland, would like to work on the budget by balancing spending cuts with modest tax increases. He also would like to restructure and protect pension plans.

This, by the way, is a guy who at least says he would have his government actively prosecute financial crimes carried out by Wall Street robber barons.

O’Malley believes climate change is scientifically confirmed and a real threat to this nation. He says the government should be more enthusiastic in dealing with the issue. He also takes a realistic approach to immigration issues rather than tearing out his hair and rending his clothes over the boogiemen swarming at the borders.

And more. And more. Et cetra.

But ... people still don’t know this guy from Adam.

Then we move to the GOP field of candidates.

Sigh.

Here, the goofier you are, the more acceptable you seem to be to “The Base.”

The two polling front runners — Donald Trump and Ben Carson — are simply scary people, and they are still receiving wild acclaim by a stunning majority of the GOP faithful.

The lead in the race to the Republican primary swings between Trump and Carson, and their relationship seems to run hot and cold as well. One week, Trump says he would consider Dr. Carson as a vice-president. (A suggestion that made extremist right-wing hag and all around racist witch Ann Coulter virtually swoon with joy. Coulter is a fawning fan of Trump who has said “ ... she’s fantastic, she’s been so supportive and I appreciate it. She’s been great.”)

Birds of a feather, folks. Birds of a feather.

Then the next week, Trump is recorded slamming Carson’s choice of denominational religion. Yes. Trump suggested voters couldn’t REALLY be sure Seventh Day Adventists were Christians. What a guy! An equal opportunity hater.

All the while Carson just keeps getting better and better. (Just kidding!)

As I’ve written in the past, this is a guys who has said:

  • The Affordable Care Act is worse than slavery and the United States today is worse than Gestapo run Germany.
  • Evolutionary theory is the work of the Devil, and the Big Bang Theory of creation is a myth.
  • There is no such thing as a “war on women” but liberals are waging war against women’s reproductive systems.
  • And, by the way, Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a conspiracy to kill black babies.
  • Being gay is a choice, and the proof of that is the American penal system.
  • There is no such thing as racism in America today.

Carson is the guy who actually compared ISIS and the civil war in Syria to more local issues saying the influx of foreign fighters into ISIS ranks was “ ... just like the troublemakers in Ferguson.” referring to the racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yep. Just like that!

The big problem is ... every time Trump, Carson or others of their ilk spout some racist, hateful, baseless inanity, folks all over the country continue to nurse their beer while nodding sagely and saying, “These guys know what they’re talking about ...”

NO! THEY DON’T!

One is a self-promoting, self-aggrandizing, greed-driven, womanizing, hypocritical liar, and the other is an incredibly intelligent, exceptionally talented physician, who is a certified moron in the ways of the world.

It is simply shocking how people in this country can so openly admire two men of such little actual ability.

Trump says he would force Putin to back down, and people believe it. Putin would chew this pontificating pipsqueak up in one session. Being President of the United States takes a lot more than huffing and puffing and blowing down straw houses.

And woe on us if we have Carson as president — a man who when asked if President Obama is a “real black president” answered, “He’s real. And he’s black.” But when pressed to put the two statements together and add the word “president” he simply could not do so.

Good luck to us all.