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Last week, I had dinner with my ultra-conservative uncle. We tiptoe around politics because both of us can get pretty ugly. When I was young, it really used to bother me - in the early '70s, he said, "They ought to drown all you antiwar protesters." Right after the '08 election, he made sneering comments about Michelle Obama that were just uncalled for.

These days, I can match ugly for ugly, so that has kept our discussions shorter and more civil. So last week, we talked about the Republican primary race, and  spent some time discussing each of the candidates. I knew GOPers have their doubts about the field of candidates, but I was surprised that my uncle was among them.

Over the croissant...

He laughed at the mention of Bachmann. He winced at the thought of Perry. He grimaced when we discussed Gingrich -- he remembers the debacle in the 90s. He dismissed Santorum. And he shook his head when Romney came up.

I was completely surprised when he said, "You can't beat someone with no one," so I asked him what he meant. He replied that he didn't agree with Obama about much, but that he did not doubt that Obama inherited a bad situation, that he was sincere about trying to fix him (in a misguided sort of way), and that he had been generous and patient in his response to the GOP house.

The turning point for him was the debt ceiling showdown. He is 83 years old, retired, and is concerned about stretching his savings to cover the life span of himself and my aunt. He did no appreciate the brinkmanship game the House played, believing their actions to be both stupid and destructive. And he had nothing but contempt for their final whimpers in the tax extension.

I found this discussion quite revealing, indicating a dispirited and resigned attitude toward the upcoming Presidential election. I won't be surprised if he perks up when the GOP finally picks Romney as their candidate -- but I don't think he is likely to be an enthusiastic supporter.

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