Let's hand it to the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Dartmouth University: They have figured out a debate invite schematic that goes beyond polls to squeeze Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer out of tomorrow's debate. The rules:
1) Received measurable popular support in a range of national polls.
3) Is a legally qualified candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
Johnson has done both, and Roemer has at least done the second. Good so far.
2) Campaign reported at least half a million dollars raised in its FEC filing through the 2011 second quarter reporting period.
Neither Johnson nor Roemer has done that. They're out, no matter what else they do. Theoretically, sure, they could pass this fundraising marker for a future debate. How else to keep them barred?
4) Participated in at least three nationally televised Republican presidential debates during the 2012 election cycle.
Brilliant! The proof that Johnson and Roemer shouldn't share a stage with other Republicans is that they haven't been invited to other debates. In Johnson's case, he's participated in two debates -- he just misses the cut! Newt Gingrich, who has willed his campaign from "joke" to "interesting joke" simply on the strength of free media debate appearances, is calling for Johnson to be included. That won't matter for tomorrow, but maybe it's a break in this bizarre 2012 sideshow.