The three-way victory in the Iowa caucuses last night reveals just what a catastrophe for the Republican Party the Year of 16 Debates was. The relentless televised clashes of 2011 gave ridiculous heft to the freak candidacies of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich — to the detriment of the party’s standing in its long-term struggle to defeat Barack Obama.I agree that the debates were hugely wasteful and unproductive, but the real damage was done by the defamation of Mitt Romney by his own party. The incredible hatred expressed towards him and the determination to prevent him from being nominated, despite the others' failure to raise funds and build grassroots organizations, lead these Anybody-but-Romney crazies to run from one candidate to another hoping to find a messiah. None of the others made the grade and it just so happened that Santorum turn to surge came just as the caucuses began. He hasn't been scrutinized by the media or the competition. He has no money or organization and the money coming in now may be too late to buy ads in saturated markets, but never mind. He's been boosted to the top tier by the votes in an arcane system that doesn't even produce any binding electoral votes. The only sane ones in this nonsense may have been Gary Johnson who dropped out to run as a Libertarian and Jon Huntsman, who skipped Iowa entirely.