I keep thinking I’ve shown up at the wrong party.

You think it’ll be a nice gathering, full of intelligent debate. Sure, there’ll be some dips and weird greenish things that look as if they wilted on the way over, but that’s just the hors d’oeuvres.

But then as you walk around, you notice something strange: everyone there.

Yes, I’m talking about the field of potential candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012. Donald Trump? Tea Party provocatrix Michele Bachmann? Next Jimmy McMillan is going to throw his hat into the ring.

Maybe they should consider changing the name from Grand Old Party to No RSVP Required for This Party or Folks With The Approximate Gravitas of The Members of the Village People Party. Tim Pawlenty must feel like that guy who shows up in a suit and tie to a theme party. “I’ve been a governor,” he says.

“My hair was a governor in its past life!” Donald Trump responds.

I assume that the next time I hear about the Republican Presidential Slate for 2012, it will include, say, a live muskrat and something that crawled out from under Newt Gingrich’s arm and proved capable of human speech.

Honestly, nothing would surprise me at this point.

It could be an umbrella with legs. It could be an actual bear that looked kind of like Ronald Reagan in the right lighting. It could be a half-eaten sandwich with very strong views about Obamacare. Everyone seems to be dropping in.

And the party’s getting out of hand. At the time of writing, Donald Trump had twice demanded Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

I have never appeared on “The Apprentice,” suggested that anyone is wandering through elementary schools urging our kids to try homosexuality or insisted that “I have to go commit adultery now because I love my country so much.” The fact that this sets me apart from the field tells you how weird the field is shaping up to be.

We’ve almost reached the point where I want to run out into the street and beg Mitt Romney or Mitch Daniels, or, heck, a Bush of some kind, to get involved. Yes, I know Mitt doesn’t want to hop in until he has decided where he stands on health care, but by the time he figures that out the election will probably be over! And someone needs to be an adult here and at least shoo Trump away before Tim Pawlenty decides he’s come to the wrong party and leaves, muttering something about needing to go find his hat.

It can’t be that hard! After all, the GOP includes many sane, reasonable people, people who are intelligent, care deeply about the country and have objections to the state of things right now that don’t involve birth certificates.

They just don’t seem to be running for president yet.