Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grading the Contendahs: 2012 GOP Pres Candidates (Part 2)

Well, its been an interesting-ish time in American Presidential politics.  Trump flirted with running, and then dropped out after getting schooled by Obama (seriously, there's no other way to put it.  Obama released his long-form birth certificate, ripped Trump a new one at the WH Correspondent's Dinner, and then had Osama bin Laden shot in the face), Mitch Daniels is out, and the GOP Presidential hopefuls are looking either dull or crazy.  Hell, I almost forgot about Huckabee deciding against a run.  So, I'm not particularly concerned about this crop of candidates, but that could change (see 1992).

Which is to say that Obama is beatable, but the GOP has to find the right kind of candidate to beat him.  One of my greatest concerns is that Obama, as a centrist (and he really is a centrist), can get outflanked by a populist candidate like Huckabee who would move to his left on some issues - Wall Street reform - and move to Obama's right on other issues like abortion.  I've seen it done at a mayoral level when Dick Murphy simultaneously moved to the right and the left of Ron Roberts, handily beating him.  But I don't know if anyone has the ability to pull it off.

With that said, here are my reviews of the contenders thus far:

Mitt Romney: The Mittster came in second in the last go around, and if the GOP had the same rules as the Democrats, he would've won the nomination over McCain.  He's telegenic, has lots of money to burn, and is willing to work his ass off for it.  But, everyone knows Romney, and most voters don't like him.  They don't dislike him, but they don't like him.  Plus, he's Mormon, and he was the architect for Obamacare.  So, even though he's the frontrunner, his support is weak. 

Tim Pawlenty: We've seen plenty of Pawlenty (thank you, don't forget to tip your waitress) and quite frankly, he's left no impression.  And just like Romney, everyone knows who he is, and they're still not buying what he's selling. 

John Huntsman: I have to admit, Huntsman scares me a bit.  He was an ambassador for Obama, but he's got that conservative, but not so conservative that he looks crazy on TV thing going for him.  I don't know if the GOP primary voters will go for it, but he could be very dangerous in a general election.

Newt Gingrich: Um, wow.  Gingrich is a total and complete mess of a person and a candidate.  If he were to take the nomination, he would have no chance of beating Obama.  None. 

Rick Santorum: Another total mess of a candidate. Next.

Sarah Palin, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann: Sex and race aside, they are all the same candidate, speaking to the same crowds.  All but Palin are crazy, but have a rabid following in the Tea Party.  But, let's face it, against Obama, each one of these candidates will get crushed.  The GOP elites know this and are doing their damnedest to kill their campaigns early.  Palin will be the easiest to nudge out, but Cain and Bachmann are true believers. But that said, I don't see the primary voters going with either Cain or Bachmann.

The Dark Horses: I don't see any dark horses out there for the GOP right now.  Jeb Bush is, well, a Bush; Perry has major problems in his own state, Jindal is too young (and too not-white), etc.  The cupboard is relatively bare at this point.

Anyone with thoughts to the contrary?

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