Saturday, May 14, 2011

Presidential Handicapping

Now that Huckabee is out of the race, and Romney, Pawlenty and Gingrich are in, it is shaping up to be an interesting contest to unseat Barack Obama. I have not doubt that the Republicans can nominate a candidate that can beat Obama, but will their penchant for establishment types kill their efforts (think Bob Dole in '96)? The big question mark is still Mitch Daniels, IMHO. That he is a threat is indicated by the press his wife is receiving over leaving their marriage and returning. This is clearly a warning to him that his wife will have to pay a high price if he runs, which tells me that the Democrats fear his candidacy.

Of course, one could opine at this point that there is not a single candidate who can win the Republican nomination, but obviously someone will. First, I hope it's not the guy on the right:

And this guy clearly has issues:

If you can watch the last video without gagging or laughing, more power to you. Flip-flopper? Mitt? No way. Romney missed his moment in 2008. He could have run as an experienced businessman who understood the economic mess, instead he went faux-social conservative and people saw right through it, because it didn't fit. There is a life lesson in there.

Meanwhile, many people in the Tea Party love Sarah Palin, but I can't tell if she is running in earnest. I don't think she will be successful if she does. Here's why, running for President is a team sport. Her celebrity style of operation means that she hasn't really built the full team needed for the marathon that is the Presidential campaign. (This is what Obama does have going for him, an experienced and successful campaign team.)

Chris Christie appears sincere in taking himself out of the running. I would love to see him on the ticket as the Veep; watching him smack down Biden in a debate would be pure cotton candy. Not very nutritious but dang, a lot of fun.

Which brings me to the mid-westerners Pawlenty and Daniels. I was horrified at Pawlenty's performance in the South Carolina debate. I just don't get where his base is. Being the governor of a slightly left leaning state is a handicap in the Republican race, because he has taken positions aren't all that Tea Party:
. . . he shows on a softer side on issues like mass transit, education, and the environment (especially global warming). He favored a 75-cent cigarette tax -- he claimed, with the agreement of the Minnesota court system, that it was a "user fee" -- and even advocated a statewide smoking ban. And Pawlenty overrode his normal free-market tendencies to support the importation of price-controlled prescription drugs from Canada.
(As an aside, why is supporting free trade in drugs from Canada not free market? I am all in favor, because it would cause the artificial price controls on drugs in Canada to collapse, ending in effect, a U.S. subsidy of their market.) But after Pawlenty's debate performance and adopting a fake southern drawl, I see the guy in the same light as Romney, not quite certain enough of his own brand to vigorously promote it.

Finally, Daniels has supported ethanol, anathema to me, but maybe not so much to the rest of the party. What might hurt him are the social issues "truce" remarks he has made. We still see a segment of the Republican party for which this is important. Daniels' actual record is of a very socially conservative person, his signing of the Indiana abortion law and defunding Planned Parenthood may insulate him.

I know that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are more pure in their Libertarian/Tea Party leanings than some other candidates I have discussed. I can't see Ron Paul winning with remarks on bin Laden (a President Paul wouldn't have gone into Pakistan to kill bin Laden). Gary Johnson is not too well known and has been out of politics for awhile.

There you have it. No one is going to be nominated by the Republicans, remember you heard it here first.

1 comment:

  1. B-Daddy: Daniels went off my preferred list after his quip about "not being able to debate Obama about foreign policy." If anything, the winner I want to see coming out of the GOP primary is the one who has focused his/her rhetorical attacks on Obama -- not the other candidates.

    Palin, Cain, Bolton (and Christie, if he changes his mind) are the only ones named as possibilities who meet this standard. And, I disagree about Palin -- she has got a national security adviser from the Reagan and giving serious policy speeches (unheralded by the press).

    Palin and the three gentlemen I name are the only ones I see going toe-to-toe with Obama in any meaningful way. So, I hope the ultimate candidate is one of them.