This should be a great time to be a Republican. Despite the apparent jubilation that followed the news we had finally killed the world’s most famous terrorist and our self-described arch nemesis, President Obama did not get the same poll surge other presidents have gotten after these kinds of things. Now, I am not ready to say he will lose in 2012 but I think there are plenty of opportunities for the GOP to take advantage of the current climate of worry and real pain.
What makes me nervous is that even with their army of message disciplined warriors and plethora of seemingly willing candidates, something just seems off. Most of the cast of characters we have out there now all have one strange thing in common; they all have some potentially fatal flaw. And it’s making me suspicious. Think about it. Let’s look at our current crop of candidates (in no particular order).
Mitt Romney: Romney care. One of the top priorities for many on the right is the repeal of “Obamacare” and many – on both sides – can tell you that without the former, the latter may not have happened. It is going to be hard to convince conservatives who think the individual mandate poses an immediate threat to the American way of life that while Romney thought it was good for Massachusetts but would not impose it on everyone else. Add in his statements on climate change and his religion – more than a few evangelicals aren’t thrilled with it – and he may not be able to wrap this thing up this quarter like his campaign would like.
Michelle Bachman: she is either really stupid, really insane or a liar. Seriously. She has a law degree and she still cannot keep basic US history straight. She seems to just say whatever words come to mind and hope they form thoughts that make coherent sentences and while they do, they still don’t make sense. When fellow Tea Partier and non-witch, perpetual candidate Christine O’Donnel says “We should change the phrase ‘shooting fish in a barrel to fact-checking Michelle Bachman,’” it’s hard to see how far she’ll get. PS – Ms. O’Donnell please run for something again. Anything, one of my hobbies is stand-up comedy and you make me very happy. PPS. If Congresswoman Bachmann does get into the White House, I am moving to whatever country will have me.
Sarah Palin: Not possibly credible. Governor Palin shares a lot of Congresswoman Bachmann’s problems in terms of how she comes across. While she may not butcher well known facts and history as badly, her knowledge of both what has happened in the past and what’s happening now does not seem to be “encyclopedic.” Moreover, she had a reality show. Can anyone really take that seriously? One woman in Alaska made a really great point about the Governor’s decision to quit mid-way through her first term; she was hurt and upset that after all the work that Palin’s campaign supporters gave her – both in money and volunteer time, their loyalty was not reciprocated.
Newt Gingrich: Where do you begin? His hypocrisy? His tendency to flip flop or just run off the reservation? The former speaker’s campaign will self-destruct for reasons that have nothing to do with his infidelity but that’s where I am starting. Other than the fact that I think divorcing your wife while she is still in the hospital recovering from cancer is incredibly wrong, his attitude towards marriage and infidelity was absolutely none of my business until he pushed though the Clinton impeachment for doing something he was doing at the time. The upside to Newt ‘s candidacy is that he will do himself in for completely different reasons. His verbosity – an addiction with him – will sink him. He will contradict himself (when the Libya situation broke out he said that he wanted us to go in and the minute we did he said he never would have done that) or he will have some hissy that does him in. Anyone remember the reason he gave for the government shut down in 1995? “President Clinton was mean to me on Air Force One, he made me sit in the back of the plane.” It just occurred to me now ironic it is that he was upset about being forced to sit at the back of a plane, would he have felt the same about other forms of transport – say buses?
Donald Trump: he’s Donald Trump. Oh, I am also not convinced he in running. I don’t dislike him, I actually find him really entertaining but I cannot see this is anything more than a publicity stunt. It seems that in other areas where he makes this kind of investment, i.e. when he develops anything, he does his research and hires professional to advise him. Even if he is either serious now – or becomes convinced by the hoards of people who attend his events, his statements up to now have been more about saying what will ever get the most attention than what is the most presidential. Neither his statements nor his record will stand up to the real scrutiny that will come his way if he makes this official.
There are two candidates (John Huntsman & Mitch Daniels) whose “issues” seem really petty compared to the people already described. The former was President Obama’s ambassador to China and his previous support for civil unions could be problems for the base. It seems that he can argue that he was the best person for the job and our relationship with China is too important to our economic and national security to turn down a presidential request to take it and if the economy is still crappy, well the civil union issue may be anything but. As for Governor Daniels, his “problem” is that his wife left him, married someone else, divorced that person and went back to Governor Daniels. Maybe hardcore marriage voters will wonder how she left her children but how does that make the Governor look bad? He seems to be the forgiving husband and loving father.
And that’s my point. Next to the crop mentioned above, these two look pretty good, sane and electable. Even melba-toast Nick Pawlenty looks good next to Michelle Bachman, et al. Governor Daniels remarried his wife who left him? Newt Gingrich is on wife number three. John Hunstman worked for President Obama? The vast majority of Donald Trumps political contributions were to Democrats, his views on most issues change depending on the wind direction and he gets annoyed when asked about his own business dealings and records (will he release his financials?).
And even if these last three candidates are forced out, there are a few others out there that may be tapped. I believed Chris Christie when he said he didn’t want to run but his recent comments on creationism make me wonder if that’s not a nod to some on the right. He’s already got the talking points about why he would change his mind, “My country needs me and I cannot resist this call…”
You may think I am paranoid in seeing a ruse in all this insanity and implied inexperience/incompetence but I worry they are all crazy all right; crazy like foxes.