November 3, 2011

We’re just two itty-bitty months away from the Iowa caucuses and things on the GOP front are just as fluid as ever. In fact, things are so fluid that anyone who tries to use any poll from anywhere to try and predict what will happen in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida – the first four contests – is just whistlin’ Dixie as far as I’m concerned.

Still, without an opinion what good is talking politics? So here, from bottom to top is The Great White Shank’s assessment of where the race stands currently.

8. Jon Huntsman – the former governor of Utah hasn’t moved the needle much, if at all, since his entry in the race. His performances during the debates thus far has been positively forgettable – in fact, after the last GOP debate analysts everywhere said it was Houseman’s best performance to date. The only problem? He wasn’t at that debate.

7. Michele Bachmann – I had great hopes for her at the outset, even though my brother Dave – a staunch conservative if there ever was one – called her “batshit crazy”. She came out of the gates forceful and strong, but then got off message by attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the first debate over Gardasil, then refused to back down from her crazy assertion that it caused mental retardation. As it turns out, her message has turned out to be rather thin gruel indeed – sure, she’s a “fighter” in the House of Representatives against Obamacare (nothing wrong with that) but if I hear her say one more time how many children she has raised and helped foster I’ll scream. She’s run a lousy campaign, and I’ve always believed that if you want to see how well people govern, see how they run their campaigns.

6. Rick Santorum – there’s something about this guy I just cannot warm up to. His debate performances have featured a snarkly, petty, and rude persona, and I don’t know how you get beyond that. Still, if there’s one candidate who has the ability to make some headway given Herman Cain’s recent issues, it’s Santorum. He’s a bona-fide social conservative, and he may just turn out to be the anti-Romney crowd’s alternative in Iowa. But he needs a rock-solid debate performance next time out to start getting some traction. He’s one to watch.

5. Ron Paul – more likely, in my view, to run as a Libertarian third-party candidate than someone who will win the GOP nomination. Which would, in turn, get us another four years of Barack Obama and his divisive, America- and capitalism-hating socialist cronies. Maybe if Paul goes third party then Sarah Palin and Donald Trump also go third-party and the 2012 election becomes a free-for-all. Of course, getting on the ballot is much harder than it appears. While there’s no doubt the guy is intelligent and is clear about what he stands for and doesn’t, his message is too esoteric for me.

4. Rick Perry – his candidacy announcment was a home run hit straight out of the ballpark, but since then he’s been awful as a candidate. Sure, calling people who disagree with Texas’ policy of giving illegals tuition breaks at state universities “heartless” was a huge blunder, but his undeclared war against Mitt Romney made him look petty and small, and his debate performances have been, to be kind, uneven. He seems incapable of finding a strong and steady campaign message and discipline to make people give him a second look, but there’s still time before Iowa for him to get his act together.

3. Newt Gingrich – has the air of a statesman but carries with him the stench of Washington politics. With 2012 being a true “anti-incumbent” election where anything associated with traditional Washington politics will be deemed “failure”, I have a hard time seeing how Newt, even given the fact he’s the most articulate and knowledgeable of all the GOP candidates, would fare in that kind of environment. I like Newt a lot, and there’s no doubt he could beat Barack Obama like a drum in any debate, but I don’t see how he attracts more than his loyal conservative following in a general election.

2. Herman Cain – no one is more disppointed in Herman Cain than I am. It has nothing to do with the allegations of sexual harrassment, which seem to me to be much ado about nothing. What bothers me is how both he and his campaign have responded to the charges. Undisciplined, uncertain, placing the blame everywhere else except where it belongs: on his campaign. It all started two weeks ago with his incoherent stance on abortion during that CNN interview. Shouldn’t be tough, right? But it took the better part of three days for people to figure out exactly what his position was. Then came the sexual harrassment allegations. Wouldn’t you think his campaign would have done the due diligence beforehand so that none of this would be a surprise?

Look, I love Herman, but I go back to what I said about Michele Bachmann’s campaign, I judge how a person is going to govern by how well they run their campaigns. If you run a campaign that is disciplined and stays on message, you can pretty much tell how well they will handle the heat if they end up (gasp!) winning. Cain’s prior strength was his ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues as a non-politician; he’s lost that big-time over the past couple of weeks, and his lack of experience in political campaigns is showing. The one thing he does have going for him is his inherent likeability; we’ll see if that can get him over this hump until and/or if he’s able to somehow get his campaign back on message.

1. Mitt Romney – conservatives hate the thought of him winning the GOP nomination, but the guy so far has run a virtually flawless campaign. By and large, he’s kept his focus on President Obama, not the other candidates, and that has elevated his candidacy to a point where he’s the one seen as most likely to be able to attract independents and stand toe-to-toe against the Obama machine in a general election campaign. Romney’s built himself a formidable campaign organization that will serve him well in the general election. The big question for him is, can he survive the GOP primaries? I think that’s a big question right now. If he wins Iowa, the aura of inevitability will start to take hold. Don’t kid yourselves: as much as true “conservatives” hate the idea of Romney being the party’s standard-bearer, they like the idea of someone who can beat Barack Obama far more.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comments (3)
  1. Good perspective. I agree 100%. That said, you still haven’t given me a reason to get out of bed next November … ‘cept to go to work. I have not sat out a Presidential election since 1984 but I am seriously considering it. I don’t like any of these. I would vote against Newt, though.

    Comment by Rob — November 3, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  2. If I’m still alive I’m getting out of bed next NOvember. But after my first bloody mary don’t ask me what I’ll be doing next! 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 3, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  3. […] for an Adult to be Presi.. Is the Republican Party working for Barack Obama? | Political Realities GoodBoys Nation  – Archives   » State Of The Race POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/3 « Accomack County Democ.. The Morning Flap: […]

    Pingback by The Libertarian: Who's it gonna be ? — November 10, 2011 @ 9:31 am

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