December 1, 2011

As one might expect following months filled with lots of debates that have given people plenty of time and chances to see the candidates at their best (and worst), the Republican field is starting to winnow itself down. Consider the following:

* Herman Cain’s campaign is showing signs of imploding, not just from the charges of improper behavior involving women (none of which have been proven, BTW), but more so from his campaign’s inability to get back on stride after being knocked off its heels following the initial charges several weeks ago. Between his slow and ineffectual response to those charges, a strange and uneven campaign strategy (campaigning everywhere except Iowa), and recent lackluster interviews and two sub-par debate performances (the one with Newt and last week’s AEI debate) illustrating his lack of depth and substance when it comes to foreign policy, Cain’s campaign is suddenly treading serious water.

* Michele Bachmann’s piling on Cain’s problems today shows a continued, curious tone-deafness that has really defined her campaign ever since she attacked Texas Governor Rick Perry over the Gardasil issue during and after Perry’s first GOP debate. Rather than trumpeting her own experience and taking the high road followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (who have instead focused all their ammo on President Obama), she’s shown a nasty and petty side that has not worn well. You’d think the fact she lost an enormous amount of political capital going after Perry so hard would have tought her to keep her focus on her own campaign; the fact she didn’t tells you why a congresswoman with solid conservative credentials from a neighboring state should not be polling in the low single-digits. These things don’t happen purely by accident.

* Speaking of Rick Perry, isn’t it time he did the politically expedient thing and call off his campaign? I mean, when you’re polling at 6% in South Carolina only weeks away from its primary you’re done like dinner. He surely wouldn’t hurt himself politically by calling it a campaign, saying simply that what he’s learned is that, at least for now, he’s a much better governor than a presidential candidate and that he’ll draw much from this experience were he to decide to try again in the future. By staying in he’s not helping himself whatsoever – in fact, it just makes him look increasingly vulnerable politically in every way possible.

It’s only time before Cain, Bachmann, and Perry drop out. Which would, in effect, leave Newt and Romney battling in the top tier, and Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman waiting for another game-changing event to push their candidacies. Unfortunately, as Byron York writes, with the holiday season here, the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd, and the New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida primaries following rapidly on Iowa’s heels, there’s really not a lot of time for that kind of thing to happen.

But if such were to be the case, who would benefit? Santorum has solid conservative credentials but is just not a likeable candidate. Paul, of course, has his legion of rabid supporters but not much beyond that. Huntsman’s entirely forgettable as a candidate – at this point, even after all the debates, I’m still trying to figure out what his beliefs and positions are.

So it looks like it’s coming down to Newt vs. Romney, and we’re about to see just how much the Romney campaign is willing to fight for the nomination. Their strategy all along has been to let the rest of the field either torpedo themselves or each other, but Newt is now presenting a formidable challenge, and as a known commodity he’s not going away any time soon. How Romney’s campaign is able to adjust to this new reality so close to the start of real people voting will tell a lot about its ability to handle the rigors of a national campaign were Romney to gain the Republican nomination for president.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:54 | Comments (2)
  1. Listening to NPR, eating baked cheese grits, loaning my tent to some “occupiers” and calling Nancy Pelosi to come over for cocktails.

    As Doug’s head spins and he turns a bright Christmas red, someone please take a photo.

    Comment by Jana — December 1, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  2. NPR – OK, as long as it’s only the news in between classical music stations. Should be taxpayer defunded 100%.

    Occupiers – Privileged babies who haven’t grown up, they need to take a bath and get a job.

    Nancy Pelosi – One of the most corrupt politicians in Washington. A horrible, partisan witch, but an even worse Roman Catholic.

    If it wasn’t for the fact we’ve spent so much time together I’d say you keep good company! 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 1, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

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