Archive for December, 2011

Observations on the 2012 GOP presidential race

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

I haven’t decided yet whom to support as the best choice to take on President Obama. But here are a few quick notes.

Romney should change his logo.

Mitt Romney’s last name is spelled out with an artsy, hard to distinguish “R” followed by the rest of his name in regular readable print. The problem, which his campaign has inexplicably not noticed, is that the rest of his name (written in all caps, no less) is “OMNEY”. The mind, trying to translate that into something it recognizes, transposes the first two letters into the word “money.”

In the aftermath of reaction to Romney’s $10,000 bet offer, that’s not the image Romney wants to project, either now or in the general election.

Newt will not get to debate Obama.

Newt Gingrich impresses at every debate with his mastery of the facts, his calm, confident stage presence, his excellent presentation skills and his superior ability to think on his feet. Perhaps the most frequent reason cited by Newt’s backers for their support is their desire to see him debate Obama. The consensus (with which I agree) is that Newt would destroy the President in a debate.

Problem is, Obama’s team is aware of that potential disaster. That’s why there won’t be any Obama-Gingrich debates. Obama will chicken out. He will follow a classic Rose Garden strategy and find other pressing presidential business that precludes his participation, even if it’s just another round of golf. And a supportive mainstream media will back him up 100%. He may even do the same if Romney is the nominee. The only way to get Obama to take part in the debates is for Republicans to nominate Rick Perry. Which brings us to my next point:

Perry not ready for prime time.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has an outstanding record of job creation, but the more I see of him, the less I like. His television commercials are excellent, but outside that controlled environment he is a fish out of water. Perry isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) shooting star who looked great in his home state but quickly wilted in the harsh light of 24/7 national attention. Regrettably, he is a walking, talking gaffe machine that instills no confidence in his ability to lead.

Electability.

As I have written more extensively before, the Buckley Rule (Nominate the most conservative candidate who can actually win) applies to this contest. On one hand, we accomplish little, if anything, by replacing President Obama with a RINO who will continue current policies but attach the Republican name to them. On the other hand, it does the country no good to nominate a conservative purist who will repel swing voters into the arms of President Obama. There are times, like 1964, when the electorate isn’t ready to accept a principled conservative (Barry Goldwater), even against a flawed incumbent (Lyndon Johnson). There are other times, like 1980, when a bold, clear contrast (Ronald Reagan) with a failing presidency (Jimmy Carter), articulately presented, is exactly what the electorate is seeking.

So, will 2012 be more like 1964 or 1980? Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and former candidate Herman Cain (who was my choice until he suspended his campaign) all seem capable of donning the Reagan 1980 mantle. Poor early polling is usually due to voters’ unfamiliarity with newer candidates to the national stage. But previously uninformed voters warm up to a candidate once he/she becomes the nominee. If we go with an inspirational conservative firebrand, will we inspire the nation the way Reagan did, or will we scare voters away the way Goldwater did? Must we “settle” for the “safer” Mitt Romney? Which brings us to my final point:

Romney is conservative enough.

Many conservatives dismiss Mitt Romney as too moderate. I would feel better about Mitt if he would be forthright in disavowing Romneycare. But we need to remember four years ago, when moderate Sen. John McCain emerged from a similarly crowded field to surge to the nomination. By Super Tuesday, evangelical conservatives fell in behind Mike Huckabee, while economic conservatives looked to – remember? – Mitt Romney! He was credible in riding the conservative white horse. While many of Romney’s backers today are establishment neo-cons whose support does not impress me, other notable Romney supporters are legitimate tea-party friendly conservatives whose opinions I respect.

While not as conservative as his opponents, Romney may well be conservative enough.

We need to use this primary season to vet our candidates and pick the one that is best suited for these times. I haven’t yet decided who that is.

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