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August 19, 2011

GOP Nomination 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the [YAWN!]

Back in May I sorted through the various announced, likely, and potential candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.  A lot has happened since then, so I thought I’d have another look at the list (once again, culled from this site).  This time around, I will disregard altogether the candidates who (IMO) have little or no chance of scoring in the double-digits.

Also this time, I will attempt to quantify my opinion of each candidate on a scale from +5 (awesome) to 0 (meh) to –5 (nononononono).

Rick Perry
Sarah Palin*
Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
Paul Ryan*
Rick Santorum
Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney
Rudy Giuliani*
Ron Paul

* Considering, but not yet announced

As you can see from the above, the candidates I am most excited about are Perry and Palin.  In their rhetoric, I see two candidates whose views track closely with mine (with Perry getting a slight edge for his constitutionalist views).  In addition, I see two people who are fearless in the face of the withering Democrat/Media assault that has been hurled their way.  Their political instincts are good, they stay on message, and the message is a good one.  I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling that Palin will defer to Perry as long as he stays the course.  Perry does have some negatives, and perhaps I’ll deal with them in a separate post, but I don’t believe that any of the currently-known negatives fatally compromise him.

I like Bachmann a lot, but I’m not sure she can hold her own in the major leagues.  The MSM has been laying one trap after another for her, and she keeps walking into them.  This is sad, because her constitutionalist views are great.

Cain is another one I consider to be very smart and likable, and he has a good businessman’s sense of what ails our country.  But the media is casting him as a sideshow attraction (which they absolutely must do, because to them there’s no such thing as a black conservative), and he doesn’t seem to know how to take the initiative away from them.

Ryan… good budget plan a few months back, but that’s about it.  His plan made him a tea party celebrity for a while, and that is the only reason he seems to be considering a run.  What makes him good presidential material? [August 22 UPDATE: He’s out]

Santorum… good on the pro-life issue and some social issues, but that’s about it.  He has little to offer the masses regarding the current economic/constitutional crisis.  He peaked back in the 90s.

Gingrich… another guy who peaked back in the 90s.  He’s damaged goods, showing an appalling lack of judgment in his personal life as well as in his public life.

Romney… elitist northeastern Republican who—SURPRISE!—is the choice of the party establishment (and HEY—did you hear he’s currently far ahead of everyone else in New Hampshire?).  No matter how much he tries to pass himself off as a conservative, the fact remains that the voters of Massachusetts would not have chosen him as their governor if he was as conservative as he’s pretending to be now.  Outside the northeast, the GOP base isn’t really buying what he’s selling.  Plan B: spend tons of money in an attempt to drown out the true conservatives.

Giuliani… not much different from Romney.  I seriously doubt that he will jump in, because he’d be competing for Romney’s base, along with a few others who remember favorably his strong leadership in the weeks following 9/11.  He has little to offer that Romney isn’t already offering.  Oh, and Romney already got his hands on the campaign donations of those who might be persuaded to vote for Giuliani.

Paul… I was actually a fan of his back in the 90s, when I sympathized greatly with his constitutionalist views.  Today, I still agree with him on many issues (mainly related to domestic policy), but he’s dangerously kooky on many other issues (mainly related to foreign policy).  In some ways, he’s become the Lyndon LaRouche of the right, drawing the conspiracy-obsessed fringe in like flies to fly paper.  I shudder at the thought of Mr. Paul being at the helm.  Even Romney would be preferable, and that’s a painful admission coming from me.

So, what do you think?  Feel free to make the case for your favorite or against my favorite(s), but if you do, please keep it civil.


Ken Goheen said...

Ron Paul is an isolationist. While I agree his foreign policy is, well "foreign", the truth is he really cannot change a lot of the overseas commitments that we have. No newly elected president has ever made drastic foreign policy changes for one simple reason - treaties and other commitments are things not easily changed or broken. We need someone who will focus more on our domestic problems and you cannot deny that he has a better grasp on that than anyone else by far. While he may be "weird Uncle Ron" to many people, he certainly doesn't deserve a -5 on your ratings scale. He's right on one foreign policy issue - the United States cannot continue to be the world's "policeman".

Tim said...

Whatever his virtues on domestic policy (and again, this is where I agree the most with him), I think he has next to zero chance of getting even a GOP-led Congress to cooperate with him. Of all of the candidates, I think Perry and Romney would have the most success as arm-twisters.

On foreign policy, even if he can't implement his dangerously naive ideas there, it seems that he would burn many bridges that should remain.