Pres. Obama has already lost the next presidential election as far as thinking people right and left are judging. It does not mean that Republicans will win. The GOP has to run with an electable candidate.
The field of Republican presidential candidates is becoming more readable, I think. Here is my summary.
Herman Cain is very likable and he speaks clearly about his genuinely conservative program. Besides, he looks like a president and women will love his manly manners. That’s not enough to get him elected or to make him electable. Americans will not vote to make president anyone who was not previously elected to something. No amount of good business experience will make up for this. (And Cain, has plenty of that.)
Newt Gingrich is a completely clear conservative. No one explains better than he does the main practical points of a conservative programs for 2012. Unfortunately, no one likes him, I think. There are good reasons to, including his unprincipled flirtations with government support for ethanol.
Gov. Perry lost it all in the last presidential debate. There is no way he can make up for it. He was facing the test of his life with Gov. Romney and he came to the test without having studied. He was not prepared. It’s not a default of knowledge as some pretend, it’s a character fault.
Romney is equal to himself. He is reasonably likable in a sort of metrosexual way. He carries a lot of baggage, including his Mass. health program he has never either really defended nor apologized for. That’s a lot of baggage, especially in 2012 because Obamacare, cousin to the Mass. plan, will be a number one reason to reject Pres. Obama. No one knows for sure whether Gov. Romney is a conservative by today’s standard.
Note: If I turn out to be wrong, it’s going to be about Gov. Romney. He may just be the half-way candidate where the Republican Party voters meet. I sure hope not.
Congresswoman Bachman is another Great Woman’s Hope in the ring. She is clearly a conservative and she is likable in a weird sort of way. (Rearing all those foster children surely was not pretend work.) Politically, though, she is not serious. She said something big-time wrong on the occasion of the second debate, about vaccinations. She will never recover. Here is a the rule of thumb: You may stumble when someone else hands you a question, especially when it’s an enemy handing you a trap question. (I am reminded of Gov. Palin being asked perversely what she thought of the “Bush Doctrine.” I would have flunked too.) You may not, however, tell falsehoods on a topic you, yourself chose. It matters little whether you are lying or merely ignorant. I am not even sure which one I prefer.
Ron Paul sounds like he whines. It may not be his fault. I could be like Pres. Bush’s alleged smirk, just a physical thing with no intention behind it. Paul will always get some support because there are significant numbers of loyal Libertarians who wish to work within the Republican Party. He will never get much more support because they, the Libertarians, don’t dupe anyone. Their isolationism in foreign policy is perceived as a lack of patriotism. (Full disclosure: I am a libertarian – small “l” – who is a registered Republican. I am struggling with the inherent contradiction between libertarianism and the necessary American armed stance. See my recent essays on the topic: “Libertarian Military Isolationism: Forward All with Eyes Tightly Shut,” “The Libertarian Project and American Military Power. “ )
Congressman Paul declared in the second debate that the armed forces spend 20 billion dollars (US D 20,000,000,000) annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan. See the rule of thumb above. Like many ideological purists, he will come to believe just about anything that seems to support his ideology.
Then, there is what’s his name who stated categorically in a debate that, “ 97 % of climate scientists” believe in man-made global warming. You can’t say that. It’s dogmatically stupid. If it were true, we would not know it and therefore, no one can affirm it. The man sounds a little stupid, perhaps because he answers before he thinks. Bad trait for a president. Forget him.
And then, there is the other what’s his name whose sole contribution thus far is a good wisecrack about dogs and shovel-ready jobs.
Gov. Christie of New Jersey keeps insisting he is not running. He is not the mincing type. I think he is telling the truth.
It all does not ad up to much, so far. Time to get excited.