I said early on I didn't want a safe choice for 2012. Well, now that unsafe choice has gotten to the point where I can no longer stand behind him. It's not just the claims, it's the fact that Cain has been unable to run a functional campaign. Cain's draw was that he was an outsider who was going to surround himself with the right people. The way he's run his campaign has shown that he's unable or unwilling to surround himself with the right people. So, what of the other candidates? As the title of the post implies, I'm undecided and let me tell you why.
Bachmann - Michele is pretty good on fiscal issues, but comes across as a kook. Why? Well, when you imply 9-9-9 is the sign of the devil, you've pretty much made yourself written off.
Huntsman - Huntsman has a pretty solid platform. He has a solid tenure as Governor, but governed as far to the left as was possible in the state of Utah. Other problems? He keeps poking conservatives in the eye with specifically targeted comments (ex "I believe in science") and the fact that he was running for President (or planning to) while serving as Ambassador to China is upsetting to me. I've discussed this at length before. This bugs me, seriously. I could vote for him in the general, but I won't in the primary.
Johnson - Gary Johnson has an excellent record as governor. He founded a 1 man company that turned into the biggest construction firm in New Mexico, which is far more impressive than the experience of a lot of different candidates. That said, he's pro-choice, he's known as the "pot" candidate, and is unable to raise money. At all. Johnson can't get the nomination because no one has given him the chance and he's unable to raise any funds.
Mitt - Romney has an incredible ground game, is focused on Obama, a decent campaigner, and has the same type of business experience I loved in Herman Cain. The problem? Inconsistent on fiscal issues and Masscare. Both of which led me to not vote for him in 2008, and it's part of the reason I'm still undecided on him now. Also, I frankly don't know if I can trust him. He comes across as disingenuous to me and in the debates came across as condescending. Then again, Obama's always condescending. So, I could still vote for him, but again - undecided.
Newt - Newt is a fascinating candidate. Great debater, former Speaker of the House who helped lead the country in the right direction (pun intended) on fiscal issues and led to serious national reform. But he's on his third wife with a history of infidelity and he's been inconsistent historically on fiscal issues. He's a brain power is unmatched, but as I said - inconsistent on fiscal issues. So, I could vote for him - but still undecided.
Paul - I will not vote for Ron Paul in the primary. Ever. Even if he's the only one left in the primary. In that case, I would write in George H.W. Bush.
Perry - Perry has some great experience. He was a pretty solid Governor of Texas. 40% of the jobs created in the US in the past 2 years were created in Texas - that's hard to overlook. That said, Perry is a terrible debater which could be awful against Obama in the general election. Also, there's the Texas DREAM Act, which as a strong opponent of it here in Maryland who supported the effort to put it on the ballot / overturn it - this is a problem. Deal breaker? No, but an issue for me. Again, I'm undecided on Perry in the primary - but of course would vote for him in the general election.
Santorum - I actually don't mind Rick Santorum. But, he couldn't win reelection in Pennsylvania. He comes across angry and agitated in every single debate. He is inconsistent on fiscal issues. And, frankly, his active campaigning for future turncoat Arlen Specter is disappointing. Honestly, Santorum has very little money and does not have a clear path to the nomination. Also, his name is a filthy expression online that will be tough to combat should he get the nomination.
So, I'm back to being undecided. If the primary were held today, I'm not sure who I'd vote for when I got into the voting booth. Maybe Newt. Maybe Rick Perry. Maybe Romney - I'm not sure. What I do know is that I'm waiting to be wowed by the candidates.
Last night Bloomberg and the Washington Post held a debate only on economics. I watched the entire debate and decided to put together my thoughts. First, the debate overall was meh. The questions ranged from the okay to asinine. Many of them were so incredibly biased to sound more like Democratic talking points than serious questions about the economy. When our candidates are asked, "Do you think we should arrest people on Wall Street?" we need better moderators. Personally, I'd prefer we had a debate with moderators like Hugh Hewitt, Erick Erickson, and Kavon Nikrad. Why? They're conservatives who know about the issues asking questions to Republicans about the GOP primary. I think the three of them as moderators would be a solid choice, but fat chance that happening. So, I digress.
To make this easier, I'll go through each candidate individually:
Michele Bachmann - Bachmann had a so-so performance. She went from a great answer at the start, to insinuating that 9-9-9 was the mark of the beast. It was not funny and fell flat. She's trying to regain footing going after Cain, but then again - everyone was going after Cain. Bottom line was that her performance will not provide her with any momentum. She didn't stand out, she was just kind of there. Which is disappointing - cause her first debate performance was stand out.
Herman Cain - One of my followers on Twitter last night dubbed the debate "The 9-9-9 Debate." He's right. Much of the time was spent on the pro's and con's of 9-9-9. While Cain made some good points, he needs to provide us with his numbers. If he says it's revenue neutral, the media will want him to prove it. He says he had a study done - just provide it to the public. Simple as that. Overall, I think Can did fine. Considering he was under attack for a good chunk of the debate, Cain handled himself well. He had some good answers to some awful questions. He was a little too on point / schtick-y at times, but all-in-all this debate doesn't do substantial damage to his campaign. That said - his answer regarding TARP was not good. He needed to just say, "I was wrong on TARP..." and move on. I don't think Cain's ready to admit that he was wrong on even considering supporting TARP in the first place. Him and Romney are in the same boat on this question.
Newt Gingrich - Newt is an excellent debater. Period. This debate was no different. For some reason, though, Newt can not get any traction in polling. Excellent debate performances are not enough for Newt. He's also great at calling out the moderators for their bias. Newt would be an excellent VP choice for any candidate on the stage, or an excellent choice for a high level cabinet / advisory role. Newt just does not seem to ever have momentum in his favor.
Jon Huntsman - Besides a few awkward to awful jokes, Huntsman was not bad. He's focusing more on his record as Governor of Utah, which is a pretty good record. He did not stand out, which Huntsman needs to start doing if he wants to gain any traction. That said - if we're including Jon Huntsman in this debate, we need to include Gary Johnson. They poll the same nationally in most national polls, if Huntsman's included so should Johnson.
Ron Paul - Ron Paul is a big ball of talking points about auditing the Fed and loving the Constitution. He does not need specifics to make his supporters happy, he just needs to keep up the rhetoric. Ron Paul will not be the nominee.
Rick Perry - Perry had a better debate performance than last time. That said, it still was not a great performance. This debate did nothing to slow the recent drop in support Perry has seen in recent polling. In fact, it does nothing to really help Perry. Perry had a few solid answers and did a bit better at focusing nationally as opposed to on how awesome Texas is. Perry did promise an economic and environmental plan coming soon - I look forward to seeing that.
Mitt Romney - Romney did well. He seemed more relaxed in this debate setting; which is odd, considering everyone was ready to pounce on him and Cain throughout the debate. He handled the circular firing squad from his fellow competitors well. Romney continues to defend Masscare and TARP, which will not go over well with the more conservative voters in the primary. He, like Cain, just needs to say that TARP was a bad idea and move on. But, they won't. I know that many Republicans wanted to be supportive of our President when he proposed TARP, but Bush was wrong - and we need to be ready to say that now. Again, I think Romney did well.
Rick Santorum - Santorum had some decent answers, but to me he just came across as too aggressive and angry. I felt the same way after the last debate. It's not endearing and his comment under his breath that "You won't be President forever..." following Cain's defense of 9-9-9 was petty and childish.
Winners: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain - Both solidified their position as frontrunners in the eyes of their fellow competitors. They were treated as such. Bloomberg TV - How many of you watched Bloomberg TV before this debate? Me either. Newt Gingrich - He clearly was the best debater in the bunch, but he just can't generate any momentum.
Losers: Rick Perry - He didn't win this debate and he needed to, to help stave some of the loss of support.
Who do you think won that debate?
Cross posted to Race42012
So, I have a theory on the 2012 GOP Presidential primary that mirrors the 1992 Democratic Presidential primary. Here is my theory:
Mitch Daniels plays the role of Mario Cuomo - he's loved by insiders who really want him to run for President. But, he decides that he's uninterested in running for President that year against a seemingly unbeatable President.
Mitt Romney plays the role of Paul Tsongas - a New Englander who appears to have New Hampshire as a firewall. He also appears strong early on.
Herman Cain / Michele Bachmann playing the role of Jerry Brown - the strong candidates that play well to the base. They appeal to the base strongly, building on grass roots support.
Ron Paul as Lyndon LaRouche - No, I'm not saying that Ron Paul is anything like Lyndon LaRouche in his ideas or ideology. What I am saying is that he won't get the nomination, but has an incredibly strong, if tiny, base of support.
Rick Santorum / Newt Gingrich as also rans - I don't see either of them continuing past the Ames straw poll.
Gary Johnson may be Bob Kerrey - Winning in his home state, putting up an okay fight throughout - but never gaining enough traction to win the primary.
Jon Huntsman as a non-factor - I just don't see a base anywhere inside of the GOP for him if he seriously enters the race. He's a moderate in a year where serious moderacy is a scarlet letter. He wants a firewall of New Hampshire where he's not remotely the favorite. He won't win his home state, with Romney destroying him in polling there. He's a man without a base that I can really see.
Tim Pawlenty playing the role of Bill Clinton - the Governor of a state that generally goes the other way who talks economics in a way that can appeal to moderates.
In this scenario, Pawlenty wins the primary. Frankly, I think he can - and I think he may have the best shot of winning the primary of any of the candidates. His path to the nomination is looking clearer and his appeal seems to be growing the more he lays out details of his platform.
All that said, my entire analogy falls apart if the following people become factors:
- Rudy Giuliani - Giuliani throws off the entire analogy, if he runs a fierce and serious campaign. He will appeal to 2008 McCain primary voters looking for a candidate who will talk about fiscal issues. And if he puts up a serious fight in New Hampshire and does not ignore Iowa, Giuliani could be a serious contender. He's got a history of coming back out of nowhere - see his loss in 1989 for Mayor of New York before his victory against New York's first black Mayor during a recession in 1993.
- Sarah Palin - You'll notice that I don't include her in my discussion because, frankly, I don't see her as running. Therefore, she's a non-factor. BUT, if she runs - the entire makeup of the race changes. She takes support from Bachmann. She takes support from Pawlenty. She takes support from everyone and has an incredibly fierce support base. If she runs, she has a path to the nomination through Iowa and South Carolina. If she wins Iowa, she'll get an immediate boost as we move along the primary calendar and becomes a bigger factor, changing the entire dynamic.
- Rick Perry - Perry is an interesting candidate. He appeals to Tea Party conservatives, despite serving as Governor of a big state for nearly a decade. He talks the talk of a social conservative unabashedly. If he can put together a national campaign team, he could break into Bachmann, Cain, and even Pawlenty's base of support, thus shaking everything up entirely. He's a southern Governor in a field with only one high profile southern candidate (Cain). He could completely shake up the dynamic of the race - could do so very quickly and in ways that I don't even think I could predict.
- A Major Scandal - If any of the major candidates have a big scandal in their personal lives, they could quickly fall off the radar. Republican primary voters are far less forgiving than Democratic primary voters - who supported Clinton even after all his personal issues arose in 1992. That would not happen in a Republican primary. If a number of women said they've had affairs with Pawlenty, his support would plummet quickly. If Romney had a secret love child, his chances in the GOP primary would collapse immediately.
That's my theory and how my theory completely could collapse. Comments / opinions welcome.
A lot of people try to balance a Presidential ticket in some way, shape, or form. Be it by doubling down on youth and moderacy as Clinton did in 1992, appealing to the conservative grass roots as Bush did in 1988, or by adding an air of experience as Bush did in 2000 and Obama repeated in 2008. A balance of sorts is maintained by the overall ticket. As such, I have a few suggestions for a few of the main GOP 2012 contenders.
- Mitt Romney - There are two aspects to a running mate that I feel could seriously help Mitt Romney in 2012 - a Southerner Evangelical on the ticket. What person could add both of those items while doubling down on the concept of serious, competent executives working to help America? Herman Cain. In addition to adding Tea Party credentials, Cain doubles down on the private sector experience while adding a Southerner who knows how to talk to social conservative voters. The two of them combined could be a pretty powerful ticket.
- Herman Cain - Cain needs to add some foreign policy gravitas to the ticket. There are some seriously outside the box choices like David Petraeus or Colin Powell, but I doubt either would want to be on the 2012 ticket. I think an interesting choice could be Rudy Giuliani. It's not specifically that Giuliani has a wealth of foreign policy experience - he doesn't, he's the former Mayor of New York. That said, Giuliani adds something to the ticket - from his role in the campaign at ripping apart the competition (which he'd be great at), to adding political experience the equivalent to that of a Governor. He is also really good at talking foreign policy, Giuliani on the ticket could help in that regard in crafting a foreign policy platform and helping bring in leery foreign policy hawks to the fold. Another interesting choice for Cain? Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell has executive experience as Governor, knows how to run a problem solving campaign, and has 20 years experience in the US Armed forces. McDonnell is still a member of the US Army Reserves. McDonnell's wealth of military experience, experience in elected office, and ties to a potential swing state could be a huge boon to Cain's candidacy.
- Tim Pawlenty - I've heard Paul Ryan put out there as a potential running mate, but I personally like the idea of Pat Toomey. Toomey, the former Representative, former head of the Club for Growth, and current junior Senator from Pennsylvania, is an interesting choice. He's relatively young from a political perspective (50 this fall) and has unmatched fiscal conservative credentials. He could match the ticket in much the same way that Gore matched with Clinton - in this case, you've added federal experience that satisfies the base on fiscal issues while building on the pragmatic, truth telling conservative image Pawlenty is creating for himself. Then again - if Pawlenty really wants to expand and reach out to the conservative grassroots, a more interesting running mate is Jim DeMint. A Pawlenty / DeMint ticket would appeal to the pragmatic insiders and the conservative outsiders with a fascinating combination.
- Sarah Palin - Palin needs a running mate with perceived experience. Who could meet that image? Part of me likes Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Barbour has been a fairly solid Governor of Mississippi and would add a wealth of governing experience to the ticket. He also comes across as someone who the American public would be comfortable assuming the reigns as President should anything happen - which is important. Another interesting option is Mitch Daniels. Daniels has a wealth of experience in the Office of Budget Management and his two terms as Governor. He also could help bring back in the establishment types, many of whom are still pining for a white knight candidate to enter the fray.
- Michele Bachmann - Bachmann could use a Governor as her running mate. A Governor of more moderate temperate may be a good idea (example George Pataki), but an interesting choice is former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri. Carcieri is a fairly across the board conservative who won reelection in Rhode Island...in 2006. While Republicans were losing reelection across the country, Carcieri found out how to win in RI in 2006. Adding that executive experience plus proven ability to win in a blue state could be critical for Bachmann.
- Jon Huntsman - Huntsman needs a conservative superstar running mate. Jim DeMint could fit that bill and add the legislative experience that Huntsman lacks. That said, a fascinating choice for Huntsman could be Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is an Evangelical Christian, former preacher with Southern roots who knows retail politics. He can reach out to those socially conservative voters who may be wary of the former Obama Ambassador.
- Gary Johnson - Johnson or Ron Paul have the same issue - their libertarian leaning candidates who will need to find a way to bring back in social conservatives into the fold and assuage their concerns. As with Huntsman above, Mike Huckabee would be an interesting choice for his running mate - but I really don't see the two of them working well together. Honestly, I think Jim DeMint is an interesting choice for Johnson. DeMint and Johnson are not too far off on fiscal issues and DeMint would bring in those social conservatives wary of Johnson's views on social issues. They also geographically balance each other rather well.
- Ron Paul - I do not think Ron Paul will get the nomination. Period. That said, if he did...he needs a more traditional Republican running mate. I know, that's the reason that Ron Paul has his supporters - because he's so far outside of the norm. That said, to make sure that Republican voters continue to stick with Paul after he receives the nomination, he needs a more traditional running mate. I honestly think Paul should select a governor like Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney as his running mate, should he receive the nomination. As quirky as that ticket would sound, it would remove some of the doubts traditional Republicans while adding some much needed executive experience to the ticket.
- Rick Santorum - Rudy Giuliani. Seriously - his more moderate positions, executive experience, and ability to reach out to non-social conservative voters will be critical in the general election.
- Newt Gingrich - Newt will not get the nomination - in fact, I thoroughly expect him to drop out post-Ames. That said, if I'm wrong in my prediction - I think Gingrich should team up with Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty adds some needed executive experience to the ticket and can help build upon an ideas driven ticket. I think the two could, in the end, match up better than people would expect.
Thoughts welcome on my suggestions. Have better suggestions? Recommend them below.
Happy Tuesday. After the joys of Easter / Holy Week - it's back to the regular grind. And with that...here's some interesting links:
- First - Happy Birthday to the Sundries Shack. They're celebrating their 7th birthday on the blogosphere. Check out Jimmie's site and his link roundup.
- In Maryland, Tea Party activists are getting ready to fight against the MD DREAM Act. You can join in too, if you're interested, here.
- Late term abortionist LeRoy Carhart is being investigated by Maryland regulators. According to a complaint by Operation Rescue, Carhart did not list that he would be performing late term abortions on his application to the state of Maryland. Carhart left Nebraska for Maryland after Nebraska passed a law prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.
- Am I the only one still morbidly curious about Jimmy McMillan? No? Good. Well, the 2001 and 2005 Rent is too Damn High candidate for Mayor of NY and 2006 / 2010 candidate for Gov is now a Republican and running for President. He stopped by Quinnipiac University and gave a talk to a group of students. You can check out some of the highlight videos / pictures here.
- Speaking of 2012, libertarian-leaning former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson answered a number of questions on Twitter the other day. Josiah Schmidt of Race42012 compiled all his responses with links. Check them out - Johnson's an interesting candidate and has stated on a few occasions that a) he supports repeal of Roe v. Wade and b) he'd support any efforts to remove federal funding of abortions, even though he's a more pro-choice leaning politician. Check out the post.
- RightKlik reports that there's a storm a brewing in Europe. What kind of storm? Their own kind of "Tea Party."
- R.S. McCain has an interesting take on Barbour deciding not to run for President - it helps Herman Cain. Read the whole post, it's an interesting point and Cain, as you know, is an interesting candidate.
- Troy Stouffer wrote a very heart-felt post on his faith entitled, "What Will Wake You Up" that I recommend for any person of faith to read.
- It's official - at E3 Nintendo will be unveiling their next console, following up on their highly successful Wii. The console is slated for a 2012 release date.
- Ever wondered how they filmed the opening crawl in Star Wars? Here's a quick picture taken from the film set that pretty much says it all.
- Did you read the excellent Star Wars novel Heir to the Empire? I only did recently and I love it. With its 20th anniversary coming up, they've been revealing some behind the scenes comments from author Timothy Zahn. The most recent comment is posted at Lightsaber Rattling.
Have other links to recommend? Post them in the comments section!