The current outlook for the GOP presidential nomination is unclear, with a large number of possible candidates that seem to divide into distinct groups. First there are the reruns and establishment candidates that include Palin, Romney, Gingrich and Huckabee,. They poll well due to name recognition but all have serious flaws that make them poor choices to challenge Obama and his billion dollar juggernaut. The left wing is enjoying the polls dominated by these sure losers, just as they cheered McCain’s campaign-before they attacked him.
The Tea Party phenomenon tells us that the old school ties will be detrimental to those who ran and lost in 2008. Palin will never be able to overcome the big negatives. McCain ruined her political career. Even Michele Bachmann may be impacted by the anti-Palin venom. Romney does not appear willing to turn his Massachusetts health care blunder into a positive by declaring it a failed experiment-even Obama attacked him for it this week. Gingrich is considered to be a daunting intellect but just recently voiced support of ethanol subsidies. His appearance on a couch with Nancy Pelosi is a perfect TV ad against him. Huckabee is not a serious candidate as long as he is under contract with Fox News. Now he’s taken the “Murphy Brown” approach and attacked Natalie Portman and unwed celebrity pregnancies. I agree with Huck on this one; teenage single mothers in particular are a huge problem. That said, this is not something you want to make a signature issue while the economy continues to struggle.
For many of these political celebrities the rumor of a campaign is something they want to keep alive as they sell books and make their TV appearances. When they officially announce they’re not running they are suddenly not so interesting anymore.
There are the governors like Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty that are testing the waters to see if their states’ successes can propel them onto the national stage. Barbour projects the wrong image against Obama. To deny this is to deny that the Democrats will stoop to any level and the race card is just too easily played here. Daniels has a serious charisma deficit, voiced support for the VAT, and his state’s health care solutions are troublesome when analyzed. Pawlenty is a candidate who must craft a dynamic message to draw attention and separate from the pack. He will focus on his fiscal record. Charles Krauthammer thinks this could be the year that charisma takes a back seat. Sadly too many American voters are just too shallow.
Lastly we have the not-ready for prime time players, deemed too young or too recently elected to the national level post that gave them recognition. Chris Christie leads here with Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal right behind. All but Christie will surely wait. Christie is adamant that he is not running. Perhaps he can be drafted. Ann Coulter has articulated this by saying he will run “because his country needs him.” It is not too early for Christie but the media will not give him a pass they way they did Obama after just 2 years as Senator.
I expect most of these pretenders to drop out sooner rather than later. The campaign requires early commitment and lots of money-money that will want to back an eventual winner. Polling will force Palin out and I believe Huckabee as well. GOP primary voters should reject Romney in favor of an opponent with free market credentials who is willing to confront the stark realities facing the nation. It is too late for Romney to become that person-and flip flopping won’t fly.
When the pretenders are removed I think we’ll see Pawlenty give Romney a run for his money.
Obama is vulnerable to say the least. The Presidency is there for the taking. Even disillusioned Democrats will jump over for the right candidate. With the current front runners so riddled with flaws this nomination can be seized by a surprise candidate-if the message is right.
Here is a policy outline to work from: LINK