Friday, March 25, 2011

Blunt Opinions on the 2012 GOP Presidential Field

In 2008 I learned my lesson: it's never too early to start examining GOP presidential candidates and to offer my take on winners and losers. The last thing we need in 2012 is an incoherent ('Heh, my friends...'), wish-washy "maverick" who is unmoored from the Constitution.

So I'm sure this take is going to piss off a lot of folks. Tough.

In reverse order of desirability -- using the 10-point must system -- the field is:

Jon Huntsman [1 point] - Who? The former ambassador to China, appointed by Barack Obama, was the media's attempt at marketing a Republican presidential nominee. His liberal track record, combined with his Obama affiliation, make him a non-starter for anyone right of Kathy Griffin.

Ron Paul [1 point] - The once-obscure Texas Congressman has made headlines over the last few years with his attempts to audit the Federal Reserve (okay), his Leftist youth supporters (not okay), his isolationist foreign policies (really not okay), and his tacit acceptance of 9/11 Trutherism (absolutely unacceptable). Echoing Dennis Kucinich's calls for Obama's impeachment (over a supposed violation of the unconstitutional "War Powers Act" - MP3) seals the deal.

Donald Trump [2 points] - The uber-successful real estate tycoon appears to have a single mission: promoting the Donald. His campaign contributions to Chuck Schumer, Anthony Weiner and other Leftists are troubling on their own. But combined with his refusal to entertain questions from conservative media, his campaign has the makings of a publicity stunt, not the effort of a serious GOP candidate.

Mike Huckabee [2 points] - Sorry, folks, but Huckabee is -- in the words of Ann Coulter -- "the evangelical liberals like." In 2008 Huckabee was marketed by the media in ways no real conservative would have ever enjoyed. Why? Because Huckabee was unelectable in the general election, seeing as how his prior positions were largely indistinguishable from those of Barack Obama. His awful track record on illegal immigration, global warming, higher taxes, crime and parole are, to say the least, ominous. Constitutional conservative? Hardly.

Chris Christie [3 points] - The New Jersey governor has the best YouTube cameraman in the business following him around. His candid exchanges with teachers and other union members are posted immediately on the video-sharing website and have garnered widespread attention. Receiving less attention, however, is his odd refusal to join the 30 states fighting Obamacare in the courts. Then add in his past support for global warming legislation, gun control, amnesty for illegal aliens, and erstwhile RINOs Mike Castle and Meg Whitman. To make matters worse, Christie recently launched thinly veiled attacks on Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh. The governor has some wonderful YouTube moments, but he appears to be miles way from the kind of conservative that Reagan would have embraced.

Mitch Daniels [4 points] - We don't know if Indiana's popular governor is running or not, but one would certainly expect an attempt. Daniels is marketed as a "Reagan Republican", but he joined that administration very late in the game and served as a key aide to RINO Dick Lugar for many years. In his speech at CPAC, Daniels' split-brained message suggested that conservatives abandon social principles to concentrate on fiscal issues. Uhm, why? And his bizarre advocacy of VAT taxes and cuts in defense spending should trouble every Republican.

Newt Gingrich [5 points] - Is there a smarter candidate from either party than the former Speaker? I think not. But even putting aside his bumbling campaign kickoff, Gingrich's well-documented personal foibles and collaboration with Nancy Pelosi on 'climate change' advocacy are problematic indeed.

Tim Pawlenty [5 points] - The Minnesota governor is, in on the national scene, somewhat of a cipher. Minnesotans know, however, that T-Paw supported boondoggles like light rail, universal health care, price controls for drugs, 'green energy' programs, a Sharia-compliant home ownership program and the use of stimulus money to facilitate rampant deficit spending. On the plus side, he's offered consistent, strong support for immigration enforcement.

Haley Barbour [5 points] - The Mississippi Governor is ineligible to run for another term in his state. A social and fiscal conservative, Barbour's main problem is his lengthy career as a lobbyist and political operative. Update: 'So Long, Haley.'

Herman Cain [6 points] - A highly successful businessman, Cain is credited with helping to defeat Hillarycare, the Clinton administration's run at socialized medicine. A Tea Party favorite, Cain appears to have true conservative credentials but is largely unknown outside of the cognoscenti.

Rand Paul [7 points] - The newly elected Senator from Kentucky appears to be a true Constitutional conservative. He's been brave enough, for example, to offer massive budget cuts -- in the trillions -- to address the catastrophic Pelosi-Obama-Reid budget deficit. His most problematic issue is one that plagues his father: an isolationist foreign policy that seems to downplay the threats that America faces around the globe.

Rick Santorum [7 points] - The former Senator from Pennsylvania is a social conservative who has been rock solid on illegal immigration. He helped lead the successful 1996 Welfare Reform Act, assisted in exposing the abuse of the Congressional Bank, supported Mitt Romney over John McCain in 2008, and consistently backed a robust armed forces effort against Islamofascism. One negative mark: losing his reelection campaign in 2006, though a concerted national Democrat and legacy media effort contributed mightily to his loss.

Mitt Romney [7 points] - The 2008 Presidential candidate has but one major issue dogging him: his Massachusetts version of Obamacare, which has proven much more costly and much less efficient than anticipated. A former missionary and successful businessman, Romney has proven to be a solid executive, helping to rescue the troubled 2002 Olympiad from fiscal ruin and transforming it into a profitable venture.

John Bolton [8 points] - the former Ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton is a foreign policy expert and an eloquent advocate for a strong national security posture. Having served in the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 administrations, Bolton seems to embrace true "Constitutional conservative" principles that underpin his personal philosophy.

Michele Bachmann [9 points] - The first female Republican elected to Congress by Minnesotans, Bachmann has a strong conservative track record. The founder of the Tea Party Caucus opposed the bank bailouts, socialized medicine, global warming and/or climate change (whatever it's called these days), the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, and other Democrat initiatives that threaten the Constitution. Her outspoken support for conservative values have made her a Tea Party favorite.

Sarah Palin [10 points] - John McCain's 2008 running mate was the target of some of the most vicious character assassination attempts in modern political history. After an exceptional track record as a local official, mayor, and then governor, Palin was tarred as "inexperienced" and "stupid", though her resume far surpassed that of the Democrat presidential candidate. Post-election, a series of 18 frivolous lawsuits, most launched by Democrat political operatives, threatened to bankrupt her and her family. She resigned the governorship and began raising money for Tea Party-backed conservative candidates in 2010, arguably becoming the primary rainmaker in the historic GOP landslide. Palin's charismatic appeal, plain-spoken American values and love of country make her a favorite for conservatives and a huge target for Democrats and legacy media, who appear terrified by her amazing popularity.

Others: Marco Rubio and Allen West would be conservative favorites if they ever decide to throw their hats in the ring. At this point, it seems they will serve Florida in the Senate and House, respectively.

Who did I miss? Where was I off-base? Let the flame-wars begin!

Linked by: Ace o' Spades. Thanks!


Will said...

One note on Romney....he's got a poor record on gun control. Something to take note of as I think Romney will get the nod.

The_Bad said...

"John McCain's 2008 running mate was the target of some of the most vicious character assassination attempts in modern political history."

Past tense?

I mostly agree with your assessments, but I have to wonder if the target on Palin is simply too big.

Unfortunately, I see no Ronald Reagan standing in the field. To a certain degree, I wish someone like Michael Reagan would run.

Romney seems to be the likely frontrunner which concerns me. As noted by you and by Will in these comments, he has a troublesome record with being a little bit too left-of-center. However, the same was said of Reagan.

Our real come-to-Jesus moment here tends not to be, "who do I like the most?" more than it is, "who has the best chance to win?" We simply cannot survive another term under the current administration ... there are serious doubts that we'll survive the current term.

How about you, Doug? I'd vote for ya.

Unknown said...

Well written, about the order I would have picked. One more bonus point for Sarah Palin, she had had everything including her kitchen sink thrown at her already. There can hardly be an October surprize in her future, what more could the marxists insult her with? And, she's probably used to it by now; like water off a duck's back, she will ignore it with ease. Please help save this country Sarah.

ck said...

Herman Cain would make a great VP for Sarah.

Mmatters said...

Doug, very nice job.

It won't surprise you that my only disagreement is on Mitt Romney, who is a 0.5 at best and would be a disastrous presidential candidate, and (I'm serious) conceivably worse than Barack Obama.

I urge anyone who is even thinking about taking Romney seriously to read the following:
November 2010 -- Not This Mitt Again
December 2007 -- Romney's Unfitness to Be President

Tom Blumer

Anonymous said...

Palin, Bachman and Bolton! This is right on the $$$$$Great job!Doug!

Anonymous said...

I can't really quibble with your list as it very very closely resembles my own.

Anonymous said...

Rick Santorum is comes across as a closet case. His obsession with homosexuality and bestiality borders on sick.

= Burgerman

Mike aka Proof said...

You forgot to mention Newt's disastrous backing of thinly veiled liberal "Dede" Scozzafava in NY 23.

I think you also underestimate the damage done to Romney by Obamacare Lite in Massachusetts. Conservatives want to dismantle it. Romney has a hard time distinguishing it from what he helped foist on MA.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Mitt Romney will never win over the Tea Party. He's a GOP/GOB luxury item that may have been affordable 15 years ago, but is too costly today.

Enough with the politcians; we need a Statesman. That necessarily negates anyone put forth by the RNC.

Anyone with smarts will go with the Palin choice. She's the only one the Left fears, which tells me she's the only un-bought politician in the arena.

wv confirms: uright

Anonymous said...

You gave both Mitt and Santorum too high a score. While Rick hasn't a prayer, Romney has a good shot and if he gets it, I quit. I'm sick to death of these GD RINOs and I'd just as soon let the whole she-bang come tumbling down ASAP rather then the slow death a Romney presidency would bring about.

If that's what it's going to take, than eff it, let's get to it.

Michelle and John Bolton also don't have a prayer but the one true blue conservative, who has been out there, with us, in the trenches for the past 2 years, taking an unending stream of arrows is Sarah Palin.

The fact she's not our run away contender says a lot about how the left dominated media is really living in so many heads on our side.

Hands doen, this woman scares the crap out of the left. Why the hell do you think they've unleashed the most vicious and vile attacks against her? Because she's a no body that they could care less about?? C'mon, the frigging left is telegraphing their worst fear about who they don't want running.

She is the one realistic candidate that will get in President Motown's face and hold him accountable for this disaster. Honestly, do you see Romney or Pawlenty with the balls that Palin has??? Get real.

You're dead on Doug, it's Sarah.

SirKnob said...

Excellent Mr. Ross. Your thoughts mirror mine, though you are much better at producing them in context :-)

I often here people on the right lamenting that Ms Palin's negatives are too high. Well? A bit part of that is our problem for not defending the truth and not attacking the lies.

Ms. Palin can win. Heck, even with the liberal media support, and with the right VP she can do what President Reagan did to President Carter and take over 400 electoral votes.

I would love to see Senator Rubio or Congressman West on the ticket as a VP, however, Mr. Bolton is more Palinish when it comes to handling the media. Like her, he will not roll over or fear media attacks, he will simply reload and fire back.

Palin/Bachman can win, but it will be a slugfest.

Palin/Bolton would win and win big.

Palin/West would throw the liberals into an unsurvivable tail spin.

David said...

I'd vote for Palin, but I don't think anyone alive would do a better job of motivating the Democrats.

I promised myself in 08 that I would never again hold my nose in the voting booth, and I meant it. I have a sinking feeling that we are going to get stuck with either Romney or Huckabee,....I'll stay home.

Why is it so hard to believe that there is any inefficiency in the military? For all of its good aspects, it is a government beaurocracy, is as wastefull as the rest and like them all, needs an occasional weeding. Don't believe me? Just ask a soldier....

Daniels is right, discussing social issues right now is the equivalent of (as someone recently put it) "arguing over the bar tab on the Titanic". It is ALL about spending and debt right now. Nothing else matters.

Rhymes With Right said...

Doug, you left one factor out of your equation -- electability. Do you REALLY believe that Palin or Bachmann are electable? I know that bringing up that minor detail sends the more idealistic faction of the Tea Party into conniption fits, shouting about "RINOs" and "Establishment Republicans", but that is because they fail to take into account that LOSING means that the other side gets to enact even more policies they dislike and do greater damage to the country. Case in point -- is America better off today with Barack Obama in office than we would have been with President McCain?

Let's face it -- Romney, Pawlenty, and Daniels could win, while my personal preference (Bolton) is a better choice for VP or Secretary of State. It is great to talk "purity", but all that gets you in politics is a warm feeling inside while the country goes to hell around you.

Francis W. Porretto said...

My sole quibble is with your contention that Gingrich is the Brainiac of the field. Someone as smart as all that shouldn't have made so many career-limiting moves, nor should he have caved before Bill Clinton when the GOP commanded a majority in both houses of Congress.

Anonymous said...

My ideal ticket would be Palin/Cain.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I can't really quibble with your list as it very very closely resembles my own."


VaGal said...

I agree with you---except for Romney. Romneycare and his continued defense of it is a deal breaker. Obamacare is still at the top of the list of concerns for taxpayers. He is a (losing) re-tread from 2008 and from Taxachussetts. I would switch his position with Cain's on your list. Even Saul Alinsky admitted that only conservatism can beat his system and that's who we need in this election---a true conservative.

Anonymous said...

We need to save John Bolton for Secretary of State.

VaGal said...

Oh, and one more point on Romney. In my opinion, when the left is pushing someone as a good Republican candidate (ie the NYT, James Carville, etc.) that means they think he's beatable or at least he is someone they could "live with". If I recall correctly, they liked McCain. OTH, when they use their resources to attack, that is the one they fear. But, hey, he's got good hair and looks good in a suit.

Just a conservative girl said...

I think you are underestimating Cain. How many people heard of Obama this point in the cycle in 07? Not very many.

I just don't see Palin being electable. She will mobilize the left. They are becoming more and more disillusioned with Obama. Palin will change that in a heartbeat.

I also don't see Bolton as being electable. He is very hawkish and too many people will think he will just bomb everywhere.

I honestly don't know who is electable at this point. Possibly Daniels or Pawlenty.

Anonymous said...

Define "Electable"?

If "Electable" is defined by poll numbers then Ronald Reagan's landside disputes the definition that "Electable" means the one who has the highest poll numbers before the campaign began.

Heck, Rudy Guiliani was determined the most "Electable" yet when he entered the race he wasn't even found on the campaign radar.

No one can determine who is "Electable" until after the candidate enters the race.

Pre-determining who is "Electable" before a candidate enters the race is the losers way of losing elections

Anonymous said...

"It is ALL about spending and debt right now. Nothing else matters."

If this is true why is Sen Scott Brown rejecting his own campaign promise to cut spending and debt by promising to maintain Planned Parenthood's Big Government goodies?

Scott Brown campaigned on fiscal conservatism-he won that MASS seat on that promise-yet he is full of Bullcrap.

How will Tobacco Taxman-Mitch Daniels be any more fiscally conservative than Sen Scott Brown?

Anonymous said...

Palin and West!

Ther Dems might select Christie and

AJ said...

Your list is pretty right on. I might put Herman Cain higher, if only because i think he much more desirable than Romney on many issues. Semi-unknown as he is, in the age of new media, all it takes is a good youtube video or some website press to get the name recognition snowball rolling....

Definitely agree that Sarah Palin is #1. The more i hear her speak, the more i get excited about a Palin candidacy. She may be the female Reagan.

Good job putting Huckabee at the bottom. I hate that guy and think it would be the end of the GOP if he were to win the nomination. I throw up in my mouth every time i hear his name.

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook said...

Excellent kickoff for November 2012. To Newt I'll add that he is the driving force behind putting our medical records online.

Mitt has said he will not criticize his own government health care plan. To me, that means he will not defund ObamaCare. This is a huge mistake on his part.

I believe Huck and McCain ganged-up to get Romney out of the race. With the help of the media it worked. Romney would have had presented Obama with a significant challenge in 2008 - not so much today.

Christie is trying diligently and stubbornly to put a Muslim on the state Supreme Court.

Too bad Santorum has so little flair. He can't seem to get anyone to notice he's "here" and about as conservative as they come. There are no negatives for him other than being politically invisible. Considering that, he would be a great VP candidate.

West has said he will consider a Vice-presidential nomination. I would take him in a minute. Can you imagine how we could take this country back to the Constitution with either Palin or Bachmann with West or Santorum as Veep?


Old Fan said...

Low expectations might be the best thing for all, as the hype is self destructive. The assessment above regarding Mrs. Palin, fails to accurately study her record. One of the genuine reasons why the Maverick wanted her, was her RINO - moderate reformer efforts prior to becoming a Celebrity. Sarah Palin once provided populist Tax Increases on Oil Companies in Alaska, raising the cost of living for all. She also built 'Climate Panel' bureaucracy in the Alaskan Government.

The big joke is, if Ronald Reagan were actually available today as a successful two term Governor of CA, he would be rejected by the fashion as being a "RINO". If some actually bothered to study his record, they might be shocked. Management-leadership-conservatism is simply a different game, vs. the hype some have provided today. We all need a return of a healthy WFB on the scene.

The overt hype and fashion – a lack of honesty about the facts – is simply not conservative. Perhaps created by many needing acceptance and attention amongst our own side, instead of promoting sound conservative insight. Ironically, Mrs. Palin eagerly embraced the Maverick Platform - one of the most absurd offerings of all time for the GOP, which included Cap and Tax insanity and apologist folly for US military force. The fan fare is decidedly not conservative, and far too many are simply exploiting the fashion for personal gain (book sales are a great incentive). Having Mrs. Palin abandon the Governorship to sell Celebrity was a huge warning sign. Watching serious Governors like Brewer, Jindal, Christie, Barbour, Daniels, etc., doing the real job, quickly revealed the vacancy of the Celebrity offering.

This fashionable identity game has crushed the credibility of so many (like Levin), just as the reactionary nonsense did after 2004. Laughably, some are buying into Huckabee (someone who taxed and spent more than Clinton in the same state over the same tenure - with a nightmare pardon record). This is a joke for our conservative side.

The overt anti-GOP sentiment has only made matters worse. All of the sophistry has aided the exact opposite, enabling the disastrous Democratic Party. Do some still buy into the fantasy that these two Parties are the same? Pelosi is the same as Ryan? Please... Only a short time ago, the fashion pushed a disaster in Delaware, a failure in Miller (whose record predictably did not match the hype), an utter flop in Angle. Mrs. Palin and others who play the fashion, helped weaken the effort to stop the disastrous Democratic Partisan Machine. This same fashion once foolishly considered Mr. Christie as a mere RINO and called GW a 'traitor'.

I will wager the upcoming GOP Nominee will upset many stuck on fashion. The ticket will probably end up this time with someone who has a genuine-proven CEO background, who did not abandon an Office to peddle Celebrity. The Nominee will probably not fit the stereotypical myth of today's hype. Hopefully we will have a capable, experienced, stable offering, unafraid of a challenging interview, who can debate without a Teleprompter or a notes written on their hands. Someone who is not a pure fantasy product of today’s conservative fashion game. We simply cannot afford another O'Donnell disaster. I have given up on any Uniting of the good side of history today. The future GOP Nominee will see a misguided few push a third party flop, but most likely, cooler heads will eventually prevail as they did in NJ recently. Most Americans have been reminded of just how bad the Democratic Party is again. My instincts are as intense as when I so strongly opposed McCain. This time Independents will perhaps save the fashionable amongst our own side from themselves in the upcoming Primary for 2012. The same INDYs who foolishly helped empower McCain in the past, will prove sane today. We shall see...

Anonymous said...

Someonecactually said that Palin has too big of a target on her back at this point?? Thisvargument makes me CRAZY!! The media did this to her and you want to give up on her because of it. GREAT IDEA! Lets let the media pick our nominee for us. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG??? Are you crazy?? We should have a fraction of the gutsvSarah has shown over the past two and a half years and support her..not run because the media told us to!!

dr kill said...

1. That's not the way the 'Ten Point Must' system works.

2. Santorum? Bwaaaahahahahahahahaha

K~Bob said...

Doug, you are gonna be in so0Oo0O much trouble with the right-o-sphere over this.

Good job! The right-o-sphere is like the The Prizzi's: "They don't always have to win."

Palin is the most electable of the lot. All of the "safe" candidates are like condoms over Conservatism.
MSM: "You got your safes?"
GOP: "Yeah, baby"
MSM: "Then let's have some fun!"

I'm writing her in, regardless of the Primary outcome. Anyone else want to take that pledge?

luagha said...

Women hate Palin because she threatens them.

The christian conservatives are turned off by Romney's mormonism. Romney needed to personally win over the James Dobson types and get them actively pushing him, and at that he failed. Without that, he's a loser.

Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with Mr. Ross' assessments. What I find remarkable is how cowed conservatives seem to be by the prospect of voting for Sarah Palin. I'm sitting here watching from Canada and wondering when you will all realize it's gut check time if you want to save that country of yours.

I believe Palin is exactly the one to stand up to Obama.

MisterMoney said...

Sorry, you needed to add another choice to the poll, None Of The Above, or NOTA for short, as in NOTA one of them can or will win on their merits.

In 2012, the Republicans will have the benefits of redistricting and this is a huge advantage in the national elections. R guys will likely pick up more seats in both houses, but not having a strong top candidate will offset this advantage. The Democratic Candidate for President in 2012 will have strong momentum, a huge pile of money, organized support of the unions and the other liberal groups. Don't be fooled by rhetoric, the "D" base will coalesce. Count on it.

It is a question of who can win, not who can get the nomination, and we need to understand that. Many independents will likely vote not for a candidate, but against one, and the current President wil get his share of "against the incumbent" votes ONLY if the Republicans have a viable candidate running.

If anyone is looking over the horizon, let us know if you spot a dark horse, because even though it should be a milk run for the Republican candidate, there is no "R" slam dunk in 2012.

crossposted at ACE....

Conservative Pup said...

Sarah Palin is the only real electable potential candidate out there. She presents a clear and unapologetic stark difference to Obama and his progressive/leftist/marxist agenda. She is the most vetted person active in politics today, and we know for a fact that she will not wither under attack, and that there is nothing we don't already know about her.

For those who think she will be attacked by the media too much to win: make NO mistake--the media and the organized Left will relentlessly attack ANYONE who runs in 2012 on the GOP ticket for president. They will do this with fervor and dishonesty. Palin has been under this kind of attack for 2 1/2 years, it's of no consequence for her. We can't say that about any of the other contenders.

Thanks Doug for sharing your list with us. Very similar to my own, though I too would have put Romney lower and Herman Cain higher. I think a Palin/West or Palin/Cain ticket would be brave, an honest reflection of our conservative principles, and would absolutely tear up the left. They would be so panicked they wouldn't be able to think clearly.


Conservative Pup said...

One other thing we must remember:

the organized Left will NEVER reveal their true thoughts and feelings to us. So when they run around all over the place claiming that "Palin would be our dream candidate to run, that would be a gift," they are not stating what they actually believe. They're bluffing because they know that if she runs, they are done.