I'll go through the declared and potential candidates here in short form. As the field gets more certain, I may devote a longer post to each of them, and their pros and cons, so my minions can form their own opinions, from mine.
In no particular order are the near certain or declared candidates (Links are to their official campaign sites):
- Herman Cain - Cain is an Atlanta native and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Pillsbury executive who was also a Federal Reserve Board Chairman (Kansas City). He hosted a local radio show here and was often a guest host on semi-Libertarian Neal Boortz's show. You may remember Cain as the executive who in 1994 asked Bill Clinton who he should lay off as a result of HillaryCare. He's a Tea Party favorite, a staunch fiscal conservative, and a social conservative, who happens to be black and devoid of elected experience. If you saw Cain on Fox News Sunday recently, you may have noticed foreign policy is not his forte'. I don't know what we can expect from him here, except that he's likely to stick with conservative principles - continue global war on terror, support for Israel, etc.
My opinion - I like Cain. A lot. He's a smart man, who thinks quickly, and has a homespun, folksy manner that really brings people in. On domestic issues, he is going to run rings around Obama and the democrats. Of course, that's pretty much true of all the candidates here, given they are not Keynesian fools, like Liberals. He is going to be a solid social conservative, and I think he'll surround himself with pros at Defense, and, I sense he might actually recognize the State Department is a mess and correct that.
What's not to like? Not too much. Some knock him for his lack of elected experience. He plays that into a plus, which I think it is, too. He demonstrated some "deer-in-the-headlights" looks in that first FNS interview when probed about Israel and "right of return" for the Palestinians. And, he wants to get in office, review the intelligence before proclaiming anything on Afghanistan. I don't think in this long election cycle, that he can continue that answer. He's also 65 years old. He doesn't look or act it, but, that's a little aged, especially for a cancer survivor. The pundits don't think he can draw much more of a crowd or money.
My prediction - Cain is going to do very well in Iowa, and be this year's Huckabee. It won't be enough to win the nomination, though.
- Mitt Romney - the current front runner is the consensus choice. I am hoping the consensus is wrong. I like Romney, I think he'd make a fine president, and a far, far, far better one than Obama. He'd bring competence and conservatism back to the White House. Let's take his biggest albatross first, RomneyCare. I don't think Romney has explained the Massachusetts law that he championed and signed well enough. I am ok with what he did there. He doesn't have to deal with the thorny Constitutional issues as a Governor, and, Massachusetts is about as Liberal as they come. The way I look at, that state got what it deserved. He says he'll repeal Obamacare, and replace it, and he may be actually,the best positioned Republican to actually get Independent voters to agree with him on that one. He can make the argument that he's worked with both sides on this issue, understands it, and knows that what may work in Massachusetts won't work nationally. Anyway, I think there's plenty of room for him to maneuver on this. RomneyCare hurts him with conservative GOP primary voters, but not with the rest of the country.
The bad? As one of those GOP primary voters, I will NOT vote in a GOP primary for someone who believes the climate change/global warming alarmists and their falsehoods. Romney has said he believes this crap, so, he will not be getting my vote in the primary. That's disqualifying for me.
My prediction - Skipping Iowa will keep expectations low there. Must win New Hampshire (and fairly handily). I predict he will not win, or will win weakly, and that will effectively end his campaign.
- Tim Pawlenty - the Minnesota governor has been running now almost as long as Romney, yet can't seem to get over 5% of GOP voters to admit he exists. Like Romney, he has solid executive experience in a Liberal state. Unlike Romney, he mostly governed as a conservative, and had success in Minnesota, winning re-election. He has outlined an ambitious and decidely supply-side economic plan that mixes tax rate changes and spending cuts to spur economic growth. While some of the assumptions may be rosy, they are not unattainable, and are a cure for our flailing economy. On foreign policy, I haven't seen a lot of him, but his positions are pretty much standard-fare mainstream conservative, and he's a strong social conservative.
The bad? Tim Who? Unfortunately, that's the question a lot of people are asking. Pawlenty is just invisible in this crowd. He needs a break-out in Iowa to get his name up, but, even though he was a popular governor in a neighboring state, he's not seeing much traction. It's a long way, but, he needs to get some visibility and do well there.
My prediction - I just don't know. I want T-Paw in the race for the duration. I think he'd be a great candidate, but, I just don't know if he can make it happen. I predict a decent Iowa showing, but will it be enough to keep his campaign afloat?
- Newt Gingrich - Ah, Newt, what have you done? Not a good sign when all your top advisers leave, or are shown the door. I realize Newt wants to wage a 'different' kind of campaign, and I know Newt has a lot of ideas. I'd like to see Newt stay in for a while to elevate the debate, and force the other candidates to elevate their game, too. Sadly, I don't know if he's even going to make it to Iowa. He seems to be self-destructing, and he's a very undisciplined candidate. He's with me on nearly every issue, but, in this crowd, so are a bunch of others.
The bad? A lot of bad with Newt. I think Newt's time passed a long time ago. I can't really forgive him for that PSA with Nancy Pelosi. It's like sitting with the devil. Also unforgivable, his statements on the Ryan budget plan. It's ok to not like elements of it, but, it's not right-wing social engineering. He has no real executive experience, and he is not a disciplined campaigner. He's too old, and 3 wives and his treatment of numbers 1 and 2, not great.
My prediction - Flameout and out of the race before 2011 is over.
- Ron Paul - Look, Paul is a nut. He's right on many issues and his Libertarian bent is great to have in the race. I don't know how he stays in these things, but, I hope he does.
The bad? His supporters are really nuts. He's about 100 years old. His son would be a better choice.
My prediction - will never get into double digits, yet somehow will persevere to the end.
- Gary Johnson - the former New Mexico governor is, like Paul, a Libertarian. Except, Johnson does it without drawing any support. He wants us out of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq. He wants us to stop using enhanced interrogation techniques, Gitmo shut down, and the Patriot Act repealed. He's pro-choice, and pro-gay marriage and pro-legalization. If you're a Libertarian, and I mean a true one, this is your guy. You'd think those views would be more at home in the Democrat party, but, Libertarians also believe in individual choice and personal freedom, and the Liberal Fascist's view of government doesn't include either of those concepts. Fortunately, most Libertarians know that.
The bad? Did I mention Libertarians live in a fantasy world? I think I'd like their world, but it's a parallel universe to mine. Also bad, he can't get the 2% support to get on the stage in tomorrow's debate. Ouch!
My prediction - May hang in til his money runs out. Could be any day now.
- Rick Santorum - I like Rick Santorum, and he's from an important blue state, Pennsylvania. But, it's a blue state that rejected him wildly in 2006 (not a good year for Republicans anywhere, mind you), but has routinely elected Republican senators and governors (as it did in 2010). Santorum is wildly right on the issues. He's solidly conservative, and would be an interesting candidate. But, there's a reason we don't routinely elect senators to the presidency. They usually suck, just witness Barack Obama.
The bad? To the rest of the country, he's Rick Who? I just don't think he has the backing and support it's going to take to last long in this race.
My prediction - Out after Iowa.
That is the list of announced candidates. Now, here are those yet to announce, with my predictions centered around whether they enter the race or not:. Links are to PACs or their personal sites associated with their current positions.
- Sarah Palin - You can search this blog to see all my many posts about just Sarah Palin. I just go back and forth on her. She holds all the right positions, she strangely articulates them, and she's got a following and star appeal that approaches what Barack Obama had in 2008. I do not think Palin is stupid, but in a recent post, I think I put my finger on my issue with her. And my issue isn't with her, it's with some of her followers, and the Republican party in general. We've been looking for the heir to Reagan for almost 25 years now. We need to stop looking. Palin is not Reagan, and no one is, and the GOP should stop looking for that person. Palin could, I believe, stand on her own, and bring tremendous energy and excitement to the race. She has a lot of negative perceptions that the state-run media has been more than happy to create and perpetuate. Could she overcome them? I think she could, because she commands the airtime. Will she?
The bad? No one in the GOP outside a return of George W Bush drives the media mad like Palin does. They will go into full blown Obama love again if she opposes him. Not all bad, but she needs to be prepared for this. Also bad, people think she's stupid. That's a hard barrier to break through once it's set. She's similar to W, who's grades were at least as good as Al Gore's (and who had a Harvard MBA and had not written an unreadable,, crappy book), in this respect.
My prediction - I think 2012 is her time. Obama is very beatable. The Left doesn't realize it, but people HATE Democrats these days. She needs to enter soon, but once she's in, it's her nomination to lose.
- Michelle Bachmann - The MN Congresswoman is another Tea Party favorite and a strident defender of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (now that Superman has passed on all that stuff). Again, she holds all the right positions, but, if you think Sarah Palin gets killed by the media, just wait to see what they can do to Bachmann.
The bad? She has a tendency to say crazy stuff, you know, like the US has 57 states. Oh wait...
Prediction - I think what she does depends on Palin. If Palin doesn't enter the race, Bachmann is almost certain to get in. I could see her doing well in Iowa. Could be a dark horse, but will be an uphill battle.
- Rick Perry - The TX governor has the benefit of leading the only state that has done reasonably well during our excursion into Obamanomics. That Texas has a truly part-time legislature and is the least regulated state in the nation has something to do with it. Perry's been a strong 10th Amendment advocate since Obama started destroying it, and he's opposed every last piece of crap legislation that has come out of Washington since, oh, January 21, 2009. He also dispatched RINO Kay Bailey Hutchison when she tried to run for governor. Perry's got a record, is a tough as nails conservative, and, if he gets into this race, he could become the front runner in moments. If he gets into the race, it's going to be because Sarah Palin is not, and it's expected that his entry could include a strong endorsement from Palin.
The bad? What will Americans think of another Texan running for president? He isn't terribly well known outside Tea Party, GOP, and conservative circles.
Prediction - getting in, and with Palin's backing, will quickly consolidate this race to a 2 way between Romney and Perry. Look for Perry/Palin 2012.
- Jon Huntsman - Former Utah governor and Barack Obama's ambassador to China is considering a run. Look, he may be a nice guy, and a solid conservative, but, really, I don't even know the guy.
The bad? See above. Need any more than that?
Prediction - going to get in, but will be out by the end of Iowa.
Others are waiting, perhaps to see what happens, and others are just fantasies:
- John Bolton - former UN Ambassador under Bush. Would be a great president on foreign policy.I think he'll make a great Secretary of State in the Perry White House.
- Chris Christie - the tough talking, results-delivering NJ governator has said repeatedly he's not running. I believe him. Should the GOP falter in 2012, Christie is waiting to save us in 2016. Sorry, Ann Coulter.
- Jeb Bush - the Bush who SHOULD have been president in 2000 is not running, has expressed no desire to run, and probably had his hopes dashed ion November 2000 when his brother won. But, how sweet would it be to replace the Fascist Obama with another Bush? Seriously, how sweet would that be?
- Trump - please.
Ok, so I have some favorites and some not-so favorites.
Right now, my choice among the declared candidates is Cain, followed by Pawlenty. Among the potential candidates, if Rick Perry gets in, I would seriously consider him, and, I am reconsidering my position on Palin. Bachmann is a wait and see type. Romney is a no way.
I plan to watch the CNN debate tomorrow, maybe on DVR. Hopefully you will, too. I won't live blog it, but if I watch in real time, find me on twitter, twitter.com/sleepywhiner.