The 2012 Presidential Minefield
The results of numerous straw polls around the nation should give every thoughtful conservative pause when contemplating the 2012 Republican primary: the top four contenders so far are Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee…and Newt Gingrich. Even Gov. Christie has appeared in a recent straw poll as a contender. Good grief.
Fortunately, when the final installment of our Gov. Christie exposé finds it way into every e-mail in-box in the nation, Gov. Christie will quickly drop in the straw poll rankings.
American Spectator’s Philip Klein took a closer look at Mitt Romney and concluded that the former Massachusetts Governor represents the best the GOP can hope for in way of a viable 2012 Presidential candidate.
If that’s the case, we have two options: fold up our tents, go home and start a third party or call out Phil Klein as either an establishment RINO tool or an idiot.
As he is clearly no idiot, I call: RINO tool.
In 2008, Romney earned himself a reputation as a flip-flopper as he dramatically attempted to reshape himself as a stanch conservative despite having previously staked out liberal positions on abortion, guns, immigration and a litany of other issues.
This time around, Romney faces the additional burden of trying to explain away his most significant legislative accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts — a big government health care plan that was a model for ObamaCare. In his last presidential bid he was largely able to get a pass, because health care wasn’t as big of an issue. But this time around, Republican voters are clamoring for repeal of the national health care law while conservatives are cheering on constitutional challenges to its individual mandate to purchase health insurance — a central element of MassCare that Romney defended during his first presidential run.
Despite these complicating factors, the reality is that Romney would not be seeking the GOP presidential nomination in a vacuum. In reality, if he’s going to lose, some other candidate is going to have to beat him, and right now, all of the other prospective Republican candidates have their own set of weaknesses.
There’s a problem with Klein’s analysis - and it’s major. He easily dispatches Romney’s putative opponents - Palin is now a celebrity with fantasies of future office who cannot be taken seriously by anyone outside her cadre of Palinistas; Huckabee is a flannel-mouthed con artist who is no fiscal conservative and just loves to pardon vicious criminals; Gingrich is a publicity whore sellout and a political has-been; Tim Pawlenty is a Purple politician from a Purple state that inflicted Al “Stuart Smalley” Franken on the U.S. Senate; Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana shot off the only conservative foot he had left; Haley Barbour has a millstone engraved with the word “lobbyist” around his neck.
Klein dismisses these obviously flawed 2012 candidates but then throws out his back trying to paper over Romney’s obvious - and politically fatal - flaws, which are concisely and elegantly summed up here. Ironically - in the final analysis - Romney has far more baggage than any of his potential opponents when it comes to core conservative issues.
The major problem with Klein’s analysis lies in the other potential candidates he completely ignores: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
I want to believe that Rick Perry is the second coming of Ronald Reagan. However, it’s my understanding that many conservative folks in Texas feel the same way about Rick Perry that we at CNJ feel about Chris Christie - and we want to hear from you! If you can provide us with the same fact-filled case against Rick Perry that we assembled against Chris Christie, let us know and we’ll post it here.
Gov. Jindal stumbled out of the gate but hit his stride when giving the Republican response to President Obama’s “Government must do everything” address to Congress in February, 2009. In the wake of the BP Oil Spill Disaster there can be no doubt that Gov. Jindal is a decisive leader. But is he Presidential material? That remains to be seen.
Admittedly, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has no political executive experience and he did not serve in the armed forces. However, he did start his own corporation and governed as its president for 15 years before being elected to Congress, serving two terms in the House before being elected to the Senate, where he is currently serving his second term. He is a stalwart, consistent and unapologetic Reagan conservative.
Is Jim DeMint our man for 2012? CNJ blogger Ed Mazlish believes so and I agree with him. But that fateful election is two years in the future - and anything can happen between now and then.