The 2012 Presidential Minefield

minefieldThe 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.

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  1. Di Marco says:

    In 2008, Republicans put forth quite a motley crew of sub-standard candidates. I supported Romney at the time. I highly doubt I will do so again in 2012. Various political shenanigans produced a nomination for McCain.

    It will be important for Tea Party types to be fully involved and not cede the process to others with their own agenda which may be apart from the betterment of the United States. I would also caution on putting too much weight on “star power”. We all saw what happened in California with the Governator.

    I hope and pray that the candidates vying for the nomination be direct, bold, and clearly articulate a message based on substance. 2012 should be another conservative Republican year. It would be folly to wind -up with someone that is a compromising middle-of-the-road type because some political consultant believes a real conservative will turn off some voters. We need to stop settling for CRAP!

    For me it is way, way, way too early throw my support behind any potential candidate.

  2. ZM says:

    Huckabee IS a pseudoconservative who has pardoned over 1,000 dangerous criminals, increased state taxes by 40, and increased state spending by 65%.

    Klein was wrong to dismiss Palin, however. To quote Conservatives4Palin:

    Alaska’s massive size and geo-strategic position requires the administrative skill one might need governing a small country. Indeed, the state of Alaska boasts roughly twenty percent of the land mass of the entire USA. It features the longest maritime border in the nation, is home to diverse native populations in remote villages, and shares land and water borders with Canada and Russia. Alaska holds 20% of the nation’s crude oil reserves, and hosts the 49th Missile Defense Battalion in Fort Greely, one of only two permanently active guard units in the country. The Alaska National Guard also partially supplies the staff of the U.S./Canadian NORAD center that orders active duty fighters to intercept aerial threats.

    As her state’s chief executive, Palin not only oversaw 15,000 state employees and a $12 billion budget, she was immersed in the threats facing our nation as her state is the first line of defense against rogue ballistic and nuclear weapons that might be fired from North Korea or the former Soviet Union. As governor, she received national security briefings and traveled to Kuwait in support of the Alaska National Guard in 2007.


    Palin is conservative on fiscal and socialanddefense issues. She has reduced state spending by 14% in real terms, started the construction of a new Alaska-CONUS gasline, and passed an sweeping ethics reform.

  3. Anthony says:

    Hey, who do u think would be my candidate=
    Pro gay rights (tough to find the GOP man for that)
    Fiscally Concervative (with a track record of doing so)
    Less Governement
    Low Taxes
    Less Spending
    Chance of Winning

    Christie fits 6/7 in my eyes, Palin 5/7, any other suggestions?

  4. Anthony says:

    Sorry take out fiscally concervative because I described that. And that makes it only 5, sorry. Christie 4/5, Palin 3/5.