A Republican presidential quagmire

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The GOP cast: The show must go on

From any rational point of view, the Republican party is in a mess as it stumbles towards naming a candidate to face Barack Obama in 2012.

In its manic scramble to find someone — anyone — to stave off former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney‘s seemingly inevitable march to the nomination, the GOP is turning to an endless series of flawed, unqualified or inept pretenders to the throne.

With scandal-scarred, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich joining the latest revolving door of perceived frontrunners, the center ring of this circus is complete.

Republicans now face the choice of looking the other way when it comes to the sexual predatory nature of former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, the mind-lapsing ineptness of Texas Gov. Rick Perry or the shoot-from-the-lip, take-the-money-and-run history of Gingrich.

To borrow an old line from former Harvard math professor and songwriter-satirist Tom Lehrer, Republicans have to feel like “a Christian Scientist With Appendicitis.”

The sad fact is that none of these pretenders can stand the spotlight of public scrutiny.

Rick Perry fell apart in the debates as his lack of knowledge, inability to remember even his own stump speech talking points and too many “deer in the headlight” moments revealed that this Texas stereotype is all hat and no cattle.

Herman Cain’s past as a powerful man who likes to use that power to sexually harass women isn’t his only problem.  His lack of knowledge on key issues came out in a newspaper editorial board interview and his lame attempts at crisis management showcases a man who clearly is not up to the job.

And Gingrich’s problematic history with the million dollar plus payments from Freddie Mac is just the tip of a political iceberg that could sink an entire fleet of ships.

This the best the GOP has to offer?  These guys are the star studs in the elephant herd?

Some pundits try to tell us that Jon Huntsman is the sleeper candidate but he’s mired at the bottom of every poll. Michele Bachmann has faded into the obscurity she so richly deserves.’

Which leaves us with Ron Paul, the twice-failed candidate for President (once as a Libertarian and once as a Republican), the favorite of a small — but hard core and highly vocal — cadre of supporters.

Some polls show Paul as a contender in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.  He might win, given the spoiler nature of Iowa’s strange caucus system, but a win in Iowa doesn’t translate into an easy path to the nomination.  New Hampshire has a habit of thinning the herd and Paul is barely a blip on the radar there.

Paul also has his share of baggage and a closet full of skeletons — including his past association with the ultra-right-wing John Birch Society and a slew of newsletters published under his name that included racist comments — although he denies writing the commentaries.  That and his history of off-the-wall comments and extreme positions scare the hell out of the mainstream GOP voters he needs to become a serious contender and are even more out-of-touch with independents who will determine who wins in 2012..

Paul will make a lot of noise early on but he won’t win the nomination. As in 2008, he won’t even come close.  He doesn’t have the organization and stuffing online polls or wining straw polls is not a path to collecting delegates for a nomination or wins in states where voters — not hand-picked caucus participants — have the final say.

Iowa is a sideshow that gets far more attention than it deserves.  The real race begins when the first voter steps into the first voting booth in the first actual primary of the season.

At this point, the odds favor Romney when that process starts.  In this volatile political climate those odds could change quickly but it will probably not be someone named Cain, Perry, Huntsman, Bachmann, Paul or Gingrich who turns those odds.

Each is a pretender to a throne that is still seeking a credible — and electable — leader.

(Song lyrics from Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression, Part 2 by Emerson, Lake and Palmer)

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10 Responses to "A Republican presidential quagmire"

  1. Bill Cravener  November 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

    My republican friends tell me Ron Paul has as much chance of being the nominee as the man from Mars. They tell me they will hold their nose and place their bets on Mitt Romney who is referred to about the conservative blogosphere as “The Magically Malleable Man of Mystery”. LOL!

    • Doug Thompson  November 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

      That hasn’t stopped the Paul faithful from attempting to slam us with their usual flood of invective-laced spam from fake email addresses. Maybe if they put their energies into real political activity their guy might have a chance. :)

  2. Jason Weiner  November 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Ron Paul is a blip on the radar in New Hampshire? According to all the new polls, Ron Paul is in second place there. Get your facts correct!

    • Doug Thompson  November 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Paul is third in the latest Magellan poll (not second) at 16 points — 13 points back of Romney and 11 behind Gingrich.

      He’s second in the Bloomberg but Romney is beating him by more than 2-1: 40-17 and is fading while Gingrich is gaining.

      He’s third in the Rasmussen poll and — once again — behind by more than 2-1 (41-11) and trailing Cain while Gingrich is gaining. He’s third in CNN/Time while with less than half of Romney’s support.

      Averaging that overall, that puts Romney with an average of 37.4 percent and Paul 23.5 percentage points behind. That makes him a blip.

      You can spin it all you want but he will not win the nomination. The numbers don’t all up: Never have, never will.

  3. Sandune  November 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Sadly, Chief, that chorus line of fools is all that is left of the GOP after the religious right had their way with the party. You must understand that Romney is not an Evangelical and never will be. He has his own God in the form of the Temple Prophet in Salt Lake City. He follows the words of the angel Moroni who may be an alien from outer space.

    What happened to men like Tom Ridge? He could not pass inspection by Rush Limbaugh. He spoke out against trying to put women in prison for wanting to determine the size of their family. He never showed a sign of homophobia therefore he would not do to run for President.

    Yes sir, I have suggested Ron Paul more than once here but never with a fake email address. I have explained my reasons for choosing Paul as clearly as I could. I even joined the LP to put him on the ballot and discovered a corruption in that group that I could not tolerate. The current GOP has no interest in individual freedoms because this cannot be tolerated in a Christian movement. We must follow our leader no matter where it leads us. I refused to be baptized in that same Temple because it made no sense to a 9 year old.

    Trying to vote my agenda in the next election means my having to believe in some sorted set of Gods. No, I am no longer a working/voting American. I bow down to no man or God when my fellow Americans are heading back to the dark ages.

  4. woody188  November 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    It’s really hard to get excited about any of them. Sounds like we’ll get a choice between globalist fascism and globalist socialism in 2012. So much for the United States, individualism and freedom.

    • Carl Nemo **==  November 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      or…a hybrid of the two Woody188 as we’ve suffered to date with the movers and shakers socializing the losses via TARP, faux ‘Recovery Acts’ and other such nonsense while continually privatizing their capital gains.

      The American electorate didn’t ‘pick’ any of these candidate a*sclowns, but simply must suffer what the MSM has proferred to us via their shadowy owner/controller major stock holders.

      “We the People” only get to indemnify those that will predate on all of us to the benefit of these aforementioned fascista controllers…no?

      Carl Nemo **==

  5. Hal Brown  November 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Repost from another column:

    From all that I can tell, Ron Paul adheres to all or most of the platform of the Libertarian Party. I hope that those of you who support him have analyzed the platform which you can read here http://www.lp.org/platform .

    I find that on the surface many of their positions about individual choice and liberty, and the unregulated free market, sound good. However I find them naive and wishful thinking about human nature.

    It assumes that most people are altruistic and generous, that they care about the downtrodden, that they are not greedy and wiling to readily accept a permanent underclass in our society if it enables them to get ahead.

    For example, government programs to provide a social safety net, to mandate standards in health, environmental and food standards, work safety, education and child safety wouldn’t be necessary in a truly small “c” christian society.
    The government that governs least governs best only works in fantasyland.

    If I cared enough I’d go point by point through the platform and suggest the real life ramifications of strict adherence to their principles.

    I suggest that underlying the beliefs of strict Libertarians is the quote misattributed to Marie Antoinette:

    “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”

  6. eve  November 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    One has to wonder if Americans are the most ignorant people on the planet or the elections are rigged.

    It HAS to be one or the other, then again, maybe it’s both?

  7. tz  November 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    One has to wonder if Americans are the most ignorant people on the planet or the elections are rigged.
    It HAS to be one or the other, then again, maybe it’s both?

    How about this idea . . . . this is the long term result of a population of minds nurtured, raised, and currently feeding off of television?

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