It’s more than uncertainty, it’s chaos

Actually, the list of possible Republican presidential candidates is even longer than I indicated previously. The total number is eighteen — 18!  But the ones I left out are even more of “come-on, why are you running?”

So, why waste our time?  Still, here they are, for the record:

Former New York governor George Pataki — out of the blue; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — no political experience; former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — Fox News host too long; former business executive Carly Fiorina — forced out at Hewlett Packard; real estate developer Donald Trump — mad man; former senator Rick Santorum — already ran and lost; former UN ambassador John Bolton — foreign policy hardliner; former Texas governor Rick Perry — already ran and failed spectacularly; and, finally, Senator Marco Rubio, Florida, squeezed out by Jeb Bush, also from Florida.

This is more than Republican “uncertainty,” it’s actually chaos.

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The last debate before Iowa and the race heatens up

Tonight is the 16th, and final, television debate with the Republican presidential candidates before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

Thank god, I often hear from friends, but the fact is that the debates have been popular with the American public, with an average of almost six million viewers. The debates have also saved money for the candidates, who have spent considerably less on political television ads – only three million U.S. dollars so far in Iowa compared to 27 million four years ago, and only 1.3 million dollars in New Hampshire against 17 million four years ago. For TV stations in the two states, however, this must be sad news…

I think this is a healthy trend for American political campaigns. I’d rather have the debates than the television ads with their dubious messages and outright lies. And anything to take the money out of politics…right!

Lately, the republican race has heated up and it’s downright exciting. Although many of the polls should be taken with a grain of salt, and national polls at this juncture are pretty meaningless, Gingrich now seems firmly in the lead in Iowa, while Mitt Romney maintains his lead in New Hampshire. Gingrich’s new popularity seems to have more legs than the previous upstarts — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. This is deeply worrisome to many conservative columnists. The editors of the conservative flagship National Review warned today of what a Gingrich victory could do to, as they see it, the Republicans’ excellent chances to beat Obama next year:

“We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity.”

It’s a battle between between “ideology and electability” as the polls suggest — Obama would defeat Gingrich by 51 to 40, while the race against Romney would be much tighter, 47 to 45.

Still, could it be the case that none of the present seven candidates in the end will be the Republican candidate? Could someone else, in the end, capture the nomination? It is not inconceivable, according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the web site of the respected political analyst, University of Virginia professor, Larry Sabato. I don’t think so, but it’s interesting reading!

A conservative cries out about the Republican party…

Circus. Reality show. Watch and weep. Clowns.

Damning comments like these are heard frequently about the Republican presidential candidates as the primary election campaign is about to start in earnest on January 3 in Iowa. But they are, mostly, liberal voices, and they can be dismissed, and are, by  conservative voices.

However, today on Rick Lowry’s blog “The Corner” at conservative National Review Online someone calling him/herself “One American Conservative” cries out about a Republican party gone astray. I don’t know, of course, who this person is, and I generally don’t approve of anonymous comments. But, if genuine, it’s heavy stuff, and it deserves to be quoted in its entirety, for I am not sure it could be said any better.

It IS an embassarassment, and not only for the Republican party but for the state of American politics today.

One American Conservative : 12/05/11 02:25:

“Please, please…can’t we bring this embarrassing and self-destructive Republican primary to a speedy end? As a conservative member of this party, I am being humiliated by a roster of candidates that the media, the Democrats and the White House are exfoliating layer by layer – with toxins provided by the candidates themselves!

Cain: likable but inexperienced, immoral and unelectable. Gingrich: experienced but pathologically egotistical, immoral, unattractive and unelectable – he is his own characterization – over the decades, he has “written” his own negative ads again and again.

Paul: the outlier, the serial candidate – too old and too odd to be unelectable. Bachman: smart, attractive, seemingly moral, but unelectable, not presidential, not big league – you just cannot see her in the oval office no matter how much you squint.

Santorum: same as Bachman – smart enough, seemingly moral, but out of his league, unelectable – can’t see him as the leader of the free world – can’t even imagine him as a corporate CEO. News anchor, maybe.

Perry: next to Obama? No chance. His rate of speech and heavy Texas accent convey a dimwittedness. He’s a lousy debater for one reason: IQ- Cs and Ds at Texas A&M…it shows. And I worry…what’s in the closet? Criminal cronyism? An affair?

Huntsman: smart, experienced, seemingly moral but haughty, condescending, unelectable Plus, for some inexplicable reason, TV isn’t kind to him. Just doesn’t “work” on the flat screen – nothing comes across. Maybe it’s that eyebrow.

So it brings us to Romney. Seriously smart, squeaky clean, attractive, presidential, experienced though doing a poor job defending some of his positions. That said, he’s getting hit, and so far surviving, from all sides: Obama, the DNC, the other Primary candidates, the mainstream media, liberal and even some conservative cable shows, and even the anti-Mormons. No other Republican primary candidate could weather the depth and breadth of such an onslaught. Least of all Gingrich. And the General will be even worse. Romney is the best, strongest shot we’ve got at the oval office. He can win and Obama knows it. So far, the Obama campaign grasps the dynamics of this race a lot better than the Republicans – it’s Romney they’re going after. And the longer this Primary continues, with multiple factions helping Obama beat up Romney, we risk losing the whole game.

Meanwhile, I’m an embarrassed Republican having to explain why my party keeps pushing the dimmer-witted, the inexperienced, the arrogant, the immoral (throwing out one adulterer and then embracing a serial adulterer), tolerates religious bigotry with few voices in opposition, and, in general, doesn’t appear to want to win. I ask again, on behalf of many, many who feel as I do, who are running out of excuses for the party and thinking maybe we’ll just become Independents, please, please help bring this self-destructive Primary to an end. In the beginning, this was fun and interesting. Now, it’s scary. We will lose…and so will this country I love. Thank you.”

And now Newt Gingrich will save the Republican Party…

The Republican primary voters seem to have found yet another new savior of the party. Let’s see how long that lasts.

This time it’s the political veteran and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who suddenly has caught a strong wind in his back judging from the latest opinion polls after a long period at the bottom of the field.

In contrast, Mitt Romney continues to languish around 20 percent. The support for Herman Cain has dropped significantly and Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are stuck in single digits.

The question is whether Gingrich’s rise means anything more than that the search among the Republican primary voters to find a candidate who can seriously challenge President Obama — now with renewed momentum — has entered a desperate stage. For just like Perry, Bachmann and Cain before him, the grumpy, unpredictable and condescending Gingrich, who loves to complain about the media and their questions, has little chance in the end to capture the nomination.

The twelve television debates to date with the eight candidates have been an embarrassing, yes, a sorrow spectacle, and it’s not over yet – another 14 debates wait until March next year …

Is this the best the GOP has to offer? It is a question many Republican voters also must ask themselves when watching Rick Perry’s brain freeze recently, when he could not remember which three departments he wants to eliminate, or Herman Cain’s brain freeze the other day after a question about Libya.

The foreign policy debate on Saturday in South Carolina was particularly illustrative of how weak the field is. Their superficial foreign policy knowledge, with the exception of former Ambassador Jon Huntsman, was astonishing. Everyone wanted to prove tough – yes, bomb Iran!

And Cain’s, Bachmann’s and Perry’s support of waterboarding when interrogating terrorist suspects was downright shocking. Thankfully, they were met with opposition by Huntsman and Ron Paul.

And afterwards, former Republican presidential candidate and prisoner of war, John McCain, called the waterboarding statements “disappointing, ” and President Obama stated forcefully:

“They’re wrong. Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s tradition. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We do not need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice. If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understand the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that’s not something we do – period. “

Of course! How could anyone say anything else?

Republicans searching for their candidate

American politics as a “perpetual election campaign” has been confirmed as of late.
Several of Obama’s staff led by David Axelrod, one of the key men behind Obama’s election victory in 2008, have recently left the West Wing and moved to Chicago to set up the Obama election campaign headquarters for the 2012 presidential election. There is no doubt that Obama will run for re-election but, in addition, there is no democratic challenger in sight, no Ted Kennedy, as in 1980, who challenged and lost against incumbent Jimmy Carter.
The Republicans are looking hard, using strong searchlights, for their candidate in 2012 against Obama, as seen this past week at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) conference in Washington with over 10,000 participants. In many respects, the conference was the start of the battle within the Republican Party about who will be Obama’s opponent in November 2012.
All, or almost all of those who aspire to become the Republican presidential candidate, were there – some of them more or less known, others almost or completely unknown to a wider audience. Their vanity was perhaps their most striking characteristic. Donald Trump, as Republican presidential candidate? Or tea party favorite Michele Bachmann? Or libertarian Ron Paul? Or, or – many of whom are too unknown to even mention here.
The vote at the CPAC conference as to whom the participants wanted to have as the Republican Party’s next presidential candidate was really quite meaningless. Only four thousand of the participants bothered to vote, and libertarian Ron Paul, won like last year. With 30 percent of the vote, the victory only showed how the ultra-conservatives and the tea party members dominated the CPAC conference. Paul has no chance to win the nomination – Trump said so, correctly. In second place was Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate 2010 with 23 percent of the vote while the rest finished far behind, including Sarah Palin with 3 percent, who didn’t even attend, along with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator John Thune from North Dakota and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty perhaps wished that they had not been there, for they all ended up well behind Paul and Romney.
But the race has just begun. No one is yet an official candidate and it’s too early to draw any major conclusions right now other than that the Republicans’ feverish hunt for their presidential candidate will intensify as the Iowa and New Hampshire contests early next year quickly approach. Now is the time to organize and to raise money, a lot of money, which Mitt Romney has done much better than the others, so far. So, I guess, he is the front runner for now, which might not mean a thing down the line.
The Republicans have no doubt been encouraged by their election victory in 2010 and its new majority in the House of Representatives, but new victories in 2012 are far from guaranteed. The Republicans should probably not even take it for granted that they will retain their majority in the House of Representatives. President Obama is still a formidable opponent, perhaps even more so today than ever before during his two years in the White House. He seems to have a new spring in his step, and with each week of new signs of a strengthening U.S. economy, and if the unemployment figures can come down further, he looks to be increasingly formidable in November 2012.