Sunday, July 03, 2011

They Liked Ike. But They Don't Like These Guys

Whatever you wanted
What could it be?
Did somebody tell you
That you could get it from me?
Is it something that comes natural?
Is it easy to say?
Why do you want it?
Who are you anyway?
                                        -- Bob Dylan

is the only state that allows voters to select "none of these candidates" in statewide elections. The dozen or so Republican candidates for the 2012 Presidential nomination should be glad of this fact. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, less than half of Republican primary voters say they are satisfied with their current crop of presidential candidates.

Put it another way. In the state of Tennessee, President Obama is not exactly popular. In 2008, he actually lost to his Republican opponent by a bigger margin than did John Kerry, that French-looking Yankee liberal did, in 2004. The Tennessee Republican party produced some of the most vicious, racist attacks on Obama in 2008, and, apparently, the voters there were just fine with that. Well, consider this recent poll conducted by Vanderbilt University. It shows that if the election were held today, Obama would beat all of the announced Republican candidates, most of them by a wide margin.

In a post last October, I offered a run down of the pros and cons of each Republican Presidential candidate. Time for an update. Here are your Republicans, more or less in order of their current standing in the polls.

Mitt Romney
Announced candidate? YES
PRO: Remains (just barely) the front-runner, has the biggest grassroots organization.
CON: As the front-runner, is taking the most flack from the other candidates. In 1993, the Republican position on health care was an individual mandate to buy care from a private insurer. Since both President Obama and Governor Romney passed legislation of this kind, most Republicans have decided that an individual mandate is the mark of the antichrist or something.

Rick Perry
Announced candidate? NO
PRO: Governor of Texas is a good job to have if you want to run for President.
CON: Republicans mostly won't vote for a guy they think might be gay. Has suggested Texas might secede from the Union again.

Michele Bachmann
Announced candidate? YES
PRO: Terrific speaker. Has accomplished a lot in life.
CON: Is patently insane. Claims she had no desire to be in politics, but God insisted. Frequently makes bold misstatements of fact, then insists that those misstatements are true. (A skill learned from Sarah Palin.) Has called for the media to investigate which Congressman are "un-American." Is deeply homophobic.

Rudy Giuliani
Announced candidate? NO
PRO: People vaguely remember that they liked his leadership style after 9/11.
CON: Has more skeletons in his closet than Bela Lugosi. Enjoys cross dressing. Ran for President in 2008, and his candidacy went over like a lead balloon.

Sarah Palin
Announced candidate? NO
PRO: If she does something, cable news will give her 24 hours of coverage. If she does nothing, they'll give her 48 hours of coverage.
CON: This article says it all: Michele Bachmann is the candidate Sarah Palin was supposed to be.

Herman Cain
Announced candidate? YES
PRO: The Democrats are running a black guy? We can do that too.
CON: Is more racist than some Klansmen.

Tim Pawlenty
Announced candidate? YES
PRO: His combined quotient of bigotry, homophobia and plain-crazyness are much lower than most of the other candidates.
CON: Absolutely nothing has gone right with his candidacy.

Jon Huntsman
Announced candidate? YES
PRO: Is somewhere between 3 times and 20 times as smart as the other candidates.
CON: Lacks conservative credentials. And I think this summarizes his candidacy pretty well: "There’s a reason he barely has a pulse in the polls. He speaks so softly that even his aides sometimes have trouble hearing him at events. He is making civility a cornerstone of his campaign, at a time when Republican voters are ravenous for red-meat conservative policies, and an epochal showdown with Obama."

Just a comment that I'd like to thank Newt Gingrich (and Sarah Palin as well) for sort-of-but-not-really running for President and thus soaking up a lot of money and media air time that would otherwise go to the legitimate candidates.

To summarize, Republican primary voters may not be united on what they want in a Presidential nominee. But they are fairly united in what they don't want: any of the candidates they've seen so far.

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