"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick Thoughts on GOP Presidential Candidates

Some very quick thoughts on GOP candidates:

1. Romney.   Romney should not be the nominee and cannot win.   If the GOP nominates Romney they will have given away the best argument they have against Obama, namely, that Obamacare is an abomination.   This is because Romneycare in Massachusetts has apparently also become an abomination:
As a health care plan, Romneycare is an unmitigated fiasco. It has caused costs to skyrocket, insurance premiums to soar and nonprofit providers like Blue Cross to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. 
But as a political policy, Romneycare is nearly unparalleled in Republican history. It has destroyed one front-runner’s presidential hopes (Romney’s) and helped undermine an entire presidency. For, as Barack Obama’s supporters keep reminding us, Romneycare was the precursor to Obamacare.
2. Trump.   Really?   Donald Trump is no conservative.   He's an egomaniac, and an opportunist, and he's apparently bent on destroying the GOP's chances of defeating Obama by running as an independent if he doesn't win the Republican nomination (and he won't).   And yet he's apparently running well based on pure name recognition in Republican straw polls.   Eek!  If he's serious, it's a train wreck for the GOP.

3. Anybody else?   Palin?   In a word, no.   She won't run, because she'd have to give up too much money to do so.   Bachman?  She's Palin lite and Palin prettier.   I like her, but she's too far out there to win.   Pawlenty or Daniels?  If we wanted boring and unelectable, we'd nominate Romney to begin with.   Huckabee?   Please.   The country cannot survive a President whose name sounds like a character from Li'l Abner.   Herman Cain?  No way.  Nice man, not a pol, not going to win an election.

4.  The real deals.   So, in my view anyway, the race is wide open for someone to come in from the outside who could capture the GOP's imagination, someone who hasn't run for national office before, but who has significant media appeal,and who is the real deal on deficit reduction and conservative ideals.   My choice right now:  Paul Ryan/Marco Rubio.   And I'm not the only one.... here's William Kristol in the Weekly Standard:  
On April 3, Paul Ryan and Florida senator Marco Rubio appeared as guests on Fox News Sunday. Ryan explained and defended his budget. Rubio called for more decisive action in Libya. Later that day, I wrote a short item half-jokingly suggesting (once again) a Ryan-Rubio ticket in 2012. This is just a small sample of the emails we received:
• I love the two, couldn’t be any better or smarter pair for 2012. They have my vote! I could finally sleep at night with those two running the country. Pray they team up and run in 2012.
•  Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are the future of not only the Republican party, but also America. Get rid of the old hacks, it’s time for these dynamic American leaders. If they won’t run, add Chris Christie to the mix. .  .  .
•  I am a registered Democrat. .  .  . I agree with you on Ryan-Rubio, and would be willing to work for them in Joe Biden’s home state of DE. I don’t consider myself a Tea Party guy, although I agree with most of what they stand for. .  .  . Sign me up.
•  Tell Ryan we’ll let his kids roller-skate in the W.H. .  .  . ANYTHING! .  .  . Seriously, I understand they lack experience in some areas. However, when it comes to fiscal reality Paul Ryan IS the smartest man in the room. And he knows a whole lot about American political history .  .  . love the guy.
All of this suggests a willingness to consider more and hitherto unexpected options for the GOP nominee. And the following email correctly implies that not Obama but a fatalism about politics and the country may be the greatest obstacle to Republican success in 2012:
Mr. Kristol,
While your idea of a Ryan-Rubio 2012 ticket is a worthy one, it just won’t work.
Rubio makes much too much sense for such a new senator; and he would have way too much appeal to the fastest growing population segment of our country.
Ryan is:
Much too smart.
Much too sensible.
Much too straightforward.
Much too knowledgeable and specific in his solutions.
Much too knowledgeable in the actual workings of government.
Much too genuine.
And waaaaaaaaaaay too likable.
How can this possibly work?
Make it work.
They're young; they're attractive; they're smart; they're conservative.   Maybe we need to stop nominating the Bob Doles and John McCains and start taking our best and brightest and selling them to the American people.  

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