Just for the record, Pawlenty’s economic plan is absolutely nuts, and I still say he’s the most likely nominee. And what’s even scarier is that the plans of subsequent nominees are going to have to accomplish the difficult feat of being even more crazy.
Tag: "2012 Republican Primary"
Cain has been receiving quite a bit of press lately as he challenges for the Republican nomination. The NYT discuss him in today’s edition here, noting his strong tea-party credentials, while a recent poll in Iowa has him tied for second on 15% (tied with some ex-governor of Alaska), behind Mitt’s 21%. Silver suggests on May 26 that he should be taken seriously.
Should he? He has no political experience, and history shows that candidates for nomination lacking in experience (where by lacking, I mean zero) don’t do very well at all. Furthermore, he’s very much of the tea-party wing of the party; the Republican elite aren’t keen on nominating from that talent pool. While Silver suggests here that his self-styled “bottom up theory” of nomination success has validity, he fails to consider the role the party elite have in channeling resources. If Cain were to mount a proper run based on his surging support in Iowa and New Hampshire, he will need access to resources.
Perhaps the best analysis I’ve seen on Cain is from Ed Kilgore over at The Democratic Strategist. Succinct, he suggests that Cain may have peaked too soon, and that the expected increase in media scrutiny will cause Cain considerable discomfort. Quoted:
“Most of all, Cain will have problems with expanded media coverage unless he adjusts very rapidly. His cheerful indifference towards foreign affairs and national security issues–he’s said he’d figure out what to do in Afghanistan at some point between Election Day and his inauguration–may reflect the attitudes of his core Tea Party base, but not Republican elites, much less voters at large. And given his lack of experience in office, gaffes and tokens of ignorance–e.g., his manifest cluelessness on the issue of the Palestinian “right of return” in a recent discussion of the Middle East–will hurt him just as they hurt Sarah Palin in 2008. Conservative opinion-leaders supporting other candidates will be sure to mention that Cainsupported TARP and once served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. African-Americans are very likely to begin denouncing his denunciations of Obama and his appropriation of civil rights rhetoric. The Fair Tax gimmick which Cain has promoted for years is loaded with opposition-research dynamite. And in general, his whole act, including his habit of referring to himself in the third-person, could get old or weird.”
From the perspective of early June, it appears that the Republican elite are having difficulty coalescing around an establishment candidate, but the same could be said of the tea party. Should both Bachmann and Palin run, the tea party have three editions of the crazy that warms their hearts to get behind, which is good news for Mitt.
I know we could be dealing with yet another Republican primary that nobody should logically be able to win, and hence anyone could win. But I still say that Mittens is drawing dead. To their credit, Republicans don’t take their own rhetoric about federalism seriously enough to give Mittens a pass for enacting a version of the Greatest Threat To Liberty There Absolutely Ever Was, and I will point out again that Mittens actually ran in that primary that any decent orthodox conservative should have been able to win — before his signature health care reform became evil in Republican orthodoxy — and lost pretty badly.
Matt thinks Mittens has a good chance of getting the 2012 nomination:
I think it’s worth recalling that Mitt Romney won National Review’s endorsement in 2008 explicitly on the theory that he was equally conservative as Fred Thompson and more conservative than the others. Rush Limbaugh also endorsed him.
But even though anti-Mormon sentiment will be a drag on Romney, it’s not obvious that any one person in particular can capitalize on it. So to me it really circles back to whether radio hosts will buy Romney as a conservative, which I think they might.
To me, though, this argument is close to self-refuting. After all, Romney had these key endorsements in 2008…and went to the convention with fewer delegates than Mike Huckabee. So obviously these endorsements can’t be all that important. And it would be one thing if he lost to an overpowering favorite, but he didn’t. It’s not strictly accurate to say that McCain was the Republican Lieberman — he had an (inexplicable to me) charisma and appeal to independents that Lieberman didn’t — but he was viewed as a Lieberman-like traitor by a lot of the Republican base, and of course the talk show host community hated him. (Yes, he for the most part had an orthodox Republican voting record — but in 2004 Lieberman had if anything a more orthodox Democratic voting record.) It was, in other words, a field that was wide open, and Romney — although his health care policy wasn’t yet a liability — still lost it pretty badly. I just don’t see any way that he can beat a plain vanilla conservative who runs a halfway decent campaign.
Shorter Newt Gingrich: “I had to sleep with various members of my staff who were not my wife because I just loved this country too damned much. But to my credit, I’ve always displayed the same tolerance for others that I’m asking for now; it’s not like I led a political faction who tried to get the president impeached over a blowjob or something.”