Monday, August 1, 2011

Slim Pickings (Part I)

Liberal media outlets across the country are slamming the Republican presidential candidates as being weak. At first glance, I would have to agree. But most Presidents in U.S. history started the primary season as obscure unknowns, especially Democrats. The last three Democratic Presidents – Obama, Clinton, and Carter were not household names when the primary season started. Other media pundits claim the Republican field is weak since conservative constituents are not happy with the candidates and are therefore, recruiting others such as Chris Christie or Paul Ryan to run. There is nothing wrong with trying to solidify a field of candidates, but there is a candidate for any Republican ideology represented in this field – fiscal responsibility, social conservative, Tea Party, and so forth. The key is for voters to select a candidate that is electable in the general election. Let’s break down the field, including my odds and personal rating scale out of 50 points (I will not reveal my rating scale).

Mitt Romney (Odds to win the nomination: 7:2 – 38 points) has to be considered a front runner since he has the highest name recognition by finishing second in the 2008 Republican nomination process to John McCain. Romney has a strong record as being a savvy businessman, most notably by turning the Salt Lake City Olympic Games into a success. Romney is also a polished politician with 8 years of executive experience as Massachusetts’ Governor. But Romney, like all candidates, has flaws. Romney is a flip flopper, especially on social issues, but no worse than Obama’s record as a flip flopper. Romney’s biggest challenge is his record on healthcare. ObamaCare mimicked Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts, including the individual mandate. If this election is about repealing ObamaCare, Romney has a big obstacle. However, this election is about the economy and Romney can win that argument with his fiscal record. Besides, Romney’s explanation for RomneyCare in Massachusetts is a logical one, but it will not win him any votes in the primaries. Romney rightfully argues that healthcare should be a state issue decided by the people of each state. Romney was only giving the people of Massachusetts what they wanted. And the Massachusetts individual mandate to own healthcare does not violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause since it is intrastate and not interstate commerce. A Romney nomination could bring Massachusetts and Michigan (His dad was Governor of that state) into play for the GOP. Finally, Romney is an excellent fund raiser and that should bode well for him. In early head to head polling against Obama, Romney is doing by far the best of any Republican candidate.

Newt Gingrich (Odds to win the nomination: 60:1 – 19 points) is already damaged goods. His attack on Paul Ryan’s budget plan angered many, although it should be okay to openly debate potential pitfalls with the proposal, Gingrich’s attack stepped out of bounds. Gingrich has a way of placing his foot in his mouth too often and will have to explain why his lifestyle does not follow his family values ideology (he has had several affairs and he has been married 3 times). On the other hand, Gingrich is a walking historical encyclopedia and could arguably be the best person to debate Obama one on one. And let’s not forget Gingrich has a record of fiscal responsibility when he worked with Bill Clinton to obtain a balanced budget.

Herman Cain (Odds to win the nomination: 20:1 – 25 points) is a true dark horse, but he is already gaining some momentum. Cain is a true Washington and political outsider since he never held an elected office. Cain’s background in business and mathematics makes him the choice of many Tea Party followers – since he has a fiscal track record of success. Cain worked for Pillsbury subsidiaries Burger King and Godfather’s Pizza and turned the business units he ran into profit winners. Cain still may have to answer for his role with an energy company, Aquila, which went belly up. Cain also served on the board of directors and was a onetime chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Cain is also a cancer survivor and that shows his determination and resolve. Still, Cain is not a very polished candidate on foreign policy. And his ethnicity will not win Cain any votes from African Americans who will continue to support Obama by at least a 15 to 1 advantage. Finally, Cain has yet to prove he can win a political election – he failed to win the Georgia GOP primary for Senator back in 2004.

My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)

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