Ron Paul (Odds to win the nomination: 15:1 – 21 points) is another Tea Party favorite, and like Herman Cain, is really a Libertarian candidate and not a Republican. Paul, like Cain, supports many popular Tea Party fiscal philosophies such as the fair tax, the gold standard, a balanced budget, and entitlement reform. Paul is the true laissez faire candidate – meaning he believes the federal government should play a “hands off” role in both domestic and foreign policy. Paul is an attractive candidate, but his stance on legalizing drugs and other extreme measures may work against him. But Paul’s biggest problem is his electability in a general election match up against Obama. He is old and is not a very gifted orator and debater. But Paul’s ability to raise campaign funds gives him a chance.
Michele Bachmann (Odds to win the nomination: 15:1 – 17 points) is another Tea Party favorite and may be the top choice of Evangelical Christians and those who like Sarah Palin (if she decides not to run). This and her ability to raise campaign cash gives Bachman an outside of chance to win the nomination. Bachman is a true social conservative and the media will demonize her like they did to Palin. Bachmann and her husband raised five children and 23 foster children – making her the family values champion. Bachmann has business experience running the family farm, which received federal farm subsidies. Bachmann was also a tax attorney and coauthored a bill to help put an end to frivolous lawsuits against businesses. However, collecting farm subsidies contradicts Bachmann’s ideology about government handouts and bailouts. Besides, religion and social issues will not be a factor in the general election. Republicans and Evangelicals will even vote for Rudy Giuliani over Barack Obama – given the president’s abysmal record on religious affiliation and social issues.
Tim Pawlenty (Odds to win the nomination: 20:1 – 34 points) recently finished his second term as the Governor of Minnesota. Like Romney, Pawlenty had success running a “blue state”. Pawlenty battled budget shortfalls throughout his administrations. He inherited a 2.7 billion dollar deficit and was able to balance that budget in his first year without raising taxes. He faced several battles over proposed budget cuts and was later forced to increase fees, such as tuition and tolls, to increase revenue as he was faced with another budget deficit to start his second term. The Minnesota budget shortfall is projected to be 4.4 billion this year. Overall, Pawlenty has a solid fiscal track record and the current Minnesota shortfall would have been much lower had many of his proposed budget cuts passed. Pawlenty also tried a cap and trade system in Minnesota, which he later conceded was a mistake and did not work. Pawlenty has put forth the best economic plan of any contender to date. A Pawlenty nomination could bring Minnesota back into the GOP column.
Jon Huntsman (Odds to win the nomination: 20:1 – 41 points) has been taking a long time getting into the field. This is a problem because he still does not have good name recognition. However, Huntsman is a very polished candidate and has by far the best foreign policy credentials amongst the challengers. He was recently Obama’s Ambassador to China and under H.W. Bush he was Ambassador to Singapore as well as his Secretary of Commerce to East Asian and Pacific affairs. Huntsman has already made several visits to Israel during his prestigious career. He also worked as the U.S. Trade Representative under W. Bush. He served 5 years as Utah’s governor prior to leaving the post to be Ambassador to China. Huntsman’s tax policy was highly praised for simplifying the tax code and being business friendly. However, government spending increased rapidly under Huntsman’s watch. Huntsman may not win many votes amongst social conservatives because he supported civil unions, but the upcoming election will be about the economy and not social issues. Huntsman decision to skip campaigning in Iowa is not a good one.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)