Monday, August 22, 2011

Who Can Beat Obama?

No matter how much time goes by everything seems to remain the same. This is certainly the case with this new batch of Presidential hopefuls running for the big office in 2012. I have to say I'm not holding out much hope that things will improve in the D.C. scene regardless who gets elected next year. I won't bother with periphery characters in the race but will limit my comments to the perceived front-runners. For the Republicans that would be Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann. I have not included either Ron Paul or John Huntsman as I believe their campaigns will run out of steam before the winter is out, however, hoping against hope Paul will likely hang in there til near the end.

Mitt Romney is your classic middle-of-the road Eastern Elite politician willing to say and do whatever the moment dictates in order to win a vote. Pretty much the status quo and what we have all come to expect from an established politico and whether many want to admit, are comfortable with because of the old adage, "the devil you know." However, in the era of economic, political and social unrest, or at least stirred-up malaise, Romney may not be able to attract the kind of voters he will need from all sides of the aisle. He will continue to be the establishment-elite favorite unless Rep. Paul Ryan jumps into the fray. If that happens then the Washington establishment will jump Romney's sinking ship like drowning rats. Romney will succeed however where both Perry and Bachman will fail miserably, gaining that much sought after moderate and blue-dog democratic vote and the independent voters. If he were to get the Republican nomination then adding a Michelle Bachmann-like candidate to the ticket would garner the Tea Party and ultra-right vote that would normally stay home without a strong right-leaning VP nominee.

Rick Perry comes with very good executive leader credentials having served as Texas governor longer than any of his predecessors. He is strong on conservative fiscal policy, family values, an advocate of enforcing federal border law. He isn't a compromiser and while that may seem like a wonderful trait in Texas State and local politics it simply doesn't work well in D.C. where you have to deal with representatives from all 50 States, the largest two being on the other end of the political spectrum of what you are generally use to dealing with, not to mention 60 Senators who all believe they can do your job better than you and your cabinet. And, lest we forget the left-leaning press gnawing at your ankles like a pestering wounded dog. The frustration level will be extremely remarkable for a man like Perry, not to mention the headaches it will give Bachmann were she to gain the nomination. Rick Perry is no Ronald Reagan. Our past President came from a State that required him as governor to learn the art of compromise in such a way that your opponent got some and you got much while making the other side walk away thinking they got more than they actually did. Reagan was a master at that, just ask Mr. Gorbachev. Perry is not such a man and what the Republican Party and this nation needs is less a person like Perry and more a man like Reagan. However, none of the candidates have much Reagan in them even though they like to think of themselves as mini-Reagans.

Michelle Bachmann has one thing in her favor..grit! But, that won't be enough to get her elected in November 2012. It could get her a party nomination but I'm afraid that would spell defeat for the Republicans in their bid to regain the White House. No matter how unappealing Mr. Obama is to most (except for the fanatically devoted), he is still preferred by the independent and moderate over someone like a Michelle Bachmann. If Republicans hope to get back the White House and make Obama a one-term President they will need to get a huge chunk of that independent vote. Sadly, Bachmann will never be able to deliver what is needed to win ultimate victory.

Currently Perry is the anti-darling of the press and the supposed new candidate to beat having taken over that front-runner spot from Romney the minute he announced his run a few weeks ago in South Carolina. That could all change with one name - Sarah Palin. Politics is spotlight and nobody knows how to steal that gem any more than the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. She has learned the art of expectation, how to steal the scene just by showing up and say a mouthful without uttering one word. Will she run? I have no idea. If she does could she win the nomination? It's possible. Could she win the general election? Possibly, if she ran a smart campaign which concentrated entirely on Obama policy and his failed handling of the economy, war in Afghanistan and the U.S. border situation. Will the press allow her to do that? Probably not, but this will be a measure of just how well she works under that kind of pressure. Would she keep her eye on the issue of Obama or allow the press to sidetrack her. If past history is any indication, were Palin to get the nomination America will see another four years of Obama.

Who listed above could actually beat Obama at this stage of the game? My bet is on Romney, although the thought of another politico-elitist in the White House turns my stomach. If Romney wins the nomination it will be a very tight race between him and Obama but I believe he would win by a narrow margin due to those disaffected independent voters.

All of this is making the assumption incumbent President Obama will be the Democratic nominee. If the economy continues to slide with a rising uptick in unemployment, inflation, a collapse in the debt, dollar and government bubble, then he could be seriously challenged. If that were to occur and some other candidate gets the Democratic Party nod then everything said above goes right out the window and we start all over from square one.

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