Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mid-campaign assessment of candidates

Here is my mid-campaign assessment of presidential candidates thus far – after the New Hampshire primary and prior to the South Carolina primary.

First off, I intend to contribute to and work for any Republican nominee before I will face the cold day in hell that I would vote for Obama, the great destroyer of our heritage and our future.

Next up:  Jon Huntsman.  I cannot seriously consider Mr. Huntsman.  His credentials of serving in the Clinton regime and being an ambassador to China would be ok if he were a Democratic candidate.  He is the most liberal and RHINO of any of the candidates.  His third place showing in New Hampshire reflects both the liberal social (don’t care if he’s Mormon) and political bias of that New England state.  I expect him to poll near the bottom in South Carolina.  He may or may not stick around for the Florida primary.

Rick Perry’s record on illegal immigration remains a deal killer for me.  And his inability to express himself effectively under pressure will be a problem in debates with Obama and in his role as President.  Finally, and this may seem nit-picky, but is a real concern nonetheless:  Perry is too similar to Bush in his mannerisms, accent, and attitudes.  He is somewhat “cowboy-esque” which will garner disdain by too much of the nation’s electorate.  Coming in a distant last in the New Hampshire primary has probably sealed his fate.  I would expect his withdrawal from the race after South Carolina.

Ron Paul is considered by many to be the best remaining candidate on fiscal and economic matters.  Some believe his desire to eliminate the fed is a bit extreme, but I am not concerned about that.  We can certainly use some extreme fiscal reform.  But Paul represents two deal killers for me. 

The big one is his ignorance of Islam related to his misinformed foreign policy.  He mimics Obama’s mantra that the United States is to blame for provoking Muslims into seeking revenge for our meddling in their affairs.  This ignorance is akin to keeping police in their squad cars for fear of pissing off the criminals.  Paul is advised by socialist Muslim sympathizers who ignore Islam’s centuries of intolerant, supremacist, warring behavior perpetually seeking conquest – centuries before the US existed to ruffle their over-sensitive feathers.  HERE is an insight into the Islamist sympathizers Paul gets his information from about Islam.  He is fatally naïve in the area of national security and foreign policy.

The other negative is his non-presidential persona.  He comes across as excessively whiney, snarky, and Ross Perot-ish (weasly in demeanor), even though I favored Ross over his competition.  But we have better choices now.   Virtually every other candidate is superior in this quality.

Rick Santorum is the most socially conservative of the remaining candidates.  And he and Gingrich have the best understanding of the threat of political Islam.  But he is criticized for taking some un-conservative stands in his political career.  Is he electable?  Of course his supporters say he is.  But most of the rest of us think he is not.  He will do a lot better in South Carolina than his next to last place showing in New Hampshire.  But I expect his undoing will be Florida after which he will secede from the race.

Newt Gingrich did poorly in New Hampshire with his distant 4th place showing.  I don’t expect he will do much better in South Carolina where he will be bested by both Romney and Santorum.  He has garnered a “love him” or “hate him” reputation, especially among conservatives.  It is difficult for me, and maybe the average voter, to know what to believe about Gingrich.  I don’t think I would enjoy the First Lady for four years.  But Gingrich does have among the best understanding of the threat of Islam and national security challenges of any of the candidates.  He would make a good president and probably has as good a chance of beating Obama as Romney does.

Mitt Romney is considered outside the Tea Party fold, but he is endorsed by several notable Tea Party leaders such as South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.  He has said some ignorant things about Islam, such as Jihadism has nothing to do with Islam.  On the other hand, among his band of foreign policy advisors is Walid Phares, a well-versed and respected expert on the Middle East and Islam.   However, Phares suffers from wishful thinking about how the Arab Spring will turn out.  He predicts there will be a secular backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent victories, but he doesn’t say in which century.

Romney is criticized for raising taxes and fees in Massachusetts.  Condemnation of Romney for that is totally without merit.  He was Governor in the most liberal state in the Union, with a legislature that was several notches to the left of him.  The governor does not have absolute control over the state legislature or the will of the proliferation of liberals who control the votes in that state.  To the contrary, Romney’s Massachusetts experience endows him with the experience to overcome the minority liberal tendencies in this nation.  He has shown that he is one to advocate on behalf of the will of the people as opposed to promoting the self-serving liberal agenda of the minority as Obama has been doing. 

Romney distinguishes Massachusetts health care from nationwide Obama care based on states rights.  He is clear that if states don’t want it, they shouldn’t be forced by an over-reaching federal government to have it.

With Herman Cain’s departure, Romney is the one remaining candidate with extensive business experience.  Some of it is being used against him – by those who twist the meaning of the word “fire” Romney used to describe the ability of individuals to choose their preferred insurance companies.  Both Republicans and Democrats have taken his words out of context to slander his private sector experience.

His runaway first place showing in relatively liberal New Hampshire is not as significant as the outcome will be in South Carolina and Florida .  Conservative South Carolina will be a big test of how the Bible Belt will react to Romney’s religion this second time around.

Other pluses for Romney:  He appears to have no moral baggage, he is a social conservative, he has an idyllic family, and he does indeed appear presidential.  He is not a bad debater, either.

Here are the results of the New Hampshire primary:

Mitt Romney | New Hampshire primary Mitt Romney
Ron Paul | New Hampshire primary Ron Paul
Jon Huntsman | New Hampshire primary Jon Huntsman
Newt Gingrich | New Hampshire primary Newt Gingrich
Rick Santorum | New Hampshire primary Rick Santorum
Rick Perry | New Hampshire primary Rick Perry


amgoldho said...

Romney's showing in New Hampshire reaching 40% is significant. There is no doubt in my mind that he is attracting voters (including independents?) other than his close following. The management of his campaign speaks well for his organizational capabilities.

The ability of a true conservative beating Obama based on history is less than 50% chance. Romney is trying to stay near the center to draw independents at the same time voicing support for many of the things a conservative would be for.

In order to beat Obama being close to the center will be crucial.

BrM said...

I think your assessment is right on. SC will be a better test of the candidates than NH was.

I will vote for and heartily support whichever Republican candidate is nominated, no matter how loosely he uses the term "fire".

Gerardo Moochie said...

Romney's use of the word "fire" was in the context of our ability as consumers to fire poor performing service providers such as insurance companies that give us a run-around. Desperate Republican candidates have twisted his comment out of context to turn it into something that was never said and never implied.

Romney is also being criticised by some for using the word "fire" in any context! If these critics have their way, it wouldn't be long before it would be politically incorrect to use any word for fear it will be purposely twisted. These folks need to realize that politics motivates the twisting of virtually any word that comes out of an opponent's mouth. We just need to check our gullibility at the door before we vote - preferably before we become too critical.

Now the connection is being made to venture capital firms such as Bain Capital, which in fact has successfully created a net of 10,000 new jobs and eliminated inefficiencies in disstressed companies. Isn't that what healthy capitalism is all about? One would think that those who have been entrepreneurs would understand this.