Monday, September 26, 2011

The state of the GOP race

It's amazing to me that the GOP is in the position when they have a realistic chance of defeating a president who came in with more buzz and media hype and good will than any other president I can remember in my time. Through his own mistakes and the tough times we've had, he's a very vulnerable reelection candidate. The Republicans have a lot of people in the party who might be very exciting candidates; they either aren't ready or have taken themselves out of the race. So we're left with all these candidates who don't excite many people. The fact that we keep bouncing around with new flavors of the month ins how dissatisfied Republicans are with the menu of candidates they've been. It reminds me a lot of 1992. The Democrats had candidates they might have liked a whole lot better than Bill Clinton or Paul Tsongas, but they had to go with the candidates who showed up at the dance. Michele Bachmann might say that this is the year when we shouldn't have to settle for a candidate. But heck, I've been settling for a candidate for a long, long time. As a Republican, I'm rather used to it by now.

Philip Klein takes apart Romney's defense of Romneycare. Romney sure has benefited from Perry's entry into the campaign. The other candidates focused their attacks on a weakening Perry and mostly let Romney slide. Watch for the next debate to pick up the Romney attacks. And perhaps the other candidates can do a better job than Perry on exposing Romney's flaws. If I were the Romney team I'd make sure he was prepared for these sorts of attacks. If he can withstand the expected barrage, he'll probably slide through to the nomination. As Barone explains, the debate left most Republicans wanting someone other than the people on the stage. Jennifer Rubin has some fun channeling what Chris Christie might have been yelling at the TV screen during the GOP debate. Funnily enough, Christie seems to be shouting the same things that Jennifer Rubin has been writing.

I just don't buy into all the pipe dreams about Chris Christie getting into the race. If he did, I'd be thrilled and support him. But Rick Perry has demonstrated the dangers of jumping in the race late without solid preparation. And GOP voters might find that Christie has unappealing positions on several core conservative positions such as global warming and immigration. I bet he could do a whole lot better than Perry in the debates, but he'd have a hard time getting past his statements that he's not "ready" to be president. It's one thing to say you're not ready to run for the presidency; it's another thing to say you're not ready for the job once you got it. We've just had close to three years experiencing what it's like for someone who wasn't ready for the job. I appreciate Christie's self-knowledge and forthrightness in acknowledging his own weaknesses. I'd still support him, but he's not the slam-dunk that so many GOP elites think he is.

It's a powerful argument to be told that you can win the whole contest and that the path is wide open for you with the big money people ready to support you. I have to respect Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie for resisting that siren's call. I just wish they hadn't.

We're at the point that we have more respect for those who don't want the job than those that do.

It kinda makes the bad ol' days when a bunch of party leaders would sit around the proverbially smoke-filled room and pick the best guy to win the race and govern. They'd probably do better than the stage full of people who chose themselves to run

And at least, we got some good humor out of SNL about the debate. I couldn't object to any of their jabs.