Saturday, June 04, 2011

18 months; a political lifetime.

There is a great joke about a kid asking his dad what a light year is. His father, who was not too bright, answered that a light year has a third less calories than a regular year. While we know that a light year is a actually a measure of distance, there are many definition of a political year.

In politics, one year can seem like a lifetime, or it can seem like three months; depending on whether you are ahead or behind in the polls. In reality, a year is very, very long time. Eighteen months in politics is almost too long to measure.

A month ago, how many people thought Donald Trump would actually make a viable candidate for the Republicans? I ran into a lot of them. I would tell them to look past the terrible comb-over and look at what the man has done in the political world. He has given money to Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, Charles Rangel, Harry Reid and other liberal democrats. That is more than enough for me. Thankfully, his fifteen minutes of candidate driven fame is over. However, for a brief instance, Trump was front-page presidential news.

As the presidential election season kicks into high gear this fall, the race on the Republican side is slowly taking shape. Right now, the media is talking about a weak Republican field and how they are desperate for a fresh face to rally the troops. I must admit that no one stands out as head and shoulders above the rest right now, but the race is still in its 'look presidential and don't say anything stupid' phase. As soon as Labor Day rolls around, people will start demanding real answers, real policies, and digging deeper into the beliefs of the candidates.

So, here is my two sentence recap of the declared Republican candidates so far.

Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney; A very competent, successful businessman and Governor, but the healthcare plan he passed in Massachusetts will be millstone around his neck. Is the nation ready for a Mormon president, and does that even matter to voters right now?

Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; Bright, charismatic, idea man, with a very flawed personal life. I think he is in there to sell books and raise his future speaking fee.

Former governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty; Fairly solid conservative, with a good record as governor to fall back on. Not the most inspiring guy in the field, but a solid candidate; he needs money right now to make it in the top tier.

Former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum; The social conservative's choice in the race right now. Very outspoken, passionate, and not afraid to mix it up, but he would be trounced in the general election.

Congressman Dr. Ron Paul; Basically a Libertarian running as a Republican. His followers are extremely dedicated, very smart people, and once again, Ron Paul has zero chance of winning. (Sorry Pauliacs)

As for Herm Cain, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Tom Miller, Buddy Roemer, Vern Wuensche; good luck fellas, you are going need it.

Who is still on the sidelines? Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is out, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie is being recruited big time, and there are rumors of a draft Paul Ryan movement in certain GOP circles. There are also many folks who wish Governor Rick Perry was from any state other than Texas. Another Texas governor may be a little too soon for the country. If former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush's last name was Smith, he would be front runner right now. Again, the anti-Bush feeling would be too strong in a general election.

Everyone is waiting to see what former Alaskan governor, and Tea party star, Sarah Palin will do.

I think Christie would be great for the Republicans right now. The man tells it like it is, has no tolerance for BS, and would make whoever comes out of the primary race a stronger candidate for the general election. He may even take the nomination, if the stars align for him. Paul Ryan is great, but like Barack Obama, he has no executive experience. Palin is the wild card, in more ways than one.

If she declares, she sucks all the air out of the room for the other candidates. She goes straight to the top of the polls, and she will be the headline on the front page of every newspaper, magazine, news show, and blog for months. She will also split the GOP right down the middle. The Republican power structure, with the money and political power, will do everything it can to destroy Palin. She will also come under immediate, viscous and unrelenting attacks from the media. She will be a framed as an illiterate, backwoods, she-devil, and that is just from the people at CNN and MSNBC.

Will Sarah Palin run president? I don't think she will, but I could be wrong. Would I vote for her in the Primary? Depends on who is left in the field when California votes. I think Palin could be a great help in the election, raising money, whipping up people who are not politically active right now, but I don't think she has a chance of winning the presidency.

The Republicans are going to make this into a 'you tried the slick, polished novice, why not try someone who has actually created jobs and balanced a few budgets in hard times' contest. Governors Christie, Pawlenty, Perry and Romney can say I know how to get this done, I have the record to prove it. Palin's chances for president took a huge hit when she resigned from 0ffice as Governor of Alaska. We don't like quitters, and whether it's fair or not, she will has that image to overcome.

One thing is for sure, November 2012 is a long, long way away. Remember, in June of 2008, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton were leading the polls. How did that race work out for them?