CPAC and its straw poll probably represent the official start of the Republican primary. Most all of the candidates who are serious about running were there. Some did well. In fact, I can’t think of any that did really poorly. Over the last couple of days, I have gotten emails from people asking me TPN’s position on the candidates.
Right now, TPN is not endorsing any of the candidates. In 2010, we decided we were not going to endorse candidates where there were two or more good conservative candidates fighting it out. We are reconsidering that decision and may come out at a later date and endorse someone.
However, as anyone who has read my blogs knows, I have strong opinions on almost everything. So I thought I would do my personal straw poll on the potential candidates for 2012.
At this point, I remain undecided who will get my support. There are some that I can tell you will not receive my support and there are some that it is unlikely I would ever say yes to. There are still others I could support and a few I really like. That is how I am breaking down this poll. As I look at this, I am thinking about two factors. First, are they really conservative? Do they really support our Tea Party values? Second, and in many ways almost as important, are they electable? It is pointless to have a candidate we agree with 100% if that candidate, for whatever reason, is unelectable. If I have to choose between an unelectable 100% candidate and an electable 90%, I am going for the 90%. 90% is certainly better than four more years of Zero!
Starting with those whose candidacy is unsupportable or is DOA.
Mitt Romney. He is the quintessential RINO. In Massachusetts, he gave them “Romneycare”. He tried to run for the Senate to the left of Ted Kennedy. I generally oppose a third party but I would have to look very hard at a third party if Romney were the GOP nominee.
Gary Johnson. Is he kidding? He is the former governor of New Mexico who is pro abortion, pro gay rights, and pro marijuana. He has about the same chance of becoming the GOP nominee as I do. And I am not running!
John Huntsman. The RINO Obama ambassador to China? Is he like the “Rent is too damn high” candidate?
Chris Christie. I really like Chris Christie. He is doing some remarkable things in New Jersey. If he were running he would be much higher. But he said he is not running.
Alan West. West rocked the close at CPAC. He is a rising star and I expect to see him moving up in the next few years. However, he is a freshman congressman this year and needs more time on the national scene. Look at some point in the future to see an enthusiastic endorsement of West from me. Also, he’s not running.
Rand Paul. As a freshman senator, he came in and started making waves. His proposal to cut $500 billion from the budget, though it had no chance, was an outstanding start (with the exception of the cuts he wants for military spending). He is not running though there is a draft Rand Paul committee out there. Again, if he were running, he would be much higher.
Ron Paul. Fortunately, this is one Paul whose candidacy is DOA. He has no chance and that is a good thing. Yesterday, Young Americans for Freedom kicked Ron Paul out of its advisory group because of his bizarre alliance with leftist peace activists and his refusal to support going after those responsible for 9/11 and for not denouncing the truthers in his base of supporters.
Tim Pawlenty. Tim who? He is the former governor of Minnesota. He got 4% at CPAC but remains mostly unknown. The next President maybe from Minnesota, but it won’t be Pawlenty.
Rick Perry. Perry has started a national tour, but he is a moderate. He is not strong on cutting taxes, nor on social issues and favors importing workers from Mexico.
Here is the list of candidates who are not my first choice but who I might be able to pull the lever for.
Newt Gingrich. Since he left congress ten years ago, Gingrich has been a Washington insider. I still have not forgotten that commercial he did, sitting on the park bench with Nancy Pelosi. Gingrich would have to do a lot before I enthusiastically support him.
Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is right on social issues and wrong on fiscal issues. He supports “a path to citizenship” for illegals and that is just about the kiss of death in my mind. If I had to choose between him and Obama, he would get my vote. It would just take ten minutes for me to force myself to push that button.
Mitch Daniels. His speech at CPAC has clearly raised his stock. A lot of people are talking about him now. The reaction from Indiana is mixed. A lot of people in Indiana give him low marks because he did not stand up to the unions and make Indiana a right to work state. He is soft on immigration and has bought into the “Green energy” myth.
John Bolton. The former UN ambassador is making waves in Tea Party circles. He is blunt and outspoken. His credentials are in the foreign policy realm but is saying some things that cause some in conservative circles concern. He favored repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and favors gay marriage, which could doom his chances in the GOP.
Here are the candidates I could support but do not make the cut to the top tier.
Sarah Palin. Aside from Michele Bachmann, no candidate did more in 2010 to be associated with the Tea Party movement. From being the headliner at the National Tea Party convention last year to making numerous Tea Party appearances, Sarah Palin has tried very hard to identify her brand with the Tea Party movement. So why isn’t she higher in my straw poll? There are three reasons. First, she came out in support of GOProud at CPAC. My issues with GOProud have been documented here before so I won’t rehash them. Second, she has said in the past she supports, “a path to citizenship.” She has not come out and opposed amnesty. Finally, there is the electability issue. For better or worse, other than Barack Obama, she may be the most recognized and well-known politician in America. Almost everyone who knows of her has an opinion of her. She is one of very few Republican candidates that Barack Obama beats in the polls. Palin’s problem is she is so well known it is hard for her to pick up any new traction. Hillary Clinton had the same problem in 2008. The difference for Palin in 2011/12 will be that she will not have the same friendly lap dog Hillary had, namely the drive-by media beating their drum of support.
Haley Barbour. The Governor of Mississippi is the good old boy everyone wants to invite to the neighborhood cookout. He has that old southern charm, but unfortunately that is not enough. As a former chair of the RNC, he does have the connections to run a good race. Unfortunately, he has not shown a commitment to rolling back socialism and he is soft on amnesty.
The TOP tier. These are the candidates who I am looking at right now.
Michele Bachman. Bachman has been with the Tea Party movement since the beginning. She started a Tea Party Caucus in the House and is right on almost all of the issues. She does run against the old rule that someone from the House of Representatives cannot get elected President. (James Garfield was the only President to come directly from the House of Representatives and that was 1880!).
John Thune. If he runs, he is a solid conservative. Thune’s biggest problem is going to be name recognition. The conservative base will know him but few outside of activists and South Dakota residents will. But he has time, if he runs.
Jim DeMint. Next month, he is going to give a speech in Iowa. He has said he is not running but all things are subject to change. DeMint single handedly stopped Harry Reid’s attempt to shove a massive budget bill through in December. He has been dubbed the Tea Party Senator and is right on all of the issues.
Herman Cain. The former Godfather’s Pizza executive had a huge role in the defeat of Hillarycare back in the 90’s. He is a syndicated columnist and a radio talk show host. Though he has never held elective office, he is right on the issues and would be a formidable opponent to Obama. His business experience is also a significant plus, as unlike Obama, Cain has actually created jobs.
The wild card:
Donald Trump. Let’s be blunt. Trump is a businessman not a conservative. He is an incredibly talented businessman. He has not only name recognition that surpasses Sarah Palin’s, his favorability ratings are much higher too. Some experts have said Obama will spend a billion dollars on his reelection campaign. Trump, out of his own personal wealth can write a check that will instantly level the playing field, regardless of how many illegal contributions Obama gets. The down side for conservatives is that Trump is not a conservative. He recently gave $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign to become Chicago Mayor. He does take on the Chinese squarely, saying they are not our friends and out to harm America. Right now, his positions on so many issues are unknown. Trump has flirted with a presidential run before. This time he is serious. Who knows what he could do.
This year, conservatives are in the enviable position of having a number of good candidates to choose from. We also have a number of candidates out there that could destroy the conservative movement. We need to choose the candidate we are going to support. But, this time, we must choose carefully.
What do you think of Tom Tancredo? Carries some baggage but.... ?
Glad you are not opinionated!
Perhaps I am.
I'll not go into such detail as you! Just a few remarks.
Mitch Daniels. His speech at CPAC was seen as good, but I can't say! Fell asleep in the middle of the transcript: just a rehash.
Ron Paul: won again at CPAC straw pool again. So much for their straw poll!
CPAC this year saw a drop-out of the best conservative groups this year. So much for CPAC to me!
Mike Huckabee plays a decent guitar. Any other qualifications?
Who me opinionated? Never.
Huck plays a very good bass. I had a chance to see him a few months ago. I'd love to watch him in a jam session. Would not want to see the jam session at the White House unless he was a guest.
I concur on all...especially Schmuckabee. I guess I would have to say he's about the best spoiler since Perot!
I'll never give him the time of day since he conspired with McAmnesty to throw the admittedly RINO Romney out of the race; at least Mitt was better than Juan!...I also have to say that I could never stomach the sight of him. He looks like a slimy TV Evangelist who's parents were Dick Nixon and Kevin Spacey, altho i don't know how that would have been possible! ;-) I wish he would just take the (gag me) show on FNC and leave us alone!
Oh, apologies to Huckabee fans...it's just one of those things. Also, I do thank John for picking Sarah. And although I hope she doesn't run, (they will literally put her 6 feet under if she does), I think she and Michelle Bachmann, (DeMint and a couple more), are the closest to real conservatives we have to chose from! I think that it is fantastic that we have so many to chose from, unlike the other side...but, we have to get busy!
I have to admit that because so many bonafide conservatives didn't attend 'C'PAC, I didn't watch almost all of it...I did watch Allen West hit it outta da park in this link:
Enjoy his speech, (if you haven't seen it already); he is a rock star who is, without a doubt, on our side.
GO WEST! And if you all don't mind, I would like to another link with Allen's speech at CPAC, as the one from the Right Scoop is a bit out of focus (sorry!)...here it is, directly from CPAC's website:
Allen West is a dyed in the wool American patriot with the emotional maturity, character, and wisdom to be a great President. I LOVE the fact that he is NOT a career politician; he made a career out of serving his country in the US Army. He is an outsider to Washington, DC. He has decades of top-notch executive experience due to his career as an officer in the US Army. He can appeal to independents and Dems as well as conservatives, as he was elected to Congress from one of the most liberal districts in Florida. Without compromising or diluting his conservative credentials and morals in any way, he appeals to all different kinds of people across the political spectrum. People in South Florida know he is dedicated Tea Partier. He has been solidly with the Tea Partiers from the beginning. He fully understands America's Islamic enemies, is not afraid to call them out for what they are, and will take appropriate action to protect our country from all the dangers in the world today. He will never turn his back on Israel. He is a true Christian and great leader of very high integrity. I pray he runs. I'll work my butt off to help him win.
Plus, Keith Olbermann voted him Worst Person In The World at least 7 times. That has got to count for something!
We attended the Free Republic convention that coincided with the 9-12-09 DC tea party at the Capital.
Friday 9-11-09 there was a meet n greet hour or so followed by a couple of speakers and concluded with memorial moments by candlelight to remember those whose lives were taken by Islamic terrorists.
The first person that greeted my DH, I and our disabled son as we entered the greeting room was Allen. We talked for a good while as others were still slowly making their way to the roof top room. As former Floridians we were very interested in where he was running and the challenges he had faced. He ran for Congress in 2008 and lost but he took it all in stride. He was very personable, articulate and full of wisdom from above. Soon enough we realized he was one of the speakers that evening. Wow, what an energizing speech he gave. It was succinct and filled with determination on what America really needs in way of leadership and direction. Immediately I knew in my heart he should have been the first black president. He would not only do America right but would be an inspiration and hero to young black children as well as the black community at large. Instead we had a Marxist as the first black president. Race relations have deteriorated under Obama amongst a multitude of other major anti America behaviors and policies as we all know so well.
Whenever Allen runs for Congress again, the Senate or President we will be behind him 100%. He is the real deal. We were very excited to see him win the congressional seat this past November. Watching many interviews with him front and center was always the same guy we met in person
I like Jim Demint, John Thune, Michele Bachman and Herman Cain as well for the top tier. Any mixture of them as Pres./Vice Pres. would be great as well. Sarah Palin has been through hell and high water and appears to be a love hate candidate even amongst conservatives. Sadly, she took one for the good guys and now is found lacking nationally. Her backing of McCain and amnesty/pathway for illegals was her undoing amongst conservatives. She could be a VP candidate again with the right President candidate and win but not with her at the top of the ticket.