Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Here! Presidential Race Kicks Off!

Tomorrow, caucus-goers in Iowa will begin the process of electing a President in 2012.  It's always an interesting time in America as voters begin to take a fresh look at where we are as a country.

The Returning Champion
President Barack Obama
This year, President Barack Obama will be coming back for the opportunity to have four more years in the White House.  Obama has built a record that's both different and the same as past U.S. Presidents.  Given recent tracking poll information, the President seems to be doing a bit better and his prospects for reelection are improving.

The reelection prospects improve even more when you look at the Republican candidates for President.  It's not a group of people that really inspires people outside of each candidates' base.  Let's handicap the field of major Republican candidates.

Likely Republican Nominee
Former Massachusetts
Gov. Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has the most money, and he has the best organization.  Romney has obviously been in this with the idea that it's a marathon and not a sprint as he has not reacted in any knee-jerk manner to the several times that pretenders have appeared in front of him in the polls.  On top of all this, Romney is incorporating the lessons he learned from the mistakes his campaign made in 2008.  Now, after really finding himself down throughout most of the caucus season, he finds himself in the lead in many polls just a few days before the caucus begins in Iowa.

Romney is best-positioned to take on President Obama.  Obama will have tons of campaign cash, and Romney has the ability to raise it.  Even if he does not win the Iowa Caucus, make no mistake that he is the candidate to beat the rest of the way.

Darkhorse
Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX
Ron Paul is the darkhorse in all of this.  While the persistent allegations of skeletons in his closet persist, Paul has the most passionate and dedicated supporters of any candidate on the Republican side.  Paul also appeals to some Democrats and some independent voters with his anti-war and isolationist views.

Paul also has a tremendous organization that has put him in position to be the last out against Romney.  If Romney makes some missteps, then I think Paul could really put pressure on him from conservatives because of his loyal and unwavering following.  I think he fares much worse against Obama in a General Election fight.

Dropouts
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum may win the Iowa Caucus, but that will be the highlight of his campaign.  Santorum has picked up the designation of the "anti-Romney" too late to make any headway.  I hear his campaign has few dollars and little organization past Iowa.  A win in Iowa will put him on the map briefly, but he will quickly fade away as the primaries start.

Former U.S. House Speaker
Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich has moved from the top of the polls to also-ran about as quickly as some of the other candidates that we've seen top the national polls.  He was left for dead in this campaign over the summer when he had a mass exodus of campaign staffers, but he found himself to be the "anti-Romney" conservative candidate until he started to open his mouth in national interviews.  The tip of the iceberg for his downfall appeared to be when he made controversial comments about potentially arresting federal judges he disagreed with.  Now, he's found his polling numbers and support in a free fall.  When he was left off his adopted home state's ballot for the Virginia Primary, it made matters worse.  Gingrich may stay in this a while because he has nothing left to lose, but his comments a few weeks back that he thought he would be the nominee now seem hilarious.

Texas Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry is candidate whose entry into the race was quickly followed by lots of early support.  Once the Texas Governor was put in the spotlight of the media and began to show, frankly, a seeming lack of intelligence that would make George W. Bush look like a genius, he started to back up.  Perry has money and an organization, but the passion that followed his entry into the race really has cooled off and his recent "Hail Mary" moves like the Strong ad (that has become one of the most disliked videos in YouTube history) and other missteps have pushed him to drop-out status.  Expect Perry to hang around for a while, though.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN
Michele Bachmann started out so well, but her penchant for saying stupid things found her sliding backwards in the polls.  Bachmann has proven to be plenty good in a debate, but she is not so good on the stump.  Among her greatest hits, calling Concord, New Hampshire the starting place of the American Revolution, confusing Waterloo, Iowa's own John Wayne Gacy with John Wayne and many more.  Bachmann has proven that she is someone that might someday be ready for a national stage, and she has proven that she is far more ready to be President than someone like Sarah Palin, but that's honestly not saying much.  I think many of you are far more ready to be President than the reality tv star.  Bachmann will go back to Minnesota soon enough, but it wouldn't surprise me to see her run for a bigger office than U.S. House, someday.

Former Ambassador
Jon Huntsman
Jon Huntsman may be the most reasonable candidate on the Republican side, but that's because many of us on this side of the aisle see things as Democrats see things.  Huntsman was hoping to get some of Ronald Reagan's mojo when he picked the same spot as the Great Communicator to announce his campaign, but it just has not worked out.  It's too bad.  Huntsman is a thoughtful politician with a very impressive resume as both a former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah.  That immediately puts him at a disadvantage in a Republican field.

In future blog posts, I'll take a look at some of the other candidates that might make a difference this campaign season, and there are a few that could legitimately make a splash in a close election.

2 comments:

Paul K. Ogden said...

"Romney is best-positioned to take on President Obama"

I'm not sure I agree with this. 75% of the Republican electorate so dislike Romney they are willing to latch on to alternatives, regardless of how flawed those alternatives may be. The fact that 3 out of 4 people in your party dislike you that intensely is not a good sign for a general election.

Jon E. Easter said...

There is no one that's a true favorite of everyone in the party, Paul. Romney is the best-positioned to be a threat. That's all I'm saying. If he wins the nomination, many R's will warm to him because of their thirst to beat the President.