The 2012 presidential election is a mere 16 months away so naturally no one is talking about anything but election news. At this juncture, Obama would seem like the heavy favorite since he is the incumbent with some national security victories, and he isn’t answerable for anything too disastrous yet. Unfortunately for him, history tells us he is still very vulnerable because his economic policies aren’t perceived as very strong or successful; the longer the economy (in particular the unemployment rate) continues to flounder, the more Obama’s re-election bid will suffer.
This is very similar to the situation faced by George H. W. Bush during his re-election campaign in 1992. He had recently achieved a major military success (the Gulf War, akin to Obama’s killing of Osama bin Laden) but the economy was struggling. As the election unfolded Bill Clinton’s campaign focused entirely on the economy and was able to win the election. So, given this precedent, there does seem to be an opening for a strong Republican candidate to give Obama a run for his money.
With these things in mind, MindDrip explores the background and beliefs of the Republican presidential candidates for 2012. I didn’t really go too in-depth because, at this point, the candidate’s views all seem pretty much the same (e.g everything Obama has done is killing the US of A as we know it). On the political spectrum, nearly all the candidates are close neighbors (Huntsman is a little closer to the center than the rest while Bachman and Santorum are more conservative). At this stage of the game, with the primary election still to come, all the candidates are converging toward a more conservative platform in order to appeal to the strongly conservative Republican base. This could prove to be problematic for the winner of the primary, who will then be forced to slide many of his or her views back toward the center to appeal to the more moderate electorate that will take part in the general election. It happens to the winner of every primary, Democrat or Republican. It’s really a sickening process.
Credentials: Former Governor of Massachussetts, CEO of Bain and Company, handful of successful business ventures.
Romney is the current frontrunner for the GOP and has raised far more money to date than any of his rivals. He is notorious for his flip-flopping, as he is constantly remolding himself to reflect what the most current polls say the people want. From MindDrip’s point of view, he’s a slimy character who will quickly discard the beliefs he holds dear if it will get him a few more votes.
Romney was defeated by John McCain for the 2008 Republican nomination. Romney is the leading candidate not because Republicans like him but because he seems to be the least flawed of their weak group of candidates. Although Romney’s views have become more conservative over the years his past still works against him. The main concerns Republicans have with his past policies are his stances on health care and abortion. As governor of Massachusetts he promoted Obamacare-like reforms, which many people have retrospectively termed “Romneycare”. This attempt to save lives and improve the quality of life for his constituents is a major blemish on his record in the eyes of conservatives. Republicans like Tim Pawlenty have accused him of supporting Obama’s health care reforms and coined the term “Obamneycare” to refer to that support.
Over the years, Romney has had an evolving view of abortion. In 1994, when running for Senate, he was openly pro-choice. He said such things as, “I support the current law,” when talking about Roe v. Wade, and said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” He explained why he went against his party on this issue by telling the story of how a relative died from an illegal abortion. This all seems very rational and admirable, and Romney even said of his stance on abortion, “you will not see me wavering on that.” Alas, Romney has since remolded his views, wavered if you will, towards a pro-life stance. Republicans haven’t forgotten all his pro-choice talk though.
Miscellaneous: Whether Romney is having trouble finding anything less than a $100 bill in his wallet, reluctantly acknowledging science against his Republican overlord’s wishes, or strapping his dog to the top of his car (“PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”), Romney doesn’t always come off looking good. He may have trouble winning over enough Republicans with his flip-flopping and his Mormon background. It also doesn’t help that he is the frontrunner. Frontrunners tend to feel the full hurricane of media scrutiny early in the race and that can often lead to the type of negative press which will prevent them from winning.
Best Romney quotes:
“I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.” (Romney’s campaign later said he’d been hunting twice, once when he was 15, and once in 2006 at a Republican fundraiser.)
“I’m happy to learn that after I speak you’re going to hear from Ann Coulter. That’s a good thing. I think it’s important to get the views of moderates.” –right before Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot”.
Gingrich was a member of the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999 and served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. He was Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1995. Since 1995 he has primarily worked as a political analyst and advisor.
Gingrich’s campaign has hit a rough patch lately as many of his Senior aides have left him. One aid was quoted lamenting Gingrich’s inability to raise funds for his campaign. Gingrich’s failure to come up with necessary finances has shown itself in other areas too. He had also received bad press when the news broke that he had two huge credit accounts; one in the area of $250,000 and the other around a million. Could Gingrich’s insatiable appetite for Tiffany’s line of fine jewelry and silverware become an issue if he becomes president? Where will he find the time to spend so much money when he has to deal with the busy schedule of being President? Oh yeah, I almost forgot…since the Eisenhower era Thursdays have unofficially been the President’s shopping day.
Anyways, I don’t want to waste too much time on a candidate who obviously isn’t going anywhere. Whether he’s accidentally infuriating fellow Republicans by speaking his mind, or comparing Muslims to Nazis, Gingrich is probably toast because he’s got neither cash nor momentum. Also, he doesn’t really look presidential. This probably matters more than you’d think.
Gingrich compared the Muslims who wanted to open an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan to the German Reich, saying it “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.”
A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that’s what freedom is all about.
The Governor of Minnesota from 2003-2011, he is known as the most boring candidate, although he tries to counter that image with short films depicting himself as an action hero. He’s a social conservative (like everyone else on this list) who opposes gay marriage and “Don’t ask don’t tell,” and would like to overturn “Roe vs. Wade.” He’s no fan of unions and is most concerned with balancing the budget or at least cutting the deficit. All these views could be considered safe views shared by nearly all the Republican candidates. So lately, Pawlenty has transformed into a war-monger in order to stand out from the pack. Sure, he’s just pandering to the war-focused Republicans who haven’t really got the attention they feel they deserve so far in this campaign but it’s a slightly fresh view.
Pawlenty’s main problem is his lack of name-recognition and his inability to change that. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he became President but it would certainly be surprising. Pawlenty has tried to shake things up a little and get his name out there, like when he released his ridiculous budget proposal. He’s probably not going to put up too strong of a showing.
Quotes: He’s too boring to have any good quotes.
Cain has been the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and has worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. What other credentials do you really need to be president of the most powerful nation on the earth? Cain has been making his rounds at Tea Party events and has actually been gaining some momentum. He was even pegged by many as the winner of the first Republican candidates’ debate.
Personally, I like what Cain brings to the table. It’s enjoyable (not to mention easy) to make fun of uptight, rich white conservatives but the conservative, black Presidential candidate is a rarity like no other. So far, it’s been pretty funny to see Cain play the race card whenever possible (see this for an example), especially since racism is clearly not something new to Cain. During the relatively short time he’s been campaigning he’s already been quoted saying he was “uncomfortable” with a Muslim surgeon because “based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them,” and made the normal claims that Muslims are gradually trying to force Sharia law onto America. Maybe if he’s elected President he’ll have time to do a little more research on Islam and stunt his irrational fear of Muslims. All in all you have to be impressed that Cain is even in the discussion though. He has practically no political experience and 6 months ago no one had heard of him yet he still has a chance.
Santorum is perhaps the first candidate mentioned so far who has virtually no chance of winning the presidency. He is extremely socially conservative and also fiscally conservative. There is no way that someone so far right of moderate America would be elected President.
“I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.”
“Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”
“The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.”
The right to privacy “doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution”
Jon Huntsman Jr.
He’s a little known candidate. He may struggle in Iowa, after only receiving one vote out of 481 participants in this poll. He is most recently the US’s former ambassador to China and was the Governor of Utah. He has been described as somewhat moderate in some of his views—which would explain his poor showing in the above-mentioned poll. At this point of the game a good Republican candidate is very conservative. The funny thing is that his moderate views would actually help him gain a lot of support if was able to get through the primaries to face Obama. Unfortunately for him, that doesn’t appear too likely. His website, http://www.jonhuntsman.com/, also seems a little off for a presidential candidate running against Obama.
Bachmann surprised everyone by announcing her run for the presidency during the middle of a presidential debate. She is a former lawyer, mother of 28, Queen of Crazytown, and Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She supports the removal of a minimum wage, the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, domestic drilling of oil, and obviously, the banning of gay-marriage. She despises Obamacare. She has claimed she has the same spirit as notorious rapist/serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
What if Sarah Palin and Bachmann run on the same ticket? This article discusses the horrifying possibility.
“If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” Michele Bachmann, Jan. 2005
“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, on the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak that happened when Gerald Ford, a Republican, was president, April 28, 2009
“There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, Oct. 2006
“Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, April, 2009
The Roundown Conclusion:
These candidates all are deeply flawed. It’s hard to imagine the US being under the leadership of any of these candidates, especially the favorites. After researching the candidates it also seems pretty unlikely to me that any Muslims vote republican. Also thanks to Gawker.com for most of the sources for the funny stories about the politicians.
-M.F. Brown 7/6/2011