I was already thinking along the lines of the title when I got word via “The Hill” that one of Tim Pawlenty’s hometown Minnesota newspapers put the news of Pawlenty entering the Presidential race on its obituaries page. To me, that is the quintessential metaphor for the actions and chances of the Republicans vying to unseat President Obama.
Most of what would have been serious contenders for the Republican nomination have declined to run. On that list is Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels, among others. They seem to understand that beating Obama will be difficult if not impossible, and that the chances would be much better to run in 2016 against a non-incumbent. Every single person currently running for the Republican nomination is unelectable. They are so far from what it would take to be electable that one wonders why they are even bothering or why anyone would donate money to their cause. Let’s run down the list:
You could write a book on all the mistakes Newt Gingrich has made and problems he has had since declaring his candidacy. I’ll concentrate on some of the worst ones.
Recently it came out that Gingrich at one time owed half a million dollars to Tiffany’s for jewelry purchases. The issues that raises are pretty obvious. How does someone like that relate to everyday Americans? Isn’t someone who would spend that amount on jewelry superficial? Et cetera. The impact of all of that could have been blunted by a good explanation or dealt with by a good apology, but instead Gingrich gave a non-explanation, calling it a “regular revolving account” when asked about it, and giving no other details. If he cannot deal with an issue like that in a straightforward way, how is he going to deal with difficult decisions he makes as President?
Last week, Gingrich criticized the Ryan plan, the budget plan the entire Republican Party has gotten behind to oppose President Obama’s budget. The Wall Street Journal followed with an article accusing Gingrich of throwing fellow Republicans “off a Grand Canyon rim” and then there was video of Newt being chewed out by an Iowa Republican voter for attacking Ryan’s plan.
Gingrich’s flip-flopping on intervention in Libya is mind-numbing. This video by TPMTV shows about twelve separate changes of direction by Newt in a four-week period on what he believes regarding how we should handle Libya. With this kind of a track record, can anyone imagine Gingrich acting decisively as commander-in-chief?
All of the above regarding Gingrich is bad, but it is worse considering where he starts the nomination process, and that is with the reputation of excoriating Bill Clinton for having an affair while simultaneously carrying on an affair of his own and having two marriages end because Newt started affairs with other women. That kind of hypocrisy is serious and would be an obstacle all by itself to getting a party’s nomination, let alone winning a general election. Combine that with the rest of his issues and Gingrich is going nowhere.
Michele Bachmann’s chances for the nomination and general election can be summed up in two words: “Tea Party”. She has aligned herself very tightly with the Tea Party. She proclaimed herself chairperson of the House Tea Party Caucus and delivered the “Tea Party Response” to the President’s State of the Union address. While that could be seen to be a positive thing 18 months ago, the Tea Party is now very unpopular in the country and seen by the Republican establishment as an annoyance at best and the reason they didn’t win back the Senate in 2010 at worst. The bad news for Bachmann is that the Republican establishment has a stranglehold on the GOP Presidential nomination process. Nationwide, opinion polls regarding the Tea Party show that the Tea Party is viewed negatively by anywhere from 15-50% more people than view it positively. Anyone tied to the Tea Party is unelectable. Continue reading Have Republicans Already Lost the 2012 Presidential Election?