Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOPer Presidential field - Perry in, Pawlenty out, Bachmann getting headlines

While most of us tried to enjoy the weekend, most of America's political reporters (few are actual journalists) were focused on a Republican "straw poll" in Ames, Iowa.

While hardly serving as a predictor of which candidate is going to win the R nomination or even the Iowa caucuses early next year (you know, the vote that actually counts for something officially), it does serve as an early test of who has the best organization in Iowa, an early primary state.

The Ames straw poll has lost some of its luster in recent years - 2008 GOP nominee John McCain skipped this event in 2007, and the 2007 winner and the front runner in national polls this year, Mitt Romney, skipped it this year.

- In case you have been living under a rock - or were at least smarter than me and didn't turn on a cable news show this weekend - MN Congresswoman Michele Bachmann eked out a victory over TX Congressman (and perennial candidate) Ron Paul.  Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third.

Quick analysis:  While most winners of the straw poll do NOT go on to win the GOP nomination, winning is still better than losing.  Bachmann is still viewed by most (including many Rs) as a "fringe" candidate.   However, she's still got some upside; Paul has probably reached the top end of his candidacy.  He may stay in the top tier for a while, but he's probably going to fade.

- Pawlenty expended a lot of time and effort in Iowa.  His disappointing showing of a rather distant third led him to drop out of the race this morning.  While he may have been one of the GOP's better options for the general election, he didn't generate much buzz among GOP primary voters, and you need to win the primary before getting to the general.

Quick analysis:  Add his name to the list of potential GOP VP candidates.  If GOP voters pick an "extreme" or "tea party" candidate like Bachmann, look for their ticket to be balanced by someone more mainstream like Pawlenty or AZ's soon-to-be retired Sen. Jon Kyl.  If someone more "mainstream" like Romney gets the nod, they'll go with someone who appeals to the hardcore base, like a Bachmann or former PA Senator Rick Santorum (warning: link probably not safe for work).

- TX Governor Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry made official what everyone already knew by announcing his candidacy yesterday in South Carolina, before trekking to New Hampshire.  He had announced in May that he wasn't going to be a candidate for President, but flip-flopped (perhaps after realizing that the rest of the R field has some serious weaknesses).

Quick analysis:  It's easy to dismiss Perry as just another "all hat, no cattle" Texas pol, but that happened in 1999/2000 with another governor from Texas, and we all know how that turned out.



Thane Eichenauer said...

"probably going to fade"

Why? Ron Paul stuck it out to the very end in 2008. He has overcome the media dismissing him out of hand. His supporters in 2008 are still here in 2011. He has put out a couple of books since 2008 and he has the support of a US Senator (Rand Paul).

I rather think the question in my head is how many platform ideas will the other Republican candidates adopt from Ron Paul without being overt about it. The answer may well be none but I would think a smart candidate would adopt a few unobtrusively. Perry or Bachmann (or Cain) deciding to trumpet auditing the Fed could well be difference between winning and loosing the nomination (and general election).

Phoenix Justice said...

In my mind, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee will be Jeb Bush, as I posted back in November of last year on my blog. He is seen by many around the nation as a moderate and a very viable candidate.

He could enter the race as late as November (2011) and will have a swell of donors. The Koch Brothers may love the tea baggers, but the average Republican voter doesn't and that's to the benefit of Jeb Bush.

cpmaz said...

Thane - IMHO, Paul has very strong appeal among a very limited part of the R/tea party/Libertarian faction. He may garner nearly 100% support among that group, but that group is far from a majority of the country, or even the Republican Party.

He may yet prove me wrong, but until that happens...

Phoenix J. - I think too many people blame a still horrible economy on Jeb's brother. Perhaps if Obama wins reelection next year (far from a guaranteed event), look for Jeb Bush to mount a serious campaign in 2016.

Plus, this is *not* the year for any R who might be described as "moderate." The best thing for the R establishment might be to let one of the tea party loons win the nomination and hope he or she falls flat on their face in the general election.

opinionerator said...

One more time: Happy Birthday Elvis oops, it's not his birthday? It is now cause I said so... Love Michele