Using the full name of the GOP seems more appropriate given the gossip, innuendo and accusations that are flying off the airwaves and at stump speeches in South Carolina. It reminds me of a real party where party guests are stretching half-truths all over the place and spreading fertilizer to make a good story. The listeners, watchers and readers have to be on their toes to know where the BS starts and stops.
Quoting the father of a friend of mine, we should begin with this premise – “believe half of what you read and nothing of what you hear.” This may be too kind to some politicians where believing half of what they have written is a stretch. Here are a few odds and ends to consider as we try to ferret through the various comments.
We are witnessing the entire Newt Gingrich – the good Newt and the bad Newt. He is smart, but also fickle and mercurial. He has some good ideas, but some that will make your head spin. He has a high sense of self and is not known for collaboration. His fellow Republicans conducted a coup against him to have him ousted as Speaker of the House. Plus, his ethics violation and fine are true stories and the concerns over his consulting arrangements are fair game. Yet, he is being unfairly vilified for appearing with Nancy Pelosi on a global warming commercial. There he was in the right.
Mitt Romney is not perfect either, but who is. His challenge is to hide the fact he is a moderate, which is what our country needs and why he will appeal to the independents, but not conservative Republicans. His greatest success has been the Massachusetts Health Care which was copied by President Obama for the national Health Care Reform. Most Republicans who argue against Health Care Reform have no idea what they are arguing against – it is not perfect, but the status quo is broken – yet, Romney has to run from this success. The Bain Capital criticism is fair. Private equity has its place when done well, but there is a dark side to private equity, which the American public may not appreciate. Private equity investors are looking to make money. It is not unusual for them to buy a distressed company, strip it down to create profits and then sell off pieces or the whole. As this comes out, it will be harmful to him.
Ron Paul is steadfast in his beliefs and convictions. You know what you will get. I like some of what he says and the questions he asks. Yet, there are ideas baked into his thinking that are somewhat scary. The younger folks like his freshness, but are less grounded through experience to distinguish his good ideas from his bad ones. There is a role for government beyond what he touts, as people are not as altruistic as we would hope. Businesses do not want regulation, but having been a former business person, they need them. So, abolishing all of what he wants provides good sound bites, but we do need government to play a role.
Rick Perry needs to go back to Texas as he is wasting people’s time. Independents will not react well to the governor and my guess is he will leave the race after Florida. Jon Huntsman is the best candidate in the field to my way of thinking, but he is too reasonable and well grounded to have a chance in the Republican party. That is unfortunate as if he won over the President, we would have a good leader who will collaborate with others.
That brings me to Rick Santorum, the Glenn Beck of the race. His evangelical posturing which is his main thrust is bothersome to me. It overshadows his other ideas and stances and it is hard for many to look past this posturing to see if his ideas have merit. He rallies the evangelical base and may be the candidate by default as people tire of Newt’s antics and Perry drops out of the race.
Watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night, the author of “The Daily Beast” blog correctly pointed out that if Europe goes into a recession and the debt crisis continues, it will negatively impact the US. Which means the President may not get reelected as a result. So, his question to the host is “who do you want the Republican candidate to be as he may win?”
With that said, there may even be another variable with a serious third party candidate. It could be a Ron Paul or it could be someone from the America Elects movement which has some serious people behind it. If they came out with a candidate like Erskine Bowles, e.g., that might get people’s attention. So, sitting here in January, I am thinking we have more fireworks ahead at the Grand Old Party and we may see some interesting developments both inside and outside of it.