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Who’ll be the GOP nominee?

Tour d’ horizon – the GOP field for 2012.

Romney
Prohibitive favourite. Looks the part, cool under pressure, executive, impeccable bio, 2nd last time, money likes him, Huckabee out.

The big strike against him is that he’s not a visceral conservative, he’s a visceral technocrat. I don’t want another ‘compassionate conservative’ to maintain the dyke against the socialist tsunami. I want America moved up from swampland to the high ground of The City On The Hill. That means originalist Supreme Court judges and a Pauline conversion to domestic policies that observe the plain meaning of the Constitution to limit government. Romney will say a lot of the right things, but his record doesn’t convince ideological conservatives like me. That said, good executives learn from experience, so conservatives will certainly rally to him versus Obama.

Pawlenty/Daniels
Mostly good records but lacking charisma. Calvin Coolidge, perhaps the best President in last 100 years, was charismatically anti-charismatic, but he was appointed in the first instance. Maybe the time is right for the contrast between Daniels and Obama to work in Daniels’ favour. Obama’s supposed charisma was stale and phony in 2008. Now it stinks. But I just don’t see Daniels outwitting Romney, especially since his social conservatism is in question too.

Cain
Has a lot going for him and I liked his humility when asked about Afghanistan, tho that also speaks to a certain shallowness on policy. He’s a mostly credible conservative and a happy-ish warrior. I could see the Tea Party coalescing around him. Possible weaknesses include political inexperience, support for affirmative action, support for TARP, matiness toward the Federal Reserve of which he was once a honcho, cancer history, lack of a base. VP?

Bachmann
Fine, brave, impressive conservative. I don’t find her telegenic (wrong contact lenses?) and I do find her somewhat boring. But, by God, she’s right….on Obama, on Global Warming, on health care, on entitlements.

Perry
Strong executive record, much stronger than Romney’s for a conservative governor. You could see him teaming up with Giuliani (whom he endorsed in ’08) to make a broadband but convincing conservative ticket. Giuliani would be the supporting act on that poster since he lacks the hunger for the primary fight.

A big strike against Perry is his attempt to mandate the HPV vaccine…very strange.

Paul
Well Paul is my man on domestic policy and the political landscape has favourable contours for his big issues. The defence of Israel is a touchstone for me, and I find Paul jejune on the Islamist threat in general, so I’m stuck there, but Paul is so right and so thought through on most matters domestic that he could be a major influence in this cycle.

Sitting it out….Christie and Jeb
Both these guys are obviously ‘Presidentiabile’. They both have incomplete Tea Party credentials, Christie worse than Jeb, but are both gifted politicians and impressive men. Christie is a neophyte governor for now and knows it, but Jeb brings so much to the table that it seems wrong that he’s not running just because he’s a Bush. He brings electoral success in a swing state, Hispanics, a track record, unflappability, likability, credibility, gravitas. I think I’d draft him if Romney polls weakly against Obama.

Palin
My favourite because I admire her courage and her biography. I’m not a great fan of her interview style – she speaks too quickly and her verbiage can be awkward – but she’s good on the stump, is more charismatic than any of the others. Her written exegeses on matters like quantitative easing and healthcare are first rate and she has a knack for setting the agenda with a phrase – ‘palling around with terrorists’, ‘death panels’.

The only strike against Palin is that she’s polarizing. There are plenty of clever-stupid, wishy-washy liberals and independents who’d vote for anyone than Palin because they think she’s stupid. That’s often a reaction against her obviously genuine religious faith – in contrast to Obama’s religious faith. Secular atheists and statists prefer a phony, more fool them. I’m definitely biased and liable to egosyntonic thinking about Palin; I want to see the liberal intelligentsia and faux conservatives feel the agony of a Palin win, but I do think that Palin would wipe the floor with Obama once a campaign got going. She has charisma, she has policy, she’s on the side of optimism and life, she’s inoculated against further poison from the MSM. The Church of Snide grows old. When the likes of Maher or Stewart or Matthews or Fey sneer at Palin now it probably works for her. I hope she gets in the race. Romney/Palin could work for me as a practical compromise to unite conservatives and blue-bloods.

One for the future…Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley
Nikki Haley‘s forthright comments on the NLRB stitch-up of Boeing and on Gingrich’s back-stab on Ryan have raised her national profile in the last few days. She’s my tip for the future.

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