Because Mitt Romney is on a pre-2012 presidential campaign book tour, and because Sarah Palin is constantly in the news, and because President Barack Obama is in self-destruct mode, let’s take a look ahead at the present state of the 2012 GOP race for president.
Romney is a bit hot right now. He is back in the news, on TV and on radio shows. With his business background he can speak to the still-deteriorating economic situation. He has learned from some of his mistakes from the 2008 race, too. He now appears more humble.
However, he also has many of the same problems from the past: He is a political chameleon who can change a position at the drop of a hat. He was an enthusiastic booster — and as governor, a signer — of Massachusetts’ own version of Obamacare. It is now widely unpopular in the Bay State and one of the reasons Scott Brown won in January.
Healthcare premiums have exploded in Massachusetts since that bill was enacted and may very well be a precursor of what will happen nationally if Obamacare passes.
Is Romney the Republican chosen one or is he, as someone recently put it, an “elegant snake oil salesman”?
Mitt Romney does not connect. Nor does he really feel that anger. He may yet win by default; he may stand out in a desultory field the way McCain did in 2008.
What about Sarah Palin?
Sarah Palin hit a homerun as a stand-up comic on Jay Leno recently. She is just plain good on TV. She is shopping an Alaskan reality show with mega-producer Mark Burnett. She has the Fox News gig and earns huge speaking fees.
If she runs for president in 2012 then she has to stop most of this money-making. Or, another way to read it is that she is making this money precisely because she might run for president. So, if she does not run, does much of this money-making capability dry up?
Either way, she is a major player for this pre-primary period. If she says she is not running, then it is a new race altogether. But until then, she dominates all the calculations, sucks up the political oxygen and complicates the race — and the fundraising — for all other candidates.
Then, there are the usual names: Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels. They all bring something unique to the table. The question is, Can any of them connect with voters and light a fire?
In late 2007 and early 2008, Huckabee caught fire, passed Romney, but then that fire fizzled out. No one else caught fire inside the GOP. So McCain won by default. He was not the right candidate.
Today’s fire is not inside the Republican Party. It is inside the tea party anti-establishment movement.
This is a movement that sees the establishment of both parties plus Wall Street, Hollywood and big media as corrupt, dirty, and rigged. And they are!
This is what the tea party movement is all about.
And the next ONE — the next Reagan, the next Mr. Conservative — has to feel this anger in his bones. He has to feel the anger of the American people and address it in all his speeches and interviews. Only then will he connect with this growing band of swing voters who will elect the next president in 2012.
The chosen one we are all waiting for has not yet appeared on the national stage.
Let us hope he does so by 2012.
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