Early Observations on the GOP Horse Race
“A leader is a dealer in hope.”
Some DJ repeated this Napoleon Bonaparte quote on the radio the other day. I wonder if it’s one familiar to Barack Obama, and whether he designed his winning campaign for the presidency around it.
Obama’s hope (and change in this case) has somehow morphed into misery, depression and angst. Friends in Washington tell me the mood there is grim, particularly among Democrats.
On a call from the nation’s capital a couple of weeks ago, the caller told me that except for the Michael Moore and MoveOn.Org crowd, who will apparently back the president until our ship of state rests comfortably on the ocean floor, Washingtonians of reasonable stripe feel the man is totally out of his league and clueless as to how to bring the country back to prosperity.
I still have reservations about that school of thought — believing, as liberals do, that this is a smart man. It’s just that his vision of America differs from either our founders’ intent, or the will of the people. And speaking of that majority, there’s reason to feel some confidence that by their vote in November 2012, Mr. Obama will be escorted to the rear end of one of his long unemployment lines.
Which brings me round to the discussion for today. What of these nine Republican candidates? The following are merely early observations, nothing too deep, nothing too serious at this point, as the race has barely unfolded.
Rick Perry: The early press on him was better than the reality. He’s got excellent numbers on job creation and growth in Texas, but there’s something off with this guy. Forced HPV inoculations and tuition breaks for the children of illegal aliens — troublesome. Expecting to see this light fade.
Mitt Romney: Unlike the current president, he has a clue about business and would likely pack his administration with people who would quickly get the economy back on track. Did a good job Thursday night clarifying and defending his position on RomneyCare and saying it does not fit the country. Presidential.
Michele Bachmann: A lot to like here. Her understanding of economics, her obvious devotion to the Constitution, her determination to overturn Obamacare — a real plus. Has provided foster care to 23 teenage girls? That’s impressive! Shows what a real tea party hater she is. Needs to consider her remarks carefully.
Herman Cain: 9-9-9 economic plan — simple and intriguing. Excellent understanding of our relationship with Israel. Very good on the stump, and his explanation of how Obamacare would have affected his cancer treatments is extremely powerful and easy for voter to understand. Like him.
Newt Gingrich: The comeback kid? Pound for pound, the most qualified and experienced candidate. Has fixed the economy before, and can do it again. We’ll see how his numbers fare with the voter throughout the campaign. His stock is rising with each debate.
Rick Santorum: Second-most-qualified candidate in the field. Impressed by his rational appraisals of Iraq and Afghanistan, that our jobs are not finished there until they are finished. We don’t leave because we think it will help us get re-elected.
John Huntsman: Seems reasonable enough. Needs to break through with the voter. Don’t think he’ll stay in race. Could be wrong.
Ron Paul: Has great ideas on the economy and understands the limitations of the federal government, and that it breaks down the larger it becomes. Unfortunately, his isolationist foreign policy remarks make him someone you just can’t take seriously.
Gary Johnson: Where did this guy come from? Shovel-ready neighborhood dog quip — best one-liner in a debate since Reagan pulled the rug out from under Walter Mondale. Same foreign policy problems as Ron Paul. A 43 percent reduction in military expenditure, today? Not my kind of libertarianism.
On the whole, any one of these candidates would make a better leader for our country than what we’ve got. Republican reaction, which at times can seem extreme — doing away with federal agencies, for example — can only be blamed on Obama shoving the country further to the left than it’s ever been before.
This will be a pure reactionary election. On Nov. 3, 2012, when one of these candidates (or Chris Christie) gets the concession phone call from Mr. Obama, America will psychologically arise within minutes. It will be like a boot being lifted from our nation’s neck.
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at geoffcutler@embarqmail. com.
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