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Handicapping the GOP primaries

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Even though my liberal Hollywood friends don’t want to hear it, this is an election the Democrats should lose.  Not because President Obama hasn’t done a solid job, but because the average American swing voter makes his decision based on two factors. Am I better off than I was four years ago? And which candidate would I rather sit down and have a beer with?

The answer to the first question, for many people, is no.  The second question has always been a problem for Democrats.  Their wonky, Ivy League educated candidates seem far more comfortable sipping a nice, aged Chardonnay at an elegant restaurant than sitting down with an unemployed blue-collar worker in a red-state watering hole.

And yet, the GOP seems determined to blow this most winnable of elections, in the same fashion the Dems shot themselves in the foot nominating the robotic,  blue-blooded John Kerry in 2004.

If you are a Republican, watching the GOP debates must be a lot like trying to order dinner at Red Lobster- plenty of options, none appetizing. The Republican party’s  purge of intellectuals from its ranks have exacted a heavy price- it’s no longer  necessary to have even a basic working knowledge of government or current events to seek the nomination.  The only  requirement is the ability to repeat the following catchphrases with emotion and conviction: less government, no new taxes, in God we trust, and if Obama supports it, I don’t like it.  Try it at home.  Mouth these words in the mirror over and over again.  When you feel you’ve got it down, form an exploratory committee for 2016.  If anyone dares question your credentials, just call them an elitist snob.

So, Las Vegas style, here are my odds on the GOP candidates chances of winning the nomination.  I won’t be taking any actual bets unless you want to put down some cold hard cash on Rick Santorum or Jon Huntsman.  If you do, call me, we’ll work something out.


This is a true gut check for the Republican party.  Forget all the  flip-flopping and triangulations, Romney has one quality none of the other candidates possess- the ability to beat Obama in the general election.  The hard truth is, Obama governs from the center.  Romney governs from the center.  On the most pragmatic  level it wouldn’t make a wit of difference which one gets elected.  But Romney could sell independents, disenchanted with the President, on the idea that he’d be a CEO President, fiscally sound without all the regressive social positions.

But that’s exactly where Romney fails with the base.   He isn’t one of them.  And it goes beyond the  Mormon issue.- there’s  the Massachusetts issue. That’s where he hatched his health care plan, which became the framework for Obamacare.  As Governor, he was pro-choice, moderate, reasoned and balanced; everything the rabid base of the Republican Party is not in 2011.

It’s telling that as GOP frontrunner after frontrunner crashes and burns, Romney’s poll numbers stay steady in the mid 20′s.  It’s fair to say that number reveals the  percentage of long-time Republicans who have stayed in the party despite its violent lurch to the right.

Bottom line, if Romney wins the nomination, he gets the White House.  But he’ll have a much harder time making his case to the  GOP wing nuts than the Independents who’ll decide the general election.

ODDS: Even Money


I’ll give him this much, he’s smart.  His achilles heel is hypocrisy.  A candidate who likes to talk about God country and morals should not be thrice married- informing one wife he was leaving her for another woman, while she was in the hospital undergoing chemo treatments.  This is the same man who was shamelessly leading the parade for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, wagging his finger at the President for having an extra-marital affair-  while at the same time, unknown to us, he was having his own extra-marital affair, with his secretary.

Now Newt and his supporters will attack the messenger, saying these issues don’t matter and that it’s just another example of liberal media bias (Newt actually had the gall to accuse the Fox News Channel of a liberal bias, when pressed for answers at one of the earlier debates), but the Evangelical base he’s counting on to deliver him votes may see things differently.

Newt’s other big problem is that, while 90% of what he says appeals to the Tea Party types, he is a free thinker who will veer off course from conservative dogma.

The fact that he’s the current frontrunner only speaks to how poor this field is.  If he gets nominated, he’ll be trounced Barry Goldwater style.

ODDS: 3-1


In 2008, a pundit took an interesting position.  He said electing someone as well-educated and well-spoken as Barack Obama did not make us a color blind society.  That would only happen, he argued, when Americans would elect a black man as incompetent as some of our worst Presidents.  If that’s true, then Herman Cain could be one of the most important civil rights figures of the past 100 years.

Cain is so stunningly unqualified to be President, he makes Sarah Palin look like an elder statesmen.  This is a man who thinks Cuban is a language, doesn’t know the difference between a pro-life and pro-choice position and knows nothing about the world outside of the Godfather’s Pizza delivery zone.

President Obama and his team must be watching the GOP primaries in awe, amazed that they even have a chance to go up against the silliest mainstream candidate of our lifetime.  Matching Cain against Obama would be about as fair as having LSU face UCLA in a bowl game

ODDS 5-1


I admire the man’s consistency and he has the underdog’s freedom to say exactly what he thinks, but Paul is unelectable.

The GOP has been accused of wanting to roll back the clock to the 1950′s.  But Paul takes things a step further, wanting to go back to  the 1900′s, when government had almost no vital function in our lives.  It sounds OK until you consider America was only one of 7 world powers back then, the average male only lived until his mid 40′s and robber barons were creating monopolies making it hard for small businesses to survive.

That, combined with his dovish, bordering on pacifist, foreign policy positions make him a perpetual GOP gadfly.  He’s starting to look a lot like this generation’s Harold Stassen.

ODDS 12-1


There’s a price to pay when you wage a war on people who believe in science and education,  and that price is Michele Bachman.

Here’s a woman who said that  last summer’s east coast earthquake was God’s way of delivering a message about deficits.  She has claimed that there’s not one scientific study showing carbon dioxide is a harmful gas and she thinks that swine flu outbreaks only happen during Democratic administrations.

And yet, we are somehow numb to all this, and treat her as a credible candidate.

Is this really the party that used to preach high standards and individual excellence?



Here’s the candidate for people who liked George Bush but found him a little too stuffy and intellectual.

Even the GOP base thinks he’s clueless and that speaks volumes.

ODDS 50-1


The last time we heard from this moral crusader he lost his Senate seat by 18 points.  He’s just staying in the race to audition for a FNC talk-show.

ODDS 300-1


You got to love this guy’s moxie.  The former Governor of Utah has served in the Obama administration and has publicly called him a “great leader.”

He is running to restore civility and moderation to the Republican party.

Surprise! He’s barely registering a blip in the polls.







{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack November 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm

The wife/hospital thing NEVER HAPPENED.

Read the letter by Newt’s daughter — was posted all over two weeks ago.

Newt’s flip=flopping on some issues bothers me — but he should be hung with the
wife/hospital thing that didn’t happen.


Jack November 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm



admin November 28, 2011 at 5:19 am

OK, I did just look up Newt’s daughter’s account and, as you say, she claims the divorce was already in the works before her mother had to be hospitalized. So I may have been repeating an urban myth. But I do think hypocrisy remains an issue. The fact that he was scolding Clinton for his indiscretions, at the very same time he was having an affair with his secretary, reveals quite a bit about his character.


Steve November 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Newt’s picking up steam, but I can’t see either him or Romney winning a general election. Newt’s got too much baggage and Romney’s religion will ultimately do him in with the god squad. I don’t think I’ve seen a worse slate of candidates from either party in my lifetime…


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