We’vehad one commenter on M* ask me my opinion on the 2012 presidential race. That’s enough popular demand for me!
I’d first like to point out that I have come to the opinion this week that John McCain, the person I held my nose and voted for for president in 2008, would have been an even worse president than Barack Obama. McCain’s cheerleading for our ridiculous adventure in Libya has been nauseating. What would a McCain president have gotten us? Probably involved in a lot more countries than Libya and most likely a similar stimulus bill. He would have championed cap and trade (to get along with the left). The only advantages of a McCain presidency: better Supreme Court picks and no Obamacare.
A McCain presidency would have done no better on the vital issue of our national debt than Obama because, while McCain is supposedly a fiscal conservative, he would have expanded the military and supported some kind of stimulus. This is crucial because it means more long-term spending and more unsustainable debt.
I think Republicans like myself need to learn the lessons of a disastrous eight years under Bush and a McCain candidacy. That lesson is: our candidates have to offer a real alternative. The electorate does not get excited, nor should it, by choices between Tweedle-Dee and Tweddle-Dum.
With that in mind, here’s my take on the Republicans who may take part in the 2012 race.
I have four categories: unacceptable, meaning I will vote for the libertarian candidate if this person is the Republican nominee. Barely acceptable, meaning I’m not sure yet. Acceptable, meaning I would vote for this candidate. Real hope and change, meaning we can truly change history with this candidate.
Before we start, a few points:
1)The most important issue of our time is the national debt. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand this post.
2)Because of our national debt, we need to all change our attitudes toward the government. We can no longer see the government as resolving all of our problems. We can no longer be the world’s policemen. We must accept a smaller, more limited government on all levels and rely on our own resources to deal with life’s vicissitudes.
3)Voting for a Republican who does not understand this is usually worse than voting for a big government Democrat. The reason is that such a candidate ruins the Republican brand by making voters feel they have no choice. Bush has done damage to the Republicans that will last for decades.
Here are the unacceptable Republican candidates:
1)Huckabee: a big government, pro-life, anti-Mormon, theocratic liberal. Need I say more? The man would be our worst president in history.
2)Gingrich: Womanizing, pandering, pro-ethanol, pro cap and trade. Gets in bed with environmentalists when he thinks it is trendy. Then he rejects them like one of his two ex-wifes after climategate. The guy has no spine. Horrible.
3)Palin: I hesitate to write this because I truly do think she has gotten a bad rap. Just compare the fawning press coverage of Pelosi, who is as dumb as a stump (“You have to vote for the bill so we can see what is in it”), and the coverage of Palin. Pelosi is easily more idiotic than Palin, yet that is not the popular perception. Nevertheless, Palin would make a horrible president. We would be invading every country on the planet. Everything with Palin is about her and her martyrdom. Palin has a place in the Republican party (she would make a good Energy secretary who could then wind down the Dept of Energy), but not as president.
4)Haley Barbour: Barbour has excellent instincts and is a good behind-the-scenes political operative. He has been a very good governor in Mississippi. He would be a horrible candidate, reminding everybody of Boss Hogg.
5)Trump. Trump is a protectionist who wants to resolve our fiscal problems by getting more money from our trading partners. Huh? He’s an idiot (politically — in business and entertainment, he’s a genius).
1)Huntsman. I have to admit I don’t know that much about him, but he sounds like a typical Republican establishment moderate to me. I could be wrong, and perhaps he should be moved to the “Acceptable” group.
2)Romney. He’s still a sentimental favorite, but Romney has three huge strikes against him: Romneycare, his support of cap-and-trade and his support for increasing the size of the military. Politically, Romney has missed the small government boat and has decided to sail in the social conservative, big government dinghy. If he were the candidate, it would be difficult not to support him against Obama, but I wouldn’t be as enthusiastic as I was in 2008.
3)Michelle Bachmann. The left loves to make fun of Bachmann, and she has said some dumb things. But she is a small government type. She is against the Libyan war. She is a better candidate than many think. Probably unelectable, however.
1)Chris Christie. Not going to run. He is one of the few who could beat Obama. Watching him on the campaign trail would be a lot of fun. He is a lot more moderate than many people think, especially on social issues. I think this is a good thing because he would be focused on the debt, where he is not a moderate.
2)Mitch Daniels. He’s been a pretty good governor in Indiana. Very smart, unassuming. He also may not run. He is the anti-Obama: short, balding, soft-spoken. His call for a truce on the social issues is a good thing because he would also be focused on the debt.
3)Tim Pawlenty. The more I hear about Pawlenty, the more I like him. He got an A rating (Daniels got a B) from the Cato Institute. He fought for smaller government in Minnesota. He flirted with cap and trade but has apologized for it. He would be a strong candidate and give Obama a run for his money.
Real Hope and Change
1)Ron or Rand Paul. My prediction is that if Ron Paul doesn’t run, his son Rand will run. You want a real small-government candidate? Choose either of them. Rand has a five-year plan to balance the budget. It would work. You want to get out of these ridiculous foreign adventures? Vote for a Paul. You want protection of civil liberties? Vote for a Paul.
2)Gary Johnson. Johnson was a great governor for two terms in New Mexico. He decreased the size of state government while nearly every other governor was increasing it. He wants a 40 percent decrease in federal spending, an end to the drug war and a modest foreign policy with an end to the wars. He would make a great president, and he will never be elected.
What do I think will happen? Mostly likely we will get a Republican candidate in the first two categories, meaning unacceptable or barely acceptable. He or she will lose to Obama. Four more years of wars and stagflation. Sigh.