After all, if Erick Erickson can be so completely wrong in his weekly prognostications, surely mine are just as valuable. It's time for some pre-debate analysis of the candidates' positions in the race. (The literal horserace can be found here.)
I put him up front intentionally to be somewhat provocative. But seriously, why isn't he getting more attention?
- Experience? Check. He's the only candidate to have been both a congressman and a governor, so he understands both the legislative process and the executive position. Could be very effective at getting legislation through the current bureaucratic logjam.
- Conservative values? Check. His platform includes fighting the crony capitalism, cutting spending, balancing the budget, reducing the size of government, repealing Obamacare, securing the border, and a free market approach to energy independence.
- Electability? Check. He's a likable southerner, and in fact used to be a Democrat before he was a Republican. Deal breaker? No. Unlike Perry who supported Carter and Gore, Roemer was a Reagan Democrat.
- Character? Check. He's not taking any money from lobbyists, PACs, or special interests. The crony capitalists are trying to label him as "liberal" because he won't engage in their pay-for-play game, but this is patently untrue. He simply stands up for the individual against big government, big unions, and big bailed out businesses.
At this point, Romney is the front runner. Despite his awful record of flip-flopping liberalness, he appears to be the only top tier candidate with the background and experience to be president. Sure, his support seems to be limited, his Mormonism will hurt him with evangelicals, and Cain is challenging him for the top spot right now. But, he's got a mountain of cash to stick it out for the long haul, and over time his experience as a governor and presidential candidate will pay dividends. Take his response to #OccupyWallStreet. Unlike Cain, who immediately started bashing the protesters, Romney said he understood their frustration with the economy but gently admonished them that it was the "wrong way to go". This is leadership that is only gleaned from experience governing, the lack of which will dog Cain as the election season wears on. Barring an almost miraculous performance by Cain for the next few months or a surprise surge by Roemer, he will probably be the nominee.
Of course, not if Perry has anything to say about it. Perry is out with a devastating attack ad against Romney that is unmatched in the annals of campaign history for sheer effectiveness. Low down, dirty, and highly accurate, this ad takes a 2x4 to Romney's backside:
Hold on to your seats, because this primary fight is about to get very nasty as Perry and Romney attack each other. Personally, I hope they both destroy each other. Pass the popcorn!
Cain has surged in the polls of late as a serious of events (mostly Palin not running) have conspired to make him a top tier candidate. His charisma and business experience are playing well with the Republican base right now. However, as any candidate approaches front runner status, they are bound to face attacks which may reveal some weaknesses. In tonight's debate, Herman Cain will have to hold his ground against these attacks in order to secure his position, or possibly take the lead as front runner. And there are some very real weaknesses - I haven't yet seen Ron Paul attack him over TARP or the Fed, but it's only a matter of time. Cain's business background may also be his greatest weakness as he has somewhat of a blind eye to the insensitivity of shoveling cash to rich bankers while people lose their homes and jobs. Getting involved in a fight with the Occupy Wall Street people is not going to make him look presidential either.
Gingrich's practical knowledge of economic solutions and pitch perfect debate performances are pulling him up to fourth place in the polls. However, lingering doubts about his faux pas (appearing in an ad with Nancy Pelosi at the height of her unpopularity, support for Dede Scozzafava, liberal spending on jewelry, past marriage failures, etc.) continue to dog him. Nevertheless, his stature as the leader of the 1994 congress has people not ready to dump him off the bench just yet. Should the other front runners fail, his brainy solutions for America could propel him to the nomination.
Plays to the worst stereotypes of the tea party. A bit crazy, inexperienced, and prone to missteps. She's toast. Her offices in Virginia just closed, she has no money, and it's only a question of when, not if, she drops out.
His following will not let him die. He is an issue candidate, not in it to win it. People love his economic libertarianism, but hate everything else. He'll limp to his single digit finish.
A bit sanctimonious, nobody is in a mood to be lectured right now, leastwise on social issues when they are hurting economically. Also, he lost big in his last race. He was a man for a different time. I'm not sure where he gets his money or what his continued role is other than to point out a few flaws in other candidates.
Recently garnered a whopping 0% in a national poll. His liberal values are, surprise, surprise, not playing well in a Tea Party grassroots infused primary process. He really would be of more use challenging Obama in the Dem primary. Then again, he accepted a position in Obama's administration, so that might not work either. The most overrated candidate of this election cycle, he thinks he can buy a win in NH with his wealth. It won't work. The only question is how much of his and others' cash he will burn before losing.
Did I miss anyone? If so, they're probably unworthy of comment. Oh, Fred Karger is gay or something. That's about it.