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As Long as We Remember...

August 23, 2011

Firing-up The Contenders

Earl 'Rocky' Mackintosh

Now that the Republican Iowa Straw Poll is in the rear view mirror, the level of speculation regarding the GOP’s true national presidential front runner has kicked into high gear.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the fray moments before the results of the straw poll announced Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann and Representative Ron Paul of Texas had earned the top GOP’s top slots in the count. And then like dominos dropping in sequence, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who finished a strong third, announced the next day that he was hanging up his spurs.


On the national level former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who did not invest much capital in Iowa, still remains the GOP front runner. In an average of recent national polls, he is less than two percentage points over Perry.


What is fascinating about the Romney run is that he appears to be the candidate of choice … but only by default.


Clearly on a national scale the mood of Republican – and likely a majority of independent – voters is that they still seek more choices from the GOP.


This discontent on the part of the electorate with presidential contenders hasn’t been this strong since 1980, when Ronald Reagan fought his way to the top of the Republican slate after besting a strong fight from George H. W. Bush.


That same year incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter faced heated opposition from within his own party.


So dissatisfied with Carter’s performance, Massachusetts Sen. Teddy Kennedy and California Gov. Jerry Brown both challenged the president through the primaries.


While President Carter topped both in delegates, Senator Kennedy refused to concede and took his fight to the convention floor. In addition there was a short-lived “Draft Ed Muskie” effort, which showed how the party had lost confidence in their leader.


In the end a fractured and depressed Democratic Party lost to the race for the White House to the inspiration leadership of Ronald Reagan.


Fast forward to today.


The Democrats in general are more than frustrated – more like outright angry – with the leadership of Barack Obama. The fractured base he unified so well just four years ago on a promise of “Hope and Change,” feel let down and lack the confidence in his ability to fulfill his promises.


When activist movie-maker Michael Moore is encouraging actor Matt Damon to run for president, and Democratic Black Caucus member Maxine Waters expresses her Obama frustrations in front of her constituents … the president has serious problems from within.


Even with Governor Romney on top and Governor Perry nipping at his heals, Republican voters are still not satisfied. While both are probably electable, there are strong questions about the rest of the pack.


Throw former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the mix … what will that do? Best guess here: not much.


Where are the true leaders?


This general dissatisfaction among voter choices in both parties shows that an inspirational leader has yet to jump into the race.


Voters need someone they can rally around.


There are two political figures that could jump into the mix today and change the dynamics of the 2012 race so dramatically that – if it were to happen – the national and global economy would experience an instant lift of confidence.


Who are these super-heroes, you ask?


Of course, both have been asked numerous times, but emphatically declined the notion, but just imagine if …


… Republican Gov. Chris Christie had a change of heart and threw his hat in the race. The no-nonsense leader of New Jersey has proven that he can straighten out deficits and get a budget under control. His “in your face” approach to getting things done and making decisions has made him the envy of Republican voters across the nation – wishing they had a Christie clone as governor of their state.


… and what if current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton changed her mind and sang the songs of the great economic years of her husband’s administration? A proven fighter, Mrs. Clinton could raise a fortune in funds with an “I-Told-You-So” primary campaign that would rock President Obama’s very vulnerable world.


The contrast between the contenders in a Clinton versus Christie general election could create a national debate and electricity that would surely set record voter turn outs.


Imagine what fun that would be!


Rocky Mackintosh is the owner of a land and commercial real estate firm based in Frederick. He is also the editor of the MacRo Report Blog.


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