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November 4, 2011

Another Candidate Soiled

Roy Meachum

Friends wonder why I’m not caught up on 2012’s presidential elections. From my years in Washington, I learned to wait and see who the national party conventions nominate. Recent months can only convince me of the experienced attitude.


In the first place, The Washington Post published that there are, here and there, some 212 men and women who have paid the necessary fees to become recognized as 2012 GOP candidates. I find ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin more prone to malapropisms than wise sayings. But she was dead-right when she said at September’s end that a hitherto unknown candidate was the “flavor of the week.” The date is important.


During summer’s “lazy days,” various wannabe presidents came and went in Republican Party favor, including Ms. Palin herself. At every major candidate’s appearance, he or she became that moment’s “flavor.” In late June and all spring, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney held the title.


Resigning as ambassador to China, appointed by current chief executive Barack Obama, Jon Huntsman immediately caught the media’s fancy. Tea Party favorite Michele Bachman (MN) soared briefly; her tangled tongue brought her down to low rankings in polls. Fellow Congressman Ron Paul (TX) has his adherents, but not enough to catch the GOP golden ring. Ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA) and Sen. Rich Santorum (PA) continue to ride. While Ms. Palin, Minnesota’s former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter voluntarily stepped off the merry-go-round.


For a while, Texas’ still reigning Gov. Rick Perry was the Republicans’ fancy, his “favorite” status was usurped by Godfather Pizza’s Herman Cain. There appeared a race shaping up with Mr. Romney when unproven sexual allegations popped up in Politico. The front-runner tried to wave off the rumors, to the fury of his women accusers, who insist on their hour in the public docket. There surfaced details that cannot be brushed off, as you’ve doubtless read and heard.


There is talk of comebacks, especially by Texas’ Governor Perry and Ambassador Huntsman. They shouldn’t count on them. In politics momentum is everything. I would remind readers of an idea first told by Democratic State Sen. Ron Young, whom Pushkin and I ran into on Market Street. The “career” politician suggested that if Mitt Romney received the Republican nod, the Tea Party rejecting the sometime Massachusetts governor would back someone else – at the moment, shoveling off several attributes that the radical splinters dislike; Herman Cain would have to be its choice.


African Americans have long considered the Tea Party founded on bigotry and prejudice. In any event, the possibility of Black meeting Black for the White House is at least intriguing — especially considering Mitt Romney’s Church of the Latter Day Saints’ shady history on race relations. Only recently have colored Mormons been granted access to full-membership; leadership still seems relegated to whites.


There is no such candidate turmoil in the Democratic ranks; as always, an incumbent president is looked upon naturally as the party’s banner holder. In any event, Barack Obama’s poll numbers show increase. But this early the surveys can be ignored, by everyone — except the media.


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