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November 14, 2011

Assessing The GOP Field

Michael Kurtianyk

Remember the days when Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann was the GOP frontrunner for president? Of course you do. It wasn’t that long ago. She won the Iowa straw poll in August, and was the darling of the right-wing politicos.


She was featured on the cover of Time magazine, and led many polls at the time. What happened? A little thing about not getting the facts right and repeating a story that cannot be proven. Here she is:


"I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that [HPV] vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter."


Since saying this, the scientific community has unilaterally refuted this scenario.


Ms. Bachmann hasn’t been the same since.


Then there are former U. S. Sen. Rick Santorum (PA), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, all of whom should just quit the race now, and stop wasting everyone’s time, especially their own.


Former Speaker of The House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (GA) is still in the race. This is surprising, considering that he shouldn’t have entered the race in the first place. Didn’t he think that being a Catholic with three wives doesn’t play well in this country? Let’s not forget that according to his first wife, Mr. Gingrich wanted to discuss terms of their divorce (due to his having an affair) while she was recuperating from surgery at a hospital. He may have the more experience in Washington than any of the other candidates, but his time has passed. At this point, Mr. Gingrich may just be bucking for a cabinet position.


Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the so-called “intellectual godfather of the Tea Party,” is still in the mix. He’s the Republican candidate who is a constitutionalist and makes no bones about it. Mr. Paul believes in small government and abolishing federal income taxes. He holds the most conservative voting record in Congress. He should be considered in the top tier of candidates, but he isn’t. Why not? Is it because he ran as a Libertarian in 1988? Is it because he is too liberal for the conservative base?


What about former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who tried to straight-talk his way to the top of the field? Allegations of sexual misconduct continue to plague his candidacy. It’s a cloud that will continue to hover over him. Mr. Cain is at a point now where he should step aside – he doesn’t even have a chance to hold a cabinet position if a Republican candidate is elected.


Then there’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry. What can be said about him? Recently, at the Cornerstone Action Dinner in New Hampshire, an animated Governor Perry spoke. His speech was rife with out-of-character facial expressions, comical gestures, and giggling. Some people thought he was drunk, or otherwise under some other kind of influence.


This in-and-of-itself could be explained away, but then came last week’s debate. You know the one – it’s when Candidate Perry couldn’t remember the three government agencies he’d like to eliminate. These are his words:


“It's three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the – what's the third one there? Let's see.”


Candidate Perry then turns to Representative Paul, as if he’s looking for help. Of course, Mr. Paul doesn’t think three is enough, so he says: “You mean five.”


Candidate Rick Santorum says: “EPA?”


Mr. Perry replies: “EPA, there you go. No, no kidding.”


Moderator John Harwood steps in and begins this exchange: “Is EPA the one that you were talking about or...”


Candidate Perry: “No, sir. No, sir. We're talking about the agencies of government – EPA needs to be rebuilt. There's no doubt about it.”


Mr. Harwood: “But you can't name the third one?”


Candidate Perry: “The third agency of government I would do away with, the Education...”


Candidate Ron Paul: “Commerce.”


Candidate Perry: “The Commerce and, let's see, I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops.”


Oops indeed! He meant to say the Energy Department, but his brain freeze is now fodder for comedians for years to come.


So much for his candidacy….


This leaves former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. All he has to do now is keep his mouth shut, and he’ll win. Seriously. Candidate Romney simply has to think before he speaks, unlike the other candidates, and he will win the nomination. The only thing he has to do is stay friends with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and the Republicans will have their presidential ticket.


And then the fun can really begin….


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