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January 18, 2012

Let the Veepstakes begin

Kevin E. Dayhoff

The consensus continues to gather steam that the GOP nomination to challenge President Barack Obama for president this fall will be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Perhaps all the drama now moves to who will be his choice for vice president.


For the moment, a few thoughts to ponder. Now that former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race, the hope for a vastly alternative approach to leading our nation out of our five-year economic slump is becoming clearer.


Only the die-hard Kool-Aid drinkers on the left believe that the social-democracy, Keynesian economic policies of our country’s most-leftist president ever, are working.


However, those on the right who tout statistics from history that a president in the midst of such a profound economic recession cannot be re-elected are also drinking the Kool-Aid.


Do not underestimate the appeal of populism for the American electorate and the political acumen of President Obama – and the left-leaning major media that is still his most unabashed and unrepentant cheerleader.


As has been exemplified over and over again in the last five years, the American public has grown so used to pandering, big government and handouts that it can almost be universally understood that most voters have not a clue as to how our economic system works.


For better or worse, the United States has not yet had to face the economic Armageddon that is the eurozone these days. Decades of failed economic socialism has come home to roost in Europe, and an economic collapse is still a scenario; especially in the wake of last Friday’s credit rating downgrade of much of Europe’s sovereign debt and last week’s stalemate over negotiations to prevent Greece from spiraling into an uncontrolled chaotic economic failure.


Much of Europe’s economic woes seem to be little understood by the economic policy wonks on the left and – if President Obama is re-elected – the current recession will be prolonged for many years. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, thinking the same way that got us into this mess will not get us out of our current problems.


However, so far, who needs Democrats to thwart the chances of a Republican taking a seat in the White House next January? The Republicans are doing a fine job of doing all the hard work for them these days in an effort to make sure no GOP nominee is electable.


As the Washington Post noted on Monday in an article about Governor Huntsman leaving the race, “…Huntsman abandoned his quest for the presidency Monday morning with an endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and an unexpectedly sharp condemnation of the ‘toxic’ tone that the Republican primary battle has taken.”


Many agree with the distinguished former Utah governor, who was quoted to lament that “this race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time in American history.”


Forget about the ‘class warfare’ rhetoric and populism of President Obama, observed the Washington Post. “…Huntsman, who often talked on the campaign trail about rebuilding trust in the political process, made clear that he thinks the GOP race has taken an ugly turn.”


A point not lost on those who watched the South Carolina Republican presidential candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, Monday.


If you missed it, as I did, Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post provided some really interesting and insightful reading Monday evening… “Another day, another Republican presidential debate. (Missed it? Don’t worry — we liveblogged the entire night right here.)”


Meanwhile, The Washington Post ran a story yesterday that reports “Mitt Romney holds a strong lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with a 2 to 1 advantage over his closest competitors, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.


“Romney won the first two contests in the nominating process, and none of the other candidates has been able to demonstrate the broad, sustained support among the party’s conservative base that would translate into a successful challenge. An overwhelming majority of Republicans predict that he will be President Obama’s opponent in November.”


This sits well for those who care about social issues, but vote their pocketbook with a keen eye on national defense.


This brings us full-circle to the much debated water cooler topic for the next several months; in the current scorched earth politics of the Republican Party, who is the best running mate for Governor Romney, should he prevail?


Since I have always felt that a candidate’s running mate can be a key and critical dynamic in winning closely contested elections, I have been keeping score and taking notes.


All of which I threw out the window when I noticed the recent commentary of my good friend, Don Surber, who has spent the last 30 years at The Charleston Daily Mail. Mr. Surber and I not only share the exact same age, but also a love of the song, “Godzilla,” which I often hear in my head, repeatedly, when I write. (Yes, the song also helps crowd-out the voices…)


So, with “History shows again and again, how nature points up the folly of man – Godzilla,” playing in my head, I was recently overjoyed to find that Mr. Surber did all the hard work for me.


And, oh, if you are not a regular reader of Mr. Surber’s blog, you are missing out big time. He and I started our blogs roughly about the same time and I have been an avid reader ever-since.


For an excellent commentary on the “Veepstakes,” read Mr. Surber’s commentary here.


Then let me hear from you for a future column. Who’s it going to be? Just who is the best choice for the GOP vice presidential candidate? Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan, Haley Barbour, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio are some of the many names that ought to be on the list.


. . . . .I’m just saying…


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