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September 27th 2011 print

Steven Kates

Any Republican will do

Obama has been a disaster from Day One and the only thing that has probably kept him even somewhat under wraps is his knowing that he would seek re-election in 2012. As bad as he’s been, if he wins again it will get worse.


The Republican Party nomination – the story so far  


One of Don Rumsfeld’s many valuable insights was that a country goes to war with the army it has. Same with political campaigns. You fight the election with the personnel you have. 

I follow American politics with a kind of morbid fascination since the final death throes of the West will take place in the US. Mark Steyn’s American Armageddon is just one of the available descriptions of the suicide of what has been the freest, most prosperous civilisation that has ever populated the planet of which Australia is an integral part. Whatever comes next is going to be worse, much worse. 

The Obama presidency is part of that suicide watch. For someone such as myself, the attractions of the American President is invisible. That he was electable is itself pretty gruesome. That he is re-electable is more gruesome still. I don’t think there is an issue of any significance that my views overlap those of the Obama. He has been a disaster from Day One and the only thing that has probably kept him even somewhat under wraps is his knowing that he would seek re-election in 2012. As bad as he’s been, if he wins again it will get worse. 

To me, any Republican will do. If Romney is the only one who can be elected, well fine. Let it be Romney. He is hardly my cup of tea; he is the essence of what was once know as the Country Club Republican. Another government centralist, a global warmist and not only a supporter of government run health care in principle, he had already even introduced into Massachusetts almost exactly what Obama has done nationally. But if that’s what it takes to see the end of Obama, I am all in. Not my cup of tea as I say, but you go with the personnel you have. 

Certainly for someone who would make a difference in the directions that I have in mind, of those who had declared Rick Perry is the closest to what I would like to see in the White House. I have heard no complaint about him so far that would make him problematical at the Presidential level. 

He is for small government, low taxes and a tough national defence. He has shown over the past ten years in Texas that he has whatever it takes to oversee a genuine economic recovery. Almost half the jobs created in the US during the past two years since the GFC have been in the state for which he has been governor. This has not been a fluke. Most of the things he’s done, so far as I have been able to tell, have been the kinds of things I would have wished to have seen done myself. But being half a world away, who can know for sure. 

What is also clear is that there are many on the Republican side who oppose him. There are, firstly, the eight others seeking the nomination. They have now formed a circular firing squad and are doing the Democratic Party’s work for them, although a year from now it will hardly matter. Of the other eight besides Perry, only Romney, it seems to me, can win. The others are spoilers and again, without having watched the debates, my impression is that their efforts have been to cut each other down to size, with Perry, the front runner, the one in the line of site for most of the others. 

But when it comes right down to it, policy is not electability nor does it give someone the ability to govern when they finally reach the White House. Romney may be the best there is given all of the constraints. In fact, the closer he is to Obama on many of these issues, the more likely he will be able to attract that famous middle. 

Of the other declared candidates, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Ron Paul are the longest of long shots although each has their constituency. Bachmann used to have much the right but has given way to Perry who inhabits much the same ground. 

Cain was the former CEO of Godfather Pizza so can show genuine experience in managing a business. But though black himself has flaws that would wipe him out in the Presidential election against Obama. I say this even though there has been some interest in him as recently as this week where he won the “straw poll” in Florida. Even so, he will not be the nominee. 

And as for Paul, he has a devoted following but like Cain has no chance of gaining much mainstream Republican support. He is on the wilder libertarian side of the Republican Party which does not in most respects have a libertarian outlook on issues. 

The one outsider still undeclared that others keep asking for is Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. So far as my own observations go, he has been a one-trick pony, staring down the teachers unions during a series of open forums around the state. At this he has been very good but for the life of me I cannot see what he has that gives him any advantage over Romney and there’s plenty that puts Romney ahead in this particular two horse race. 

As this article discusses it, Christie is the answer for a large number of Republicans: 

Promises of money and support are flooding in from key GOP donors and backers desperate to get New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the 2012 presidential race, even as insiders say he’s unlikely to do so.

But Christie’s not running and why he’d be a better candidate opposite Obama is hard to see. And at the end of the day, what really makes me suspicious is how much this is an American media beat up. If there is anything that will make me less willing to buy into this supposed groundswell of support, it is that it is being driven by the last set of people in the world from whom I would want political advice. 

This article, “The Christie Delusion”, provides what seems like a more realistic assessment of Christie’s strengths and weaknesses which make him a really bad option and a problem so far as the Republican nominating process goes. Here is part of that assessment: 

Christie does bring to the table a considerable reputation as an able executive who vanquished the public employee unions and their Democratic allies. But nobody has explained how a Northeastern governor with stands on both abortion and immigration that pass for conservative in New Jersey but not in most of the rest of the country can possibly compete for the votes of the GOP grass roots against people like Perry or Michele Bachmann. What Christie will do is to make serious inroads on Romney just at the time when he is gaining traction and erasing Perry’s once large lead. Romney’s path to the nomination is based on a belief he will win enough large states like Pennsylvania to offset the advantage his more conservative opponents have in much of the South and West.  

His late entry in the race would be exactly what Perry needs and a terrible blow to Romney. 

It really is Romney or Perry, and believe me when I say, may the better man win.