The objective is winning the presidency. The issue is jobs. The question is which Republican candidate can best convince the electorate that they can energize the economy after the twin disasters of the 2008 financial system meltdown and the Obama administration's mismanagement. The field is not that big.
- Mike Huckaby is a good guy. He has some good experience as a governor and he has name recognition. He has strong credibility as an ecumenical. There is room to argue about his domestic and international views, but none of this gets at the central point. His campaign would not have been about jobs.
- Newt's decision to enter the fray by attacking Paul Ryan's budget - which all but four Republican House members voted for - was a quick reminder of his 1998 implosion. He may appeal to those interested in government processes but has nothing credible to say about jobs.
- Deficit reduction is a central issue for conservatives and has broad appeal. But it takes a large extra step to translate dealing with budget deficits into a near term formula to create jobs. In fact, the Democrats argue the opposite. Fortunately we have Paul Ryan and many other serious governors and Congressional members to carry the fiscal sanity banner whether it is politically attractive or not (as in Medicare reform). An argument about whether austerity (Ryan) or more stimulus spending (Obama) will create jobs is a tough sell for the voter who has been out of work for a year. The kids and grand kids are important, but talk to me about jobs.
- The growth of local, state, and national government and public employee labor unions is an important issue for conservatives. Mitch Daniels, Chris Cristie, Scott Walker and others are doing good work - but their appeal is not in job creation. The argument that they are creating a better business climate that will generate future jobs requires a sell - and an appeal to take jobs from other states may not work at the national level.
- So, who can speak most convincingly about his alternatives to President Obama's policies that are killing jobs - in the energy industry; in small business; in foreign trade; in taxation; in health care; in banking; in housing; in Environmental Protection Agency regulations; in National Labor Relations Board decisions? Is there anybody with name recognition and government experience who has demonstrated success in this area? Anybody who can articulate a vision of a reinvogorated and broadly prosperous America?
This week's video is an assessment of the Republican candidates by Jon Stewart who actually has good things to say (by his standards) about Mitt Romney and Plan B, Tim Pawlenty.