A scary thought struck me this week- we are already in primary season. As of yet, the Republican Party can’t seem to find a candidate who has the ability to inspire both the base and Independents alike. I believe they are desperately seeking a Reagan but, sadly, Reagan is dead and the current candidates don’t look too good themselves.
Republican and conservative voters want a candidate we can believe in, someone who will blow us off our feet and blow the competition away. Where is the candidate who rallies the base and, like Gandalf on the bridge of Khazad-dûm, tells the Obama machine “Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass”?
Let’s be honest, Herman Cain was a fiasco. We were hoping for a Godfather but got a playa instead. What is most frustrating about the situation, though, is that Cain had some innovative ideas and was able to articulate with passion. Now his economic proposals will be discounted in light of his (allegedly) atrocious treatment of women.
Of those candidates left, only four can realistically win the nomination at the end of the primary season, but no one is celebrating yet. Each candidate is solid and proven, but none are lighting any fires in the party’s faithful. Why not?
To start with, Romney has all the thrill of a glass of buttermilk. Sure it’s rich and has beneficial qualities, but who wants to guzzle it down and instantly demand another? On the other hand, we are told that Gingrich too much baggage.
Baggage? Baggage? We don’t need no stinking baggage.
Actually, Newt is like a lit firecracker. You know it’s going to go off in a spectacular display but no one is sure where the explosion will take place and how destructive it will be.
The other two are from Texas, which says a lot. We’re told that everything is bigger in Texas, but Perry’s campaign seemed to have missed the memo. When Perry entered the race, he was sitting tall in the saddle. Unfortunately, voters soon discovered that saddle was on a Shetland Pony.
And then there’s Ron Paul. In 2008 I voted for Paul in the N.C. primary even though McCain had already won the nomination. This year I’m not so certain. Paul increasingly reminds me of Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation– he means well and can be devastating in his critiques, but every time he speaks you have to hold your breath for fear of what he might say.
So here we are in late December. What can be done with only two weeks left?
I am of the opinion that only two of the final four have the potential to become the candidate we can passionately support. Those two are Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Why not Gingrich or Paul? For very similar reasons.
Gingrich has the propensity to speak without thinking, believing that his erudition will overcome any final objection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. For Paul, the Libertarian nature of his words will hamstring him. I can imagine Obama facing Paul in a debate and bring up Paul’s stance on ending, or at least auditing, the Fed. Obama would only have to say that ending the Fed would disenfranchise minority voters, eliminate jobs, hinder a child’s education, destroy the environment or any of his other standard objections to reason, and Paul would be finished.
So we are left with Romney and Perry, but not really. Perry’s freezing in a debate was his undoing. Certainly he recovered well, but what Republican thinks that a good showing on David Letterman is something to get excited about? I don’t.
Therefore, the GOP’s hopes appear to rest solely on Romney. He has been groomed for this, he has the look (and the hair!), he knows the issues and has the business experience needed in a down economy. What he needs to do is unleash some passion- un-tuck the Oxford, mess up the perfectly coiffed “do” and raise his voice a little. Not to the Howard Dean level of screeching, mind you, but some volume changes and body movements wouldn’t hurt.
Mitt can handle himself in a debate. He knows the issues and is able to lead. All that remains now is excite the voters. Mitt, you can do it! Come on baby, light our fire.