I wrote a while back that I could not support Jon Huntsman ever for what many consider a very esoteric reason — he went to work for the President of the United States and while working for the President of the United States decided to run against his boss. That the President is Barack Obama has no relevance to me.
I am not, at this point, planning on even attempting to walk back that "ever," but consider it a sign of how frustrated I am with the race.
I have not endorsed any candidate and I do not intend to endorse any candidate.
I know and like Rick Perry tremendously and I think that not only could he beat Barack Obama, but that he would beat Obama and be an excellent President conservatives would not feel the need to fight against every step of the way. He just has to improve his debating skills and figure out how to reconcile his immigration views with the base (not easily done). Other than Romney, I think Perry has the easiest path to victory if he can recover some of his footing.
I know and like Herman Cain tremendously and I think that should he survive this latest problem with his campaign, he would come out of it much, much stronger and could beat Barack Obama and be an excellent President. However, I do not know that he can improve his image with women quickly enough.
I do not really know, but have always liked Newt Gingrich. I think Newt Gingrich could beat Barack Obama. But Newt Gingrich, throughout his long career, has a habit of shooting himself and others in the foot and I sometimes get the impression that Gingrich, like George W. Bush before him, thinks conservatism is what he says it is and not what it actually is. So were he elected, conservatives would find themselves in opposition to him on big issues. Likewise, he has issues with women too. Consider only my wife, whose math teacher was Newt's first wife. After returning from our honeymoon, she threw out my autographed copy of To Renew America and forbid its return into our house. My wife holds grudges.
I know nothing about Jon Huntsman, but unlike MItt Romney, Huntsman is not running away from his record as Governor. He has some moderate to liberal tendencies of gay marriage and the environment, but he's never flip-flopped on abortion, the need for tax cuts, etc. I still find it shocking that the guy running as the liberal in the race, or at least the media accepted moderate, came up withe boldest, most conservative economic plan. His deficit reduction plan alone makes all the others look weak. To even get me to half-way take him seriously though, I think he'd have to get rid of Jon Weaver and show conservatives he actually is a conservative. Thus far, from his jokes at debates to his tweets, he's come across as condescending. But he does like Nirvana. That's something.
All that said, I think each of these men could beat Barack Obama and conservatives would be with them more than against them — though with some more often than with others.
I really do believe that MItt Romney cannot beat Barack Obama. You and I both have time and time again seen the GOP decide to go with "the most electable" guy only to lose. The corollary is that we've also seen a lot of conservatives decide they must stay so pure to their convictions they get the teetotaler who cannot win the general. Conservatives have to choose the right combination of conservative conviction and electability.
Notwithstanding all of that, I do not see how Romney wins given Romney's lack of any core beliefs and conservative conviction only when he needs conservative conviction. Americans want a guy who means what he says even if they don't always agree with him. Likewise, if somehow I am wrong and Romney could beat Obama, you and I both know that given how this campaign has gone so far, Romney would decide he did not need conservatives and could govern without them. If you need a more recent example, look to the election of Charlie Crist in Florida after Jeb Bush.