I have heard plenty of Democrats say they hope Republicans choose the worst of the worse because they think that will re-elect Obama. I don't buy into that philosophy. Even though a Republican candidate (of any sort) is not going to have policies with which I agree, I want the best of the best. The chances, slim or not, of that worst one winning are why I'd like to see Republicans choose someone competent to at least carry out the policies they claim will fix all the problems we have.
This is where I always find myself amazed and no different today than in past years. Why do they not offer leaders who offer real alternatives? How do they first complain the government does too much and then blame the President for the loss of jobs? Does that make sense?
So I thought it'd be good to consider a few of the possibilities as things stand today, which is way too early to be sure it matters in a year but still is worth looking at.
Even though I start with Newt Gingrich, he probably doesn't have a shot at it. It's not actually his three marriages, but it's how he got them that undermines his newly found claims of religious authority. I do not consider him a non-player though for one big reason.
Newt Gingrich actually gets to be on Rush's show. He might not be actively promoting him (I haven't listened to Rush in a month or two) due to Newt's lack of popularity with the people (for now) but he doesn't have many actually interviewed on his show and that has to count for some degree of popularity with the mainstream of the Republican party. So what else should Republican know about Gingrich?
The more likely candidate and many Democrats like this idea is Michele Bachmann for her ideological stances which if you've been hearing her lately you are seeing carefully toned down from earlier years. No more of judging others. She's going to be a moderate, at least until she wins, right wing religious extremist.
I have written about Bachmann before as in she is the real deal for how she believes the religious things she says. The toning down is carefully selected to reassure the middle but at the same time let the religious faithful know it'll be okay when she wins. This is walking a fine line.
The question has to be what about being a true believer where it comes to another beautiful female favorite, Sarah Palin? Palin might seem out of it by now due to polling numbers, another stop and start operation (her bus tour ended when she supposedly was called to jury duty in Alaska). I wouldn't personally count her out as what she gives Republicans is red meat hate in a sexy body. I really do sometimes wonder who she'd have been if McCain had not picked her way before she was ready for national fame. Not as rich for sure.
Then there's Tim Pawlenty, another tea party firebrand who doesn't seem to have the ability to actually excite his troops as he also doesn't have the physical beauty even as he says all the right things like let the country not pay its bills by using what money there is to cover paying China (can't alienate the corporate interests in our country or the Chinese) and ignore the rest of the debts which means domestic-- ie Social Security, military pay, Medicare, and not sure what else. I would guess he'd pull military out of that list; so he'd pay the bills by not paying the elderly, the sick and the poor.
I should cover one other Tea Party favorite (10% right now). Naturally a religious right winger with only business success (pizza and burgers) to show for why he could run the country. Who cares, he's another religious true believer who god has chosen.
Never underestimate the power of religious zeal when Republicans in particular decide for whom to vote.
Finally to our two Mormon leaders who have proven they can govern a state (without resigning midway), speak articulately, talk on the issues (even change their minds when convenient) but will Mormonism be a bridge too far for the religious right? I believe that block will determine who gets their party's nomination unless a more moderate wing of the Republican party starts flexing their muscles which isn't happening right now.
The question I would have for the two Mormons, rather than whether they have positions I favor, is how important would what their church leader's position (he is remember appointed by God) be where it came to their policy decisions if they came into power. This was one John Kennedy faced and likewise John Kerry who also followed a religion that believes their leader is chosen directly by god.
The following is a valid question for any candidate who is has a strong religious faith, whether in a church like Catholicism or simply the person who says God told them to run.
For those who don't have such an earthly leader (other than themselves), would they do what the little voice in their head said to do even if it didn't look logical to them?
They must have the right answer to satisfy the religious types who would vote for them and the rest of us should listen carefully to what it is also. Once they run for president, they will start hedging on it in public speaking (think John Roberts as a modest jurist), but they all have past track records on the subject, worth keeping in mind for what they might do once they got in office.
The American presidency wields some very impressive powers (at least for now) which don't always require approval of Congress. If you look at some of what Bush did that way (blocking funding for any investigation of global warming by the CIA for instance), you want to be sure whoever is in there isn't listening to the wrong tiny still voice!