By Rawlein G. Soberano
Germantown, MD (March 1, 2011) – Conservative Political Action Committee is a high-profile dog-and-pony show for potential presidential candidates. The CPAC shindig is part carnival, part networking function and part ideological pep rally. It is an enormous marketplace where Republican Talibans, e.g., Eagle Forum, John Birch Society, Fox News program peddle their ideas and products.
For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) won the presidential straw poll conducted by CPAC capturing 30 percent of the votes. Mitt Romney came in second. The others on the ballot came in far behind. Number of ballots cast was 3,742, a 56 percent increase from 2010. Palin and Huckabee did not attend.
Among the 15 names on the ballot were former Gov. of NM, Gary Johnson and Gov. Chris Christie of NJ (6 percent of votes each); former Speaker Newt Gingrich (5 percent); former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann of MN, Gov. Mitch Daniels of IN (4 percent each); Sarah Palin (3 percent); Herman Cain of GA, former CEO of Godfather Pizza, Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum of PA, Sen. John Thune of SD (2 percent each); former Gov. Jon Huntsman of UT, Gov. Haley Barbour of MS and Donald Trump – a write-in candidate (1 percent each).
Sen. John Thune of SD is the GOP’s best candidate in 2012. He is renowned in political circles for outing Democrat Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader in 2004. But he is not associated with any particular issue and is certainly not a household name. His strength lies in his political savvy, his communications skills and his lack of baggage. It doesn’t hurt that his state is next door to IA, home of the caucuses that kick off the nominating process early next year. He has the strong support of conservatives who turn out heavily for the caucuses. But John has officially announced February 22 that he would best serve the nation and SD by staying in the Senate, which should be good news for Tim Pawlenty.
Sarah Palin was in office less 3 years into a 4-year term and stepped down to make money. One of her former aides (Frank Bailey) rips her in a yet-unpublished book. He was a political insider who joined her 2006 campaign for governor of AK and became part of her inner circle. The manuscript was helped by over 60k emails sent or received while working for her. Bailey recounts how she was first impressed when she blew the whistle on Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich for doing political work at his state job. He was convinced that she had the principles to take on the AK GOP machine. But the reality was nasty. Minor slights became obsessions, demanding revenge and if possible, destruction of the opponent’s reputation. Her negatives are too high to beat BHO.
Evangelicals are not gung-ho about the GOP presidential wannabes for 2012. Mitt Romney is not conservative enough, and they are going to use his religion, Mormonism (Jon Huntsman is of the same faith) to knock him out of the presidential primaries. He signed a similar law to “Obamacare” in MA, which his opponents will continue to rub in ad nauseam. His decision not to endorse NH 2010 Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne, who lost by less than 2,000 votes to Kelly Ayote, may haunt him in 2012. Mitt forgot that “your friends will work all day to help you get elected, but your enemies will stay up all night to make sure you don’t.”
Sarah Palin. Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee are appealing to the same conservative base. Mike is straight and honest, but he raised taxes. He doesn’t go for nor waste time on such nonsense as espoused by “Birthers” because they think BHO is unbeatable. The only thing left for them to exploit is by forcing him out through these malicious lies as being a Marxist, or a Muslim or running around with terrorists, or by impeaching him. He candidly admits that BHO is hard to beat in 2012 because of his campaign purse, an overcrowded GOP field, and he is not yet decided 100 percent to run in 2012. He advises GOP potential candidates to focus on the issues with which we have a disagreement, not on extraneous personal things that are immaterial.
Rep. Ron Paul of TX is the leading advocate for freedom in our nation’s capital. He works tirelessly for limited Constitutional government, low taxes, free markets and a return to sound monetary policies. He was one of four GOP congressmen to endorse RWR in 1976. NJ voters like having Gov. Chris Christie in the Statehouse, and they don’t think he’s ready for the White House. He put it succinctly in two words, “No way!” Jon Huntsman was the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman. He served as governor of UT. The biggest negative against him is his endorsement of Sarah Palin in 2008.
CNN’s profile of Michelle Bachmann who claims that God told her to run for office; her entrée into politics came about via a school board run, and her family taking in nearly two-dozen foster children. She favors news outlets that “won’t challenge what she has to say.” She is quite comfortable in the womb of conservative propaganda and clearly feels no need to acknowledge the world that challenges her perception of reality.
There is nothing more dangerous to democracy than theocracy. The Tea Party favorite, Bachman is a shameless liar who spreads provocative statements for the consumption of her ignorant base. She is the mistress of scare-mongering. Some of her outrageous statements include, “Obama’s trip to India cost $200 million”, “if conservatives lose in 2012, the government will take away 70 percent of your income in your peak earning years;” “America would become like Greece”, “cap and trade will destroy our future”, not to mention the threat to our moral foundation.
Gov. Haley Barbour of MS said he is going to decide in April whether or not to run for president in 2012, which is a copout. His prospects are poor if he has no specific plans to solve the problems facing the nation. His usual criticism of BHO is not going to fly this time, e.g., BHO paying lip service to job creation (it’s the GOP behind it to embarrass the President), he spends too much (what’s new?), America won’t get on the right track unless a Republican is elected president next year (he conveniently forgets what GWB did to the economy in 2000-2008). If he is elected president, it will be a heyday for lobbyists having been a tobacco lobbyist himself.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty of MN will never be elected president because he is boring. No one gets angry at him which may be good news for some of his supporters but not in politics. If no one gets angry at you, no one gets inspired by you. Besides, I don’t think the country is ready for an evangelical president even though he is more inclusive in his embrace of people from all walks of life.
Newt Gingrich has “one ex-wife too many” (three wives) and a widely publicized extra-marital affairs to be acceptable to most evangelicals. His diatribes against BHO have become a meaningless nuisance, like calling Obama’s team as anti-job, anti-small business, and accused them of total hypocrisy on offshore oil drilling.
He has become a harmless warrior whose bark is more boisterous than his once-lethal bite. Herman Cain of GA was former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a newspaper columnist, businessman and radio talk show host. He is an outstanding person and tremendous speaker. Even though he has been cancer-free in the last 5 years, the onus of the presidency would be too heavy for a man his age.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of PA wanted the US to stand by the dictator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, because he was pro-America, regardless of the fact that he was an enemy of democracy. He is way off base when he attacked BHO for not saying Jihad is evil and for not calling the Iranian regime to resign during the street protests last year, and for siding with protesters in Egypt last month. In foreign affairs, he scores a big Zero.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson of NM is hated by the GOP establishment for refusing to endorse GWB. He was a smart and courageous politician, but he supports legalization of drugs and that makes him unelectable.
Since becoming Governor in 2004, Gov. Mitch Daniels of IN was known for fiscal conservatism, earning a sobriquet “The Blade” during his tenure as GWB’s Director of OMB. His Deputy who is now head of GE’s Washington office, calls him a “true fiscal conservative.” He has cut both spending and taxes in IN, leased the state’s toll road to a private company for billions and expanded health insurance and prescription-drug access.
Some people want Donald Trump to run for president in 2012 to take the country out of its economic mess. I do not know what they see in Donald who has filed for bankruptcy protection and restructured his debt. By 2009 he filed for his third bankruptcy protection with a debt ratio of $50 million in assets to his $500 million in debt.
The “Party of No” in 2010 is the “Party of No Jobs” in 2011. I don’t expect it to be different in 2012. If you think they’ll come up and create jobs, where have you been all this time? They scream and yell about spending cuts; they haven’t mentioned jobs any more, hoping the American people will forget their promise to create jobs.
These big talkers won’t come up with jobs overall. They don’t know how. The only thing they are capable of doing is to make budget cuts and give more tax cuts to their friends and political donors. The American people have been had again. In the eight years under Bush/Cheney they created only 1 million jobs vs. the 22.5 million jobs created under Bill Clinton, and now up to 3 million in BHO’s two years in office.
Ignorance of the law is more of a threat to this nation’s security than what the Republicans and their allies purport to pin on BHO as impeachable offense for “failing” to enforce immigration laws. These are the worst cutthroat Christian mullahs (no different from the “Muslim fundamentalists”) who recently appeared on the scene to provide outlet to their racist proclivities for being unhappy that the White House is occupied by a black man and his family. They rant and rave, defining what is “impeachable” as anything they don’t like and scaring the American people about a problem that is non-existent or is under control unless they want to impose their Nazi-style approach to law-enforcement in order to remain in power.
Rawlein G. Soberano. Ph.D. is the President of the Asian American Business Roundtable, 20224 Thunderhead Way, Germantown, MD 20874. Call 301-601-9038, email [email protected] and visit online at www.aabronline.org.