Monday, May 30, 2011

More thoughts on the Republican presidential field

By Richard K. Barry

Now Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is saying that, had he chosen to pursue the Republican nomination for the presidency, he could have beaten Obama. Where have we heard this before?

Oh yeah, Mike Huckabee said the same thing, as did Donald Trump.

This is playground boasting bullshit. If any of these guys thought they could beat Obama, they would have jumped in with bells on. At least Haley Barbour had the integrity to admit that he didn't get in because Obama would just be too hard to beat.

This did, however, get me thinking about what I see as the categories of those who are either running, thought about running or are still thinking about it. It's goes a little something like this:

  • Those who feel that this might be their one and only chance to win the thing.
  • Those who have no chance of winning either the nomination or the general election but look(ed) on the process as a way to raise their profile or just to push a very specific agenda.
  • Those who would have gotten no coverage if the field weren't so weak, so are finding the promise of attention too much fun to pass up (but are otherwise without hope).
  • Those who have grown weary of listening to how weak the field is and can't help but at least talk about offering themselves because their egos demand it.
  • Corollary to this one: those who can't stand not being talked about as a potential front-runner.
  • Those who, when being honest, know that an incumbent president would be hard to beat, especially this one, and know also that they have time on their side, perhaps being young and new to things.
  • Those who know that the ideological purity test required by the Republican Party these days is just too hard to navigate.
  • And a subset of the previous, those who are being courted by the GOP leadership but who know that the moment they really give it serious consideration, every slight break with conservative orthodoxy that they even thought about would bite them in the ass in a hurry.
  • And finally, those who are just delusional (are you listening Newt?)

Make up your own categories. Mix and match. I'll leave it to you to attach names to each grouping. It's a game the whole family can play.

But on that point of candidates who didn't get in but swear that, had they taken the leap, they could have beaten Obama, I have just one thing to say:

I know that if I had only auditioned, I could have been the next American Idol, but I chose not to compete for family reasons. You do believe me, don't you?

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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