- Our friend First Ringer provides a typically great synopsis over at Mitch's place if you need to catch up on all of the particulars, but the big news of the day was that Rick Perry dropped out of the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich, which was a curious move. One could write volumes about the problems Perry encountered in his campaign. Whether anyone would want to read them is another matter. He was supposed to the deus ex machina of the race, but he turned out to be more of a doofus ex machina. He has a good record as governor and I remain convinced that being a governor is the best prerequisite for the job of President, but he wasn't ready to be president. And it's likely he never will be.
- Newt Gingrich is, as always, the most interesting guy in the race, although he's interesting in the sense of the famous Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times." One of his ex-wives unloaded on him yesterday and the matter came up in the debate, which gave Gingrich the opening to be outrageously outraged about the whole thing. He took great, theatrical umbrage and battered CNN moderator John King about the neck and ears, earning a standing ovation from the assembled crowd. It's a pretty good trick to get a room full of Republicans to give a standing ovation to a philanderer, but that's the beauty of Newt. I continue to believe his popularity rests entirely on his willingness to play bully boy and take the battle to his interlocutors. I'll admit I enjoy it, too. Having said that, it's preposterous to think he could be an effective President. Andy Aplikowski has an interesting take on the matter of Gingrich, too.
- Rick Santorum is still standing, for reasons that aren't entirely clear. I've never really thought much of him and while he's been occasionally effective on the trail and may have won Iowa after all, he's not the right guy to run the country. Social conservatism is fine but for it to triumph it needs to win the hearts and minds of the citizenry through persuasion, not be imposed by fiat. And Santorum seems far too comfortable with the notion of using the tools of the state to impose things by fiat.
- Ron Paul is Ron Paul. He's doing his Old Testament prophet shtick and raising important points, but he's also 76 years old and it's evident that he's getting worn down. I fully expect him to remain in the race to the end, though, because he's playing the long game and trying to change the nature of the conversation. And in doing so he's performing a necessary service.
- That leaves Mitt Romney. He's not the guy most conservatives would prefer, but he's the guy we are likely to get, despite the punches in the nose he's getting at the moment. He's been running for president for about 8 years now and the experience shows in his campaign. He's problematic for several reasons, but in the end the question will be this -- is he better than Barack Obama? If this year plays out the way I suspect it will, Obama will have a very difficult time convincing anyone he deserves a second term.
Friday, January 20, 2012
State of Play
Another presidential debate last night -- only saw excerpts of it because the kids were watching something else. Good thing, too. A lot happened in the last few days, though: