Like it or not, Republicans, your field of candidates for the presidential nomination is set

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie finally having closed the door for good on a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the field of contestants is now set. It will only get smaller from here on. Only the political equivalent of an asteroid hitting planet Earth could occasion the emergence of another major candidate.

So, let’s size-up each of the principal candidates:

Mitt Romney — He looks presidential and is a fairly decent debater, but he’s also a flip-flopper extraordinaire whose relatively moderate positions of the past make him persona non grata among hard-core conservatives. On the other hand, he would probably have a better chance than the others to defeat President Obama, which makes him, at this point, the favorite to win the nomination.

Rick Perry — He’s a loose cannon, a weak debater and, most tellingly, a guy Obama would love to face in the general election. His rhetoric on Social Security is an albatross, and his record on illegal immigration has alienated him from much of the Tea Party gang. His chances of winning the nomination are fading fast.

Herman Cain — His business background as a pizza magnate is a plus, and his style has charmed much of the GOP base. But his positions on most issues are weak, and his embrace of Islamophobia — especially with regard to the Sharia law bugaboo — casts him as a bit of a kook. He’s a long-shot, at best, for the nomination.

Ron Paul — His small army of hard-core libertarians provide him sufficient funding to stay in the race as long as he wants, but he has no chance whatever of becoming the nominee. He’s a cranky, eccentric old man whose positions make him utterly unelectable beyond his Texas congressional district.

Michele Bachmann — She was the flavor of the month (or a few weeks, anyway) when she won the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa but has since faded to insignificance. Her misstatements are innumerable, and her campaign is running very low on money. She might do well in the Iowa caucuses in January, if she lasts that long, but thereafter lies only oblivion for her candidacy.

Newt Gingrich — This guy has more baggage than a carousel at O’Hare Airport. His stint as speaker of the U.S. House in the 1990s ended in ignominy, and his marital record has left him with rice scars and a trail of infidelities. He’s a bookish guy, a smart guy, but his condescending style isn’t going to cut it. He has no chance whatever.

Jon Huntsman — A former governor with a fairly good record, he’s too moderate to pass muster with the Republican base. If he does fairly well in the New Hampshire primary (where Romney is the clear favorite at this point), he might remain at least marginally viable. But he’s only a long-shot for the nomination.

Rick Santorum — He’s the homophobes’ homophobe, a prickly theocrat who got bounced from his U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania by a thumping margin. He has no chance.

Gary Johnson (not pictured above) — He’s a former governor of New Mexico and, like Ron Paul, a libertarian. He’s not going anywhere.





  1. Ted Biondo

    Actually Pat, any of them are better than the currrent occupant of the White house. He has already proved his incompetence in the last three years.

  2. Ted: Four thoughts:

    1) What you see as Obama’s “incompetence” is largely the result of obstructionism on the part of congressional Republicans who clearly don’t want the economy to improve on his watch. No wonder Obama, despite his weak poll numbers, remains more popular than the Republicans in Congress.

    2) Anybody who thinks that Michele Bachmann, among others I could name, would be better than Obama simply isn’t thinking straight.

    3) This is a pretty weak Republican field. The only candidate with a chance of defeating Obama is Romney, but he’s going to have trouble winning the nomination.

    4) With the rise of the Tea Party extremists, the Republican Party has painted itself into a corner. It’s going to be fun to watch the party try to break the grip of the kooks.

  3. I suspect the republican power brokers are going to let the Tea Party extremists crash and burn in 2012, and then they will set up the party for a strong move in 2016. It started with McCain and Palin, and will be completed with the present group of incompetents.

  4. Ah yes, incompetents.

    Compared with who Jerry?


    I have no real favorite in the current field of Republican candidates but when I look at them I see Senators, Representatives, Governor’s, business leaders and the like, hardly a group of incompetents. You may disagree with their politics but to call them incompetents makes you look…..well, incompetent I guess.

  5. Jerry: Pay no mind to expdoc’s objection to the word “incompetents” in this context.

    The American Heritage Dictionary’s definition of “incompetent” includes this: “Inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application.”

    To apply that term to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates may be subjective, but so what? That’s what political conversation usually is. expdoc trafficks in subjective terms all the time.

    I’ll concede that some of the GOP White House hopefuls are perhaps less incompetent than some of the others. But I don’t consider any of them well-suited for the high office they’re seeking. A few of them, of course, are just laughably incompetent.

    President Michele Bachmann? Puh-leeze!

    President Ron Paul? A crazy thought!

  6. Thanks, Pat. I have learned not to take expdoc’s comments too seriously. When he doesn’t like a comment, but can’t really refute it, he tries to make it personal. If the worse thing that happens to me today is being called incompetent by expdoc, then I am having a pretty good day.

  7. Jerry: doc’s just out of sorts today because I’ve been picking on him. He gets bent out of shape when I call him a pathological union-hater.

  8. Out of sorts because you are picking on me?

    Such a silly place is this Applesauce blog, so lacking in perspective on it’s place in the world.

    My 2 favorite small town bloggers, Jerry and his hero Patty, seem to forget that I have a real life, where I make an actual difference in people’s lives each and every day. This is merely a passing diversion, like doing the crossword puzzle every day.

    Jerry calls the GOP candidates a group of incompetents and I am making it personal?

    I point out example after example of hateful union speech and behavior to Pat and I am a pathologic hater?

    You boys are seriously nutty. If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

  9. Well doc, for their sakes I hope you understand your patients better than you understand me. You made it personal by calling me incompetent. Why is that so hard to understand?

  10. expdoc: You are so myopic that you persist in faulting Jerry for calling Republican presidential candidates “incompetents,” even though I explained above that one of the word’s definitions fits the occasion (in a subjective sense).

    And speaking of the definitions of certain words, you’re wrong in labelling Jerry a “blogger.” I’m the blogger here. Jerry is the “reader” and “commenter.”

  11. I believe that if you google search Jerry Critter, you will find his blog Pat. His name used to link to his blog, but it seems that this function has been disabled.

    I have not argued that Jerry was at fault for using the word incompetent, I simply asked him a question about his own competence.

    If that’s name calling then I’m sorry, but so typical of this site. Easy to call others names (like hater) and mischaracterize their attitudes, but when it even approaches you personally so quick to be offended. Besides what happened to the unabashedly Applesauce attitude?

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