By Javier Manjarres
As 2011 comes to a close and the primary voting season begins, there are a couple of ‘hard to ignore’ sentiments that are being expressed by a growing number of Republicans. The first is that all of the candidates in the current field of Republican candidates are deficient in one or more crucial areas that greatly affects their chances to win the Republican primary; and secondly, because of the fact that the Republican electorate is so perfectly fragmented along several different fault lines, it will be very hard for any one candidate to unite the conservative base, the Republican Party, and enough independent voters to defeat President Obama.
Each of the Republican presidential candidates has fallen out of favor with likely Republican primary voters. First, we had Michele Bachmann who assumed the front runner status early in the race from early favorite Mitt Romney, but her support dropped after Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the race. Perry himself then dropped like a rock after failing to address Florida’s Republican activists during the Presidency 5 debate in Orlando, which then elevated Herman Cain to the top of the polls. Cain wound up winning the Presidency 5 straw poll after Perry’s supporters voted for Cain in protest- many still doubt if he has what it takes to be President.
Cain’s campaign ended earlier this month after he became the target of numerous sexual harassment and infidelity allegations, which led to the rise of Newt Gingrich, whose campaign is now losing steam fast as primary voters are being reminded of his not-so-conservative tendencies along with his involvement with Freddie Mac. Many speculate that Gingrich is the most toxic candidate in the field who would be a very hard sell to a general election audience, and his past support of portions of Obama’s Stimulus Plan, Cap-n-Trade, and RomneyCare don’t reassure conservatives that he is the “Not Romney” candidate with more consistent conservative impulses.
After all, how can Gingrich plausibly state he is the “not Romney” candidate when he effusively praised RomneyCare back in 2006? Check out what Newt himself wrote about RomneyCare in a “Newt’s Notes” memo written on behalf of the Center for Health Transformation. Read the memo here
We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all Americans.
The individual mandate requires those who earn enough to afford insurance to purchase coverage, and subsidies will be made available to those individuals who cannot afford insurance on their own. We agree strongly with this principle, but the details are crucial when it comes to the structure of this plan. … In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upwards of $54,000 per year.-Newt’s notes
Surprisingly, Ron Paul is leading in the latest Iowa poll, and he could very well prevail in Iowa. But the latest revelations regarding Ron Paul’s newsletters and the slurs he published against blacks, Jews and gays are at the center of controversy right now. For all intents and purposes, Ron Paul’s high water mark will likely be in Iowa. Read more here: Ron Paul’s Bigoted Remark-”Hate Whitey Day”
Amidst all of the musical chairs in the Republican primary, the one candidate whose level support hasn’t greatly changed is Mitt Romney. Romney has hovered around the 20% mark all year, and he has either been the front runner or a close second. Romney has political baggage as we all know, and what worries conservatives the most are his timidity and his technocratic, big government impulses. Romney’s biggest obstacle is his own “RomneyCare” that he imposed on Massachusetts while Governor, and it served as the basis for President Obama’s now infamous ‘Obamacare’ legislation that is at the epicenter of political controversy in this country.
So what’s to come in the coming weeks? Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has yet to take the reigns as the front runner, but he could make run in the Iowa caucuses. However, if he finishes out of the top 3 in Iowa, he may fold up shop.
Another factor to consider is the steady resurgence of Bachmann and Perry. Both candidates are locked in a dead heat for fourth place in all the Iowa polls. While Bachmann and Perry are trending up, Gingrich, Paul and Romney are either trending down or are stagnant. Santorum, Bachmann, and Perry are considered to be the more consistent social conservatives, but they appear to be splitting that voting bloc between the three of them.
Then there is Florida. It’s important to note that much of Gingrich’s current support in the state were formerly Cain supporters, but those same Cain supporters were first with Rick Perry. Governor Perry has a very peculiar opportunity to come to Florida and win back those Gingrich supporters, but this will all be predicated on his performance in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
Bachmann’s chances to make a comeback are similar to Perry’s. Many of the tea party faithful who would readily support Bachmann, are on the fence about her candidacy, preferring to wait and see how well she does in the early primaries. The Tea Party’s current support of Gingrich somewhat inexplicable, as his past positions and DC-Insider status don’t quite jive with Tea Party sentiments. Unfortunately, many primary voters are mistakenly thinking that debating skills are going to be enough to defeat Obama in a general election.
So with all of the recent not-so-sunny developments coming out of the Romney, Gingrich, and Paul campaigns, it’s time for the Republican electorate begin to take another look at Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. With a brokered convention looking increasingly possible, is it too late to draft an Allen West, Paul Ryan, or Marco Rubio? What do you think?