Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where do we go from here?

In this post I’m not going to discuss the objective merits of the candidates. I’m not going to discuss who deserves to win. I’m just going to discuss the stylistics of the race.

Of course, that’s a bad way to choose a candidate. However, that’s a significant factor in political success or failure, for modern presidential campaigns are televised. As such, the message is the messenger.

I doubt Bachmann will be the nominee. The main reason, I think, is that she’s a woman. Presidential elections favor male candidates.

Bachmann is very feminine. And I don’t mean in a girly-girl sense. She’s not fluffy like Sarah Palin.

She’s feminine in a very welcome sense. Smart, firm, principled, disciplined, poised, and pretty. Very classy. A real lady. 

But if you were making war movie, and you were casting the platoon leader, who would the infantry follow over the hill? Bachmann in fatigues or Perry in fatigues?

When you think "Commander-in-Chief," what's your mental image? 

As between Romney and Perry, I think that especially in Republican primaries, Perry has the edge.

Think of the typical college film. Romney would be cast as the student you love to hate. The guy who has it made. Fresh out of prep school. Perfect hair. Perfect teeth. Perfect speech. Expensive suits. Expensive car. Daddy’s 7-digit credit line. Predestined to succeed.

He’d be the foil. The butt of all the frat-boy pranks.

By contrast, you’d cast Perry as the he-man. The prankster. The underdog. The cadet.

You might object that I’m indulging in class warfare, which is supposedly a no-no in Republican politics, but that’s not the case. Republicans generally oppose class warfare in the tax code. That’s because we’re pro-business. Pro-growth. Pro-competition. 

But that aside, the GOP has a more sunbelt, blue-collar ethos. Romney is a throwback to the nearly extinct species of the Northeastern Republican.

Now it’s possible that Perry will implode. He hasn’t been tested on the national stage.

In the general election, Perry has one advantage over Romney while Romney has one advantage over Perry.

Perry’s advantage is that he has a greater capacity to mobilize the base than Romney.

On the other hand, because Romney is so square and bland and colorless, he’s not as easy to demonize as Perry. If Perry’s the nominee, you’ll have a classic match up between the Northeastern culture of the mainstream media and the Southwestern culture of the Lone Star state.

It’s possible that John Bolton will enter the race. I can’t imagine he’ll be the nominee, although he might be Secretary of State.   


  1. But but Steve,

    setting aside all that, can't we work on an election system where California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska vote first then the very farthest Eastern seaboard kinda working towards Middle America from both directions so the networks can't call an election before everybody gets a chance to vote? :)

  2. You forgot to mention Ron Paul. Of the bunch, he is the guy that makes most sense. When I watch guys like Romney or Perry, I am not convinced they have the interests of their fellow countrymen at heart. Instead, when I watch the likes of those two, I feel like I need to have a shower. If Romney or Perry get the nomination, there may as well not be an election, as they would be doing the same thing as Obama anyhow. By not having the election, at least some time and money could be saved.

  3. Ron Paul makes sense...except when he makes nonsense.

  4. some far left sources are demonizing Romney using his Mormonism. plus I'm not sure the majority of evangelicals will vote for a Mormon. In a Romney v. Obama, it may be easier to vote for Romney; but voting for Romney over Perry (who led a massive prayer meeting) may not happen with many conservative Christians.

  5. Mike A. Robinson said:

    I'm not sure the majority of evangelicals will vote for a Mormon. In a Romney v. Obama, it may be easier to vote for Romney; but voting for Romney over Perry (who led a massive prayer meeting) may not happen with many conservative Christians.

    I think you could well be right.

    And I agree if it's Romney vs. Obama, then I could see a lot of evangelicals being persuaded to bite the bullet and go with Romney. Romney is probably more solid than Obama on most of the issues that matter most to evangelicals.

    Then again, like Steve pointed out, he's a bland figure. Image matters a lot to people too, including to a lot of evangelicals.

    Speaking for myself, as far as Mormon candidates go (alas), I think I'd prefer to see Huntsman over Romney.

  6. Another problem Romney has is credibility. He changed his position on so many issues in so short a period of time in preparation for the 2008 cycle. Maybe he's been convinced of conservatism since then, but even if so, he still has the problem of appearing insincere. He's not as reliable a conservative as somebody like Perry or Bachmann. If the polls turn against Republicans while Romney is in office, it's not difficult to see him moving to the center or worse. And he wouldn't be as trustworthy in the context of choosing judges and other such things.

    What's needed is a candidate who avoids Bachmann's electability problem and Romney's credibility problem. I thought Pawlenty would be the best choice to do that. (For example, Minnesota would be a good state for Republicans to pick up, whereas Republicans would win Texas without Perry, and it would be harder to tie Pawlenty to Bush than it would be to do that with Perry.) Now that Pawlenty is out of the race, it looks like Perry would be the best choice.