Photoshop: Reader Jimmy D.
Yes, I’m still struggling. Like many of you, I am still carefully weighing all the costs and benefits of each declared GOP candidate. As the candidates continue highlighting each other’s unsavory left-wing alliances, I thought it might be helpful to compile a Hold Your Nose Tracker of the current top four front-runners. I’m just giving it to you straight. One way or the other, the plugs will come in handy. This is the hand we’ve been dealt, alas. Same as it ever was. (Flashback February 2008: The John McCain Nose Plugs.)
Update: Latest Rasmussen numbers are out. Cain: 43. Obama: 41. “Cain is tied with Romney for the lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Nobody else is even close at the moment.”
Newt Gingrich. This weekend, Gingrich called out Mitt Romney’s liberal Northeast Republican record. All well and good. But let’s not pretend away Newt’s own very recent strayings from mainstream conservatism. He snuggled up to Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore in 2008 (and laughably tried to spin the humiliating lovefest as a “debate”).
He endorsed ACORN-friendly, Big Labor-backing, tax-and-spend abortion radical Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 debacle in October 2009, prompting rank-and-file conservatives to send back his book and GOP solicitations like this one from reader Barnaby, who sent back his crossed-out Republican solicitation forms with a “NO RINOS” sticky note for Newt Gingrich:
He’s played footsie with Hillary Clinton on health care, backed an individual health care mandate and aspects of Romneycare, and vigorously attacked Paul Ryan’s free-market-based Medicare reform plan.
Herman Cain. His endorsement of pal Alan Greenspan’s Fed tenure shows too much trust for the central banking bureaucrats who helped inflate the housing bubble and who, like Naked Emperor Henry Paulson, engineered the era of endless bailouts.
For all his Tea Party cred and outside-the-Beltway status, Cain fell for the gun-to-our-heads, Chicken Little propaganda and supported TARP — vigorously — when America needed every consistent fiscal conservative voice possible to try and stop the predictable, all-purpose morphing of the bank bailout before it started.
Rick Perry. He tried to embarrass rival GOP gubernatorial candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison in September 2009 by painting her as soft on radical community organizing/fraud outfit ACORN — only to watch the attack wither after conservative opponents found him championing the group’s government shakedowns at a pro-ACORN bill-signing in 2005.
He has adopted the illegal alien DREAM Act agenda and echoed their attacks on opponents as “heartless:”
(Texans, by the way, are revolting against Perry’s lax attitude. Texas A&M students are petitioning Perry to call a special session to repeal the DREAM Act. Texas Tea Party leaders want Perry to come home and address illegal alien sanctuary cities now.)
He’s knee-deep in crony Merck lobbying ties and cash, a pair of massive government subsidy slush funds for friends and donors, and his own Solyndra-style penchant for picking taxpayer “investment” winners and losers.
And yes, he was for, then against, the government-knows-best TARP intervention. This weaseling about his position on a core Tea Party issue is typical Beltway behavior:
Mitt Romney . He embraced Nanny State Sen. Edward Kennedy and the federal dollars Uncle Teddy brought to the table to help subsidize Romneycare.
He put Romneycare/Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber on the map.
As all of these candidates’ campaigns remind us — endlessly — there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate.
Yep, don’t we all know it? Politics is the Pageant of the Imperfects.
Every single one of these front-runners is a pro-TARP interventionist with a variety of problematic Big Biz/Big Government impulses and alliances.
Which one will do the least worst job against Obama in the debates, on the campaign trail, and ultimately in the White House? Which one will insult the base the least? Which one will actually have the energy, competence, and credibility to directly challenge Obama’s corruption, profligacy, class-warfare demagoguery, progressive pandering, and epidemic failures?
Watching, waiting, hoping, praying. And yes, preparing the nose plugs however this race turns out…
GOP debate viewership is nearly double the last presidential cycle’s.
The next one’s on Tuesday in Las Vegas, organized again by CNN.
Would be nice to get more conservatives to Occupy GOP Debates next time around.