I have been supporting Tim Pawlenty for president this go round. Now it appears I have to find a new candidate.
My reasons for supporting him were that he was from a Democrat leading Midwestern state and had run a generally conservative administration. He seemed like a serious man with a nice family and solid accomplishments.
I wanted as little as possible for the Democrats to demonize and for my money Minnesotans are tough to turn into bogeymen. (Al Franken aside.)
So much for that. Pawlenty’s inability to capture the imagination of primary goers next door or to galvanize enough strength to get him past Iowa doomed him. Michele Bachmann is a reminder that charisma matters in politics.
I used the “Goldilocks” method to pick Pawlenty. Romney-too wishy washy (and politically tone deaf); Bachmann-too staunch (and only a congresswoman); Gingrich-too many wives, Huntsman-too beloved by Democrats; Santorum-too hated by Democrats; Herman Cain-too untried; Ron Paul-too much. And now Rick Perry-too Texan? If he is the nominee, Texas and George Bush’s time in office will be the issue and not Obama. Perry seems fine to me in a lot of ways but we start with a problem: he is easy for the Democrats to demonize and to get their media echo chamber to demonize.
The key now is electability. In 2012 Obama is vulnerable. In point of fact things may be so bad next year any Republican can beat him. But that is not the way to bet. Romney is the Gerry Cooney of presidential politics. He looks fine until he runs into a real champion boxer when the mat rises up to meet him. I also think anti-Mormon prejudice is too great and exploiting that prejudice too acceptable (see Kennedy v. Romney) for the Republicans to chance it.
It is down to Bachmann and Perry. All the other potential nominees are not strong enough to take the nomination and have weaknesses greater than or equal to those of Perry or Bachmann. Perry has been a governor for ten years. Bachmann a back bencher for six. Bachmann may not carry her state, Perry will. With Jeb Bush staying out who has the base, the money, the name recognition and the experience to best him in a Republican primary?