And so it goes.
Governor Christie of New Jersey decided to stay put. It ended months of speculation as to whether he would run for the Republican Presidential candidates spot.
Given the way all the other candidates are being vilified, I can't say that I blame him.
I'm sure there are a lot of other reasons he's not running.
Here's how I see it.
The field of candidates is overflowing. It's like a really bad buffet. There's a little something for everybody, but no one person the Party can embrace as a whole.
Mitt Romney came out as the early front runner. Unfortunately, he has a lot of things people can pick him apart on. His record as Governor of Massachusetts wasn't exactly a gem. His State mandated health care plan gets hung around his neck like a rock by his competitors every chance they get. His stiff and aloof mannerisms don't really play well on camera, be it during debates or campaign stops. In a Party dominated by conservative Christians, being a Mormon is not an asset. It may not be a deal breaker, but it isn't a bargaining chip by any stretch of the imagination.
For the record, I have friends and former coworkers who are Mormons. I can not say a bad thing about any of them. Fine people, one and all. Just don't try to bum a smoke from them.
The other Mormon in the field, Jon Huntsman, is probably the most electable of the lot. Unfortunately, he gets scarce notice. For a lot of the Party he's too middle of the road. The Tea Party faction, whose demise I predict in 2012, would never stand for him. He worked for the Obama Administration as Ambassador to China. Then again, he's also worked for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. He's also been the Governor of Utah, and spent time as the CEO of his family's company. That's a pretty strong resume, one that should make him one of the top prospects. Unfortunately, he has very little charisma. Even less than Romney. His speeches have all the pizazz of a bowl of oatmeal. He's already faded, but presses on in hope of a miracle.
Rick Santorum is best summed up by Googling his last name. I'm not sure who he pissed off, but that's a pretty rough slap back. He's way in the back of the field with Huntsman and Newt "Have You Seen Me?" Gingrich. He has a real "likability" problem. The last politician that gave me the creeps this bad was Michael Dukakis.
This is what a bad photo op looks like.
Newt Gingrich only has one real problem with his campaign. Unfortunately, the problem is that he's Newt Gingrich. He has no new ideas. Early in the campaign his attitude cost him some key members of his staff. Having two divorces under his belt doesn't really add any luster either. Especially cheating on wife number two with his current wife. She was one of his staffers. Nice touch. Maybe he should change his nickname from "Newt" to "Santorum".
Apologies to Mr. Santorum for that last link.
I promise I won't use it again.
Michele Bachmann sort of scares me. Not because she's a strong willed woman. I can respect that. What scares me is that she has moments of clarity where she brings up some really good points. Then, out of nowhere, she has a full blown H. Ross Perot moment and goes right off the deep end. You can review it for yourself here. That's way too much typing for me. Bottom line for her is that her campaign is toast. She lost two top members of her campaign earlier this year. A bunch more jumped ship today. Campaign staffers jump when it is obvious that the campaign has failed.
Herman Cain comes as a surprise to me. He's never held a public office, although he did run for one a few years back. He's been a successful businessman, a radio talk show host, and a minister. His first job was working as a mathematician in ballistics as a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy.
Sounds like a fun job.
Mr. Cain is currently rising in the Republican polls. Early on he aligned himself with the Tea Party. He is a pretty engaging speaker and seems to be a quick thinker. He's thrown a barb or two around and come out on top.
However, I think his surge will have a brief run. I think he's been the beneficiary of Texas' Governor Rick Perry's implosion. The good Governor has taken one of the best planned political launches and turned it into a train wreck. He and his handlers had to know that every one of the other candidates would be gunning for him. All he had to do is stick to the script. In his defense, it seems like he wants to be his own man and answer questions as he sees fit. The down side is it seems he has limited ability to formulate a reasonable response. The California debate was bad. He stammered and looked horribly uncomfortable. The Florida debate was worse. Any goodwill his handlers earned him coming into the race is all but gone.
He's dropped nearly twenty percentage points in the polls since he entered.
That's pretty impressive. Most candidates would have to have an affair or run over a daycare van.
Perry has succeeded by simply opening his mouth.
I'm not even going to bother bringing Sarah Palin into this conversation. She's irrelevant at this point except to say she's been treated harshly by the candidates and the media. In defense of the candidates and the media, there have been many times where Ms. Palin initiated the fight.
So then, Governor Christie has watched all this shenanigans. He saw all the grief Palin got when she bailed out of the Governor's office halfway through her first term. He's seen what happens to the new guy jumping into the Presidential pool, especially when they come out and step right into first place.
Why in God's name would he want to put himself and his family through it?
They really should change the term from "vetting" to "gutting" when it comes to running for an Executive Branch office.
Honestly, I think the big money machines behind the Republican Party finally realize that the field needs to shrink, not grow. The messages are getting diluted and cluttered.
I'm not saying I'm not enjoying it.
In a weird way, the field of Republican candidates reminds me of the old "Our Gang" short films.
Except the "Our Gang" kids worked things out in the end.
There will likely come a time when it is Christie's "time".
Maybe by then the schism in the GOP will have healed a bit.
It's been good to be away from the blog for a week.
I've been working on a few things.
It's good to be back.
Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, ret.