Last night, the Republican Presidential Candidates met for a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Before we even delve into particular candidates, I’d like to say once again, any one of these candidates could do a better job than Barrack Obama. Even Ron Paul* or John Huntsman would do a far better job than the Obama. So could Foghorn Leghorn.
However, this debate was about figuring out who to support as Republican voters. So let’s talk about the particular candidates, in alphabetical order so nobody can accuse me of bias.** I will also note whether or not I’d buy, sell, or hold their stock, and in a few cases, sell all (given up on them as ever legitimately being the 2012 Republican Nominee).
Michelle Bachmann (Stock – Hold):
Bachmann started the night as my current favorite. She didn’t exactly stand out. She seems to have fallen off as the 2nd person in the debate. She didn’t say anything wrong…but she didn’t really say anything memorable either. She did continue her statements of $2 per gallon gas, and for the record I think it’s very do-able. Increased supply would do that easily. (Heck, when Bush just started to allow deep water drilling permits after Hurricane Katrina, gas dropped below $1.50 per gallon.) In short, Congresswoman Bachmann didn’t do anything wrong, but she didn’t really hit anything out of the park. In this debate, she seems to have fallen back to the ranks of Vice Presidential candidate…of course a win in the Iowa Caucuses can do a big difference, and last month’s Ames Straw Poll did suggest she could do just that.
Herman Cain (Stock – Hold):
Cain was similar to Bachmann in this debate. I think Cain has great solutions, and I don’t think he can get elected President right now. It’s unfortunate, but the American people are likely going to consider his lack of political experience as a minus. I, for one, see it as a plus, but unfortunately most Americans aren’t as informed as I am. However, I think Cain would be a top notch Vice Presidential candidate.
Newt Gingrich (Stock – Hold):
Gingrich once again had some of the best lines of the night. He really hit a few out of the park, including telling MSNBC to shut it with the gotcha questions and the stirring of the pot between candidates. I still think he’s great in debates but not going to get nominated. However, I’d like to suggest that, if he’d accept it, Gingrich would make a great Vice Presidential nominee because he can take the attack dog role very well.
Jon Huntsman (Stock – Sell all***):
Seriously…I’m a busy man with stuff to do. I’m not wasting my time with Hunstman when I could be defrosting my freezer or scrubbing my cat’s litter box. He’s a waste of time in this campaign. Jon Huntsman was a bad candidate when he was named John McCain, and he was a bad candidate when he was named Bob Dole. We don’t need a moderate wimp.
On the issue of man-caused Global Warming, Huntsman shot himself in the foot, twice, and managed to leave only one bullet hole. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means he shot himself in the foot so thoroughly that he hit the first hole a second time.)
Ron Paul (Stock – Sell all):
Paul isn’t a bad guy or a bad politican. He’s got a whole lot of good ideas. I like his policies on about 75% of the issues. Unfortunately, it’s the other 25% where he loses the mainstream conservatives who are needed to get nominated.
Rick Perry (Stock – Buy):
This was my first real experience with Perry. I was impressed with him in this brief hour and 45 minutes. He did in fact work his way into my list of legitimate options that I would consider giving my vote when New York’s primary comes around this winter. What I like about Perry is he’s got the ability to knock Romney off, because Romney is just not conservative enough. Judging by his debate performance, he’s a valid conservative. That said I haven’t had time to do my personal vetting process on him. On first sight, however, Perry is a valid option for me as a conservative.
I think he nailed it on Global Warming: Consensus isn’t science and the jury legitimately should be out.
Mitt Romney (Stock – Hold):
Romney is who he’s always been. He’s more conservative than Obama, more conservative than Jon Huntsman, but he’s a New England blue blood Republican. (Note: Not the same thing as a RINO.) He’s old guard, and he’s not a legitimate Tea Party option because he’s not conservative enough.
Rick Santorum (Stock – Sell all):
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Santorum has it right on a lot of policy issues, actually, more than Romney, obviously more than Huntsman, but not more than anyone else. He’s a Washington insider who will likely play the Washington insider game. That was the one thing I saw in the debate that made me concerned on Santorum; he said that he’d create policies that “could get passed in Washington.” I’ll be honest…I cringed at that statement. After the last debate, I had Santorum listed as a Vice Presidential option. Now, I’d have to drop him out of that category, because he’s an insider.
In conclusion, there are no conclusions yet. There are several good candidates, five really good conservatives (Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Perry, Paul), two of whom I see as top tier candidates (Bachmann and Perry) and two others who can be great VP options (Cain, Gingrich). Paul would be a good VP option, but I don’t think he’d accept the job, and I respect him for it. Ultimately there’s time to make decisions, and I may well change my mind. But for now, that’s the way I see it.
* Somewhere in Georgia, a high school friend of mine is taking exception to that remark. Put that in there just to give you grief, man.
**( Like I care…)
***Actually, I wouldn’t take this stock for free