Goodbye Super Tuesday: Who should stay in and who should drop out?

Now that Super Tuesday has been declared as a bust because Romney could not deliver the knockout punch, it’s a good time to assess the candidates and where they stand, specifically, should they stay in or get out. Note that because of proportional distribution of delegates this time around, and with the new SuperPAC ruling, this race could go on for a while. Below is the list in order of preference of who should drop out.  We’re left with a Mitt, a Rick, a Newt, and a Paul.

Ron Paul

Reasons to Stay In: The Gospel of Paul is continuing to play well to the loyal minions of this movement.  His supporters don’t want him to drop out. He wasn’t trying to win the election, but rather win the hearts and minds of the American public.  He has done that, at least for his ardent supporters. If he stays in, he gets to see the entire country for free while using money from his followers to preach his message of a sound monetary policy.

Reasons to Drop Out: Haven’t we heard enough of the same record? We get it. Over 20 debates, dozens of interviews and countless speeches, he has drilled home the same message. There’s no need to repeat it any further and continue to spend other people’s money to do it. Proof: no state wins to boast about. And the race is about delegates and he doesn’t have enough. There is no path to the nomination, and no way to affect the outcome. It’s time for him to go. But he’s going nowhere fast.

Newt Gringrich

Reasons to Stay In: Just like in Hollywood Squares, Sheldon Adelson (Newt’s Sugar Daddy) is using Newt to block Rick. Good plan. Mitt would be in a whole heap of trouble if votes for Rick weren’t being siphoned off by Newt, or split between Mitt and Rick. Collecting delegates can throw a monkey wrench into Mitt’s plans and possibly lead to a brokered (i.e., broken) convention, which will cause chaos for Mitt and the republican establishment, as Newt would prefer. He doesn’t much like Mitt so any stick in the spokes of Mitt’s attempt to win the grueling Tour de America would be sufficient payback for the carpet bombing he endured during the negative ad campaigns against him in several states.

Reasons to Drop Out:  No chance of being the nominee mathematically, and he may run out of money. His big ideas are a whole lot of hot air from a big mouth. There is no substance behind these “ideas”, and the term is being used loosely! He is a schoolyard bully who is turning off the electorate everywhere except the deep south where bullying is tolerated. Being a bully doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to be President, and claiming that you’re the only one who can debate Obama and win is one of the weakest arguments in the history of Presidential politics. Speaking of history, he needs to take a course on world history one of these days rather than spouting off a lot of fictional stories while claiming to be a historian.

Rick Santorum

Reasons to Stay In:  Just in case Newt drops out, he can beat Mitt in a variety of different states and perhaps force a contested convention. He’s the last best Hope for America as a non-Romney candidate, although these days he seems to be running for Pope of America.

Reasons to Drop Out: No chance to catch Romney unless Newt drops out and that won’t happen unless Newt loses in Mississippi and Alabama.   His quesitonable off-message remarks on social topics have put off segments of the voters such as women and Catholics, along with moderates.  Fiscal conservatives don’t see him as a fiscal conservative. He better continue to raise money or he’ll have to drop out. Does not seem likely that he will drop out.

Mitt Romney

Reasons to Stay In: The inevitable winner one way or the other, but needs everyone else to stay in and split the vote. He may need to write a check to Newt’s campaign or SuperPAC just to make sure he stays in the race. The establishment wants Mitt at all costs.  Target end of June to wrap up the 1144 delegates, so get ready to spend lots of money that could have been used in the General Election. The superdelegates will back Mitt if he can’t reach 1144 delegates. Otherwise, get ready for a fight at the convention!

Reasons to Drop Out: There is no reason to drop out until Nov. 6. At that point, the voters will give him a reason to drop out.

Why is the Republican field so weak this time around?

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What has happened to the Republican party this election cycle? Why do we have to deal with these second-tier candidates who crawled out of the woodwork to form circular firing squads and have attacked each other on sacred cows like free-market capitalism! It’s just serves as more fodder for the late-night comedy shows. And the GoP base is having a lot of trouble rallying around one viable candidate who stands for their values. Instead, voters are forced to endorse either the cardboard-like persona of Mitt Romney (direct from central casting) because he looks like a President and apparently no one else has any hope of beating Obama in the General Election; or Newt Gringrich who has more baggage than an airline cargo hold and is arrogant at best and erratic at worst. Why did more promising candidates opt out of 2012?

The simple truth is that the heavyweights (such as Chris Christie – pun intended) have done their political calculations and 2016 provides a greater opportunity for a direct path to the White House than 2012. Here’s the deal: Obama is starting to get some positive traction in the economy with the job numbers, is ending two unpopular wars, and is acting more like a leader with a backbone than a compromiser in recent days. Obama keeps putting the Republicans in  no-win situations such as the payroll tax debacle and the appointments during pro-forma Senate meetings, all of which are strategically focused on issues important to the middle class. If they say “no”, they’re voting against the middle class and voting to increase taxes. If they vote “yes”, Obama looks like he is fighting for the middle class. Sneaky, but effective politics! If Europe doesn’t implode during the election cycle, and the Supreme Court does not overturn the federal mandate in the health care bill, it is an Obama victory this fall.

In 2016, the field is wide open on both sides – assuming that Obama gets the second term – so we will see a first-tier offering from both parties. Most of the smart Republicans have already figured this out. Of course, Romney had to run because he auditioned for the part last time and it’s his turn for a kick at the can. But we should expect to see a much better crop in 2016. No more characters out of the clown car such as Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann,  Rick Perry, Ron Paul, etc. They will be replaced by the likes of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Tim Pawlenty, and perhaps some up and coming stars of the Republican Party such as Rand Paul, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, and so on. The circus atmosphere of this year’s primary (as entertaining as it has been) will give way to a serious discourse of the issues facing America and candidates with a realistic shot at the Presidency. History tells us that it will be the Republican turn at bat in 2016 so why waste time in 2012, unless it serves as a dry run for 2016. (Sorry Jon Huntsman, you need to run as a Democrat to get any votes, so this will probably be his swan song as far as Presidential aspirations are concerned – BTW, the Hunstman girls have a bright future ahead as long as it’s not in politics). Continue reading