Two Casualties From Iowa

The Iowa Straw Poll, a non-binding popularity contest where the candidates literally buy their votes, claimed two victims this past weekend. Governor Tim Pawlenty has decided to suspend his campaign after finishing a distant third. And I have proven that my ability to predict Republican candidates is just slightly worse than my golf game.

My June 9th post predicted that Tim Pawlenty would be the Republican nominee. Several of my Repub friends had doubts, but they were hoping that I was correct. These guys weren’t part of some Pawlenty Fan Club. (Is there a Pawlenty Fan Club?) No, they were looking ahead to the general election and searching for a Republican ex-governor, not named Romney, that could win in November 2012.

Winning in November is not a universally shared goal. Each party has a core group that is more interested in being right than in winning elections. The Democrats had Senator John Glenn who many thought could win the 1984 presidential election, but had no chance in the primaries. This, of course, may be the only time Tim Pawlenty is mentioned in the same sentence as John Glenn.

So as Texas Governor Rick Perry enters the race and Pawlenty and I leave, I ask you to opine whether the Republicans will choose a candidate that appeals to just the base or if President Obama will face a challenger also capable of attracting the independent voters.

All Politics May Be Local, But This Post Doesn’t Mention Any Local Politicians.

You’re Welcome. The original goal of today’s post was to identify ALL of the Republicans contemplating a run for the White House, eliminate them one by one, and then predict next year’s nominee. I knew I was in trouble when I was up to five handwritten pages and I was finally rounding third and heading for home. Way too long and only marginally interesting.

So I will assume that you have something better to do and skip the jokes (candidates) and get to the punch line.

There are four serious candidates for the Republican nomination: Representative Michele Bachman, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Timothy J. Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney.

Democrats may be amused by a few of Michele Bachman’s gaffes and missteps, but it would be foolish to dismiss her. She is a three term Congresswoman from Minnesota and the head of the Tea Party Caucus. She is honest, sincere, and, most importantly, lives her beliefs. She would be a formidable Vice-Presidential candidate.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. has been a successful Governor of Utah and the U.S. Ambassador to China. He spent time in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary. He speaks Standard Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien. Mr. Huntsman has a strong history of fiscal conservatism while exhibiting flexibility on social issues. He supported same-sex civil unions while Utah’s Governor. This year’s race is an introduction. Watch for him in 2016.

The front runner, the guy to beat, is Mitt Romney. He has a real record of accomplishments. He has a track record. And that’s the rub. Mitt Romney is a high noon politician. Just as the sun passes overhead at high noon, Mitt has been way to the political left and has veered just as far to the political right. But for one glorious moment, he has passed directly over each of us.

And that is the problem. Republicans, or at the very least this year’s Republicans, stand for something. They are anti-tax, small government, socially (intrusively) Conservative and they aren’t prepared to compromise. Mitt Romney is the antithesis of that party. The Republicans will coalesce around the one GUY who can beat Romney – Timothy J. Pawlenty.

Tim Pawlenty is the former Governor of Minnesota. Yes, he is a social Conservative. Yes, he balanced his state’s budget without raising taxes. And yes, he even has the requisite union card-holding family members. All of that helps, but what will really matter next February in New Hampshire will be that he isn’t Mitt Romney and that he could win.

Prediction – Tim Pawlenty will be the Republican nominee.

No political discussion would be complete without mentioning Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY). My other blog, Health Insurance Issues With Dave has cited him and his outspoken positions numerous times. One of the posts was titled Anthony Weiner Hates Me. Another was The One Year Anniversary, and Anthony Weiner Still Hates Me. For all I know, he may still hate me, but I don’t hate him. I just feel sorry for his family.