Whoops. It has been a very tough week for the GOP, desperately seeking consensus on issues of ideology and electability while rounding the first turn in their contest to select a presidential nominee. And then it got stunningly worse after the collapse of their most recent favourite, Rick Perry, in the recent Orlando debate. The conservative establishment quickly turned on him with the bitterness of a disappointed lover. Perry’s back in the pack if not out altogether.
The Florida GOP straw poll results are in and it is pretty hard to fathom:
Herman Cain: 37.11%
Rick Perry: 15.43%
Mitt Romney: 14%
Rick Santorum: 10.88%
Ron Paul: 10.39%
Newt Gingrich: 8.43%
Jon Huntsman: 2.26%
Michele Bachmann: 1.51%
That’s a nasty spanking for Perry, who invested heavily in this poll, in a must-win state for him. And while Romney has retained fund-raising momentum and blunted Perry’s brief rise in the give-and-take of recent weeks it is also clear that his “front-runner” status is limited by a fairly low ceiling of support among evangelicals and Tea Partiers. Michele Bachmann’s star has fallen to new lows since her “fifteen-minutes” following her Ames straw poll win.
So, Bachmann clobbers Pawlenty, Perry clobbers Bachmann, Romney smothers Perry and the remaining cast of characters just can’t break through. This recent upset by Cain seems more of a vote of no confidence in Perry than a sign of real resurgence for the pizza mogul, whose lack of foreign policy nous and odd tax reform proposals tend to disqualify him as a serious national candidate.
Labor Day well gone and the GOP is still looking for an electoral saviour? It’s getting late folks. Republicans are in serious trouble and they know it. Pass the popcorn.
By this time in 2007 Hillary and Obama were debating nuanced details of health care reform and national security. Thanks to the toxic atmosphere of the political dialogue they created after Obama’s inauguration the policy proposals articulated by Republican candidates are radical, vague and unrealistic. While the American electorate remains unengaged for now a brief glance at the current state of the Republican nomination process should raise doubts in the minds of any reasonable citizen; it certainly has among the Republican establishment themselves.
As for Sarah Palin, watching the reaction to Perry’s humiliation at the recent debate should give her a pretty good indication of what would be in store for her if she took the plunge. Chris Christie, the latest, and probably last, saviour-in-waiting, would have equally difficult hurdles translating East Coast attitudes into a winning platform for an increasingly insular, angry, frustrated and misanthropic party constituency.
The Republican nomination for the presidency has expended considerable resources and energy to arrive at a point where little, it seems, can be salvaged.