In about 8 hours, the conservative world will grind to a halt...or at least slow down a little as conservatives across the country tune in to Fox to watch what they hope will be the coming together of the best candidates for the Republican nomination for the White House.
Of course, more than a few will likely tune in to see the train-wreck that this thing could easily become.
Let's take a quick look at the players...
Mitt Romney...establishment, seasoned campaigner, good looks aside he is the current front runner...add the photogenic good looks and he is way in front....it is a shame that his message is off target. It is a shame that he is so "establishment"...and it would be disastrous for him to win the nomination. I expect him to spend this debate dumping on Obama (which is, of course, much needed) but he will probably avoid any significant position statements, and will definitely avoid any execution questions. He will play the safe game....not tell anybody what he plans or how he plans to do it...and relying on his "trust me" smile to win votes. Boring!!
Michelle Bachman remains an interesting possibility, if only because it would be great to have a hot woman President. Her message so far seems to be on-target and has gathered the support of the tea party. The left is working hard to tar her with the Palin brush...and to some extent is succeeding. For Bachman to win, she needs to focus on her solutions. If I were advising her, I would be suggesting that she totally ignore the other candidates, not give any credence to comparisons or different ideas....and not be drawn into discussions of policy. Rather, she should strongly answer EVERY question by referring to her policies and plans to execute them. When asked about Obama, she should dismiss the question as being as irrelevant to our future as he is.
If nothing else, this approach could add some much needed interest to what could otherwise be a very boring debate.
Tim Pawlenty? Tim who? As an early favorite he has become nothing more than a suit with a soft voice. Lacking any personality that crosses the airwaves, he is beginning to sound like someone who may have some good ideas, but is too scared to come out and speak loudly and surely against his opponents. I don't see him going anywhere....but of course, maybe he will walk into the debate with a megaphone so he can be heard over all the clutter? On second thoughts, I like the visual...a good prop.
Rick Santorum. Apart from looking like a schoolboy in an adult world, Rick is struggling to find his voice. I suspect that he is still trying to understand what he wants to achieve, much less knowing HOW to achieve it. If I were advising Rick for tonight, I would suggest that he show his determination with a full fronted attack on Obama, and the RINO's in his party. He needs to make it clear that he is not just a younger and less experienced version of the other contenders. He needs to show he has fight in him that is beyond his boyish looks. I personally do not think he has a chance...but who knows?
Newt Gingrich. I like a lot of what Newt says...but I hate a lot of it too. For me, he is establishment without establishment power...the worst of both worlds. Apart from that, I have great trouble with a President called Newt...perhaps this comes from an Australian phrase..."pissed as a Newt" which means uncontrollably inebriated. Hmmm...not very fitting for the President of the United States. Of course, names carry no weight in this country of the free, right? So, he has as much of a chance as any other establishment type.
Herman Cain. An interesting guy who I think would make a great dinner party guest. But a President? I don't know. I suspect he has already caught the establishment disease through his work with the Fed...but at least he has some executive experience that could help in running the White House kitchen. That puts him way ahead of the community organizer. Can he lead the country as we need? I have my doubts, although when I first took a look at him, I found him appealing. I am not sure what he lost...he remains interesting but not enough to get my vote.
Ron Paul. As a conservative aligned to many libertarian principles I should be supportive of someone like Ron Paul. And I actually wish I could be. Unfortunately that is not the case. I support many of his positions, but I wish he didn't sound so crazy. There is something about the way he explains his positions that sounds almost like whining (which I abhor). He is a smart man, and knows what he believes, and believes what he knows....something lacking in most contenders. I believe a large part of his message is on track....unfortunately he cannot sell it and the part that is not on track is soooooo far off that it scares the voters. This man can't win...and would be better served seeking an advisory role in the background.
And then there is John Huntsman. The liberals so want this guy to be the Republican candidate that they orgasm just at the thought of it. Of all the candidates, this is the only one that is dumber than their man, and would lose an election to a box of rocks. That is why they say he is their biggest threat. This is the liberals trying to pick the Republican nominee they know they can beat. Enough said.
If I have left anyone out...I guess that tells you what impact they have on me.
For me, I do not see any candidates in this field that are the perfect choice. I see some ok choices, I see some potential for future elections, but there is nobody here that makes me stand up and cheer. The closest to that is Bachman...but I have reservations about her too.
So, when the world slows down and these contenders take their places, each trying to build some momentum in front of the straw poll on Saturday (that most people seem to think is the most important event in history)...we would be well served to remember that there are two 800lb gorilla's missing from this line-up. Palin and Perry have yet to committ, and if either decided to go fo it, it would shake up this group no end.
I suspect that Palin will not run...not because she would not win, but because she enjoys the role of king or queen maker. She knows how to attack the left, she knows that her supporters will support her choices. SHe can promote a candidate while becoming the foil that protects him or her. She could just be the perfect kingmaker, and I think she relishes that role.
Perry, on the other hand, will most likely throw his hat in the ring. If he does, he could easily become a front-runner almost overnight. He has already shown a proclivity for being outspoken, and is not afraid to let his beliefs be seen. He has the right message for the right time. His Marlboro Man looks and Texan background could create a bit of Bush inspired backlash, but he can handle that easily. The fact that he has not yet announced indicates to me that he is choosing a time for maximum benefit. He could certainly 9add interest to an otherwise largely boring group.
I really want to see some excitement tonight. I want to see someone, anyone, stand up and say...
It's time for lower spending.
It's time for lower debt!
It's time to start growing this economy.
It's time to face the truth and take the tough decisions.
It's time to have real leadership in the WH.
It's time to put away childish dreams and fantasies, and to work with the reality we have.
It's time for a change...not the hope and change we bought into 4 years ago, but the change we need to restore freedom and stop tyranny!
It's time for socialists, marxists, communists, leftists, statists and all the other "ists" to get their butts kicked and be sent packing to slime they arose from from.
It's time for conservatives to take the lead!"
I am hoping for too much here, I know. What I expect to see are nice words, refusal to speak clearly, and little of substance.
I hope I am surprised.