Opinion: In GOP Field, Line Between Contenders and Pretenders is Now Clear

Thursday, October 06, 2011 - 09:33 AM

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) greets businessman Herman Cain, along with former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and former Massachusetts Gover (Getty)

"Tonight the light of love in your eyes, but will you still love me tomorrow?"

Primaries are exposing and embarrassing for the party involved. They inevitably lead to infighting, dirty revelations, and from the outside resemble a scrum in rugby. Who is winning is not clear until someone, finally, comes up with the ball.

Even then, the winner this week may not be the winner next week. It's all about timing.

Our Democratic friends are having some fun laughing at our battling field. While I don't blame them it's not too hard to point to the funniest primary of my lifetime - that would be Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama where Mrs. Clinton just wouldn't quit- to get them to quiet down.

Now that we're in October it seems like a good time to take stock of our current candidate situation.

Michelle Bachmann - She came on strong and held her own in the early debates. Ultimately though she was, unfairly to be sure, seen as a placeholder for Sarah Palin and her support drifted away. Could she come back? Unlikely but possible. She could have a strong showing in Iowa and hold on for awhile but she will probably not be the Republican candidate for president.

Ron Paul- let's be honest, I'm only mentioning him so I can get 1000 hits on this post and 10 comments telling me how he's the only true conservative in the race. I've googled Ron Paul and I don't think he's going to win this time. I've said it before, but I like that Ron Paul exists even if I think he's loony tunes on some issues. His purity is admirable if not realistic. Same goes for Gary Johnson. Love the principles, think a win is impossible.

Herman Cain - I don't pretend to not have a serious soft spot for Cain. I've written here before that I worked for Cain's 2004 U.S. Senate run in Georgia. His whole staff from that campaign will tell you we knew he was going places. He's said some things during this campaign with which I strongly disagree - not hiring Muslims is wrong, being gay is not a choice- but I still see him as someone who can be a strong leader, decisive, who says what needs to be said and does what needs to be done.

Having said that, I don't see a path to victory for Herman Cain. It's great to be polling well nationally, but the victories have to come at state levels and until he's polling in 1st place in any state (he isn't), he remains solidly in the 2nd tier.

Rick Santorum/Newt Gingrich/Jon Huntsman- Why are they still in this race? What do they add to the field? In what state are they hoping to be competitive? These three candidates need to exit the stage and fast. They are just sucking up valuable oxygen at this point.

Which brings me to the first tier, occupied by only two candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

Yes, Perry has had a terrible two weeks. A convoluted, ridiculous race distraction has mesmerized our sheep-like media who loves finding reasons to call Republicans racist while his lackluster debate performance has made many Republicans take a second look at Mitt Romney. Bad as Perry has had it, though, the news hit today that he raised 17 million dollars in 7 weeks.

That's serious money and more than that it's serious candidate money. Being NotRomney has its advantages. With Chris Christie formally out of the race, Perry can boom with conservatives looking for an alternative to Romney. Look for more posts and articles by well-known conservatives proclaiming their support for Perry.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has been playing the front-runner very well. He's the guy to beat and everyone knows it. He hasn't been making too many mistakes (other than piling on Perry for the non-scandal of his hunting lodge name) and generally coming off as the good-enough candidate for Republicans.

There are worse things for Republicans than ending up with a Mitt Romney candidacy but if I could try to nail a trifecta of predictions for It's a Free Country (my first two were: 1. Anthony Weiner was not hacked and posted that pic himself and 2. Chris Christie will not run), I will go out on a limb and predict Rick Perry will be the Republican candidate for president. Sure, Mitt Romney, or some other candidate, could win and I could be completely wrong but my blink says it's Perry and I've been right before. Stay tuned. 

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [27]

Karol from NYC

Ha, thanks Fred. I'm not sure yours counts toward my ten but it was pretty accurate. You forgot to call me a statist or a fascist for not supporting Paul but otherwise pretty good.

Oct. 11 2011 02:06 PM
Fred from Dallas, Texas

As a non-Ron Paul supporter, I still thought it my duty to aid in your obtaining ten emails supporting him... So,,, beginning the cut-and-paste now:

"Why can't Ron Paul Win?"
"Who are you to say Dr. Paul isn't what America needs?"
"Don't you realize that Ron Paul is our last hope?"
"Anyone who disagrees with Da-Ron is hopelessly lost in ignorance."
"If George Foreman can name all his kids 'George', then we must name our kids 'Ron'..."
"When Ron Paul speaks, all the world listens to his grand, booming intellect amidst the chaos of his non-peers..."

Whewww,, is that enough? Hope so..

Oct. 11 2011 12:06 PM
Karol from NYC

Is it also statist for me to believe that Bachmann or Huntsman can't win?

Only 2 comments to go toward my 10 Paul comments goal!

Oct. 10 2011 09:25 PM
Jose Mora from New Jersey

How about offering some evidence that Ron Paul can't win instead of lazily repeating the tired statist line that ha can't?

And just which of his positions are loony? Getting out of endless wars? Letting us keep our hard-earned money instead of handing it over to an elitist genius?

I am a Republican, and voting for Paul. Better get used to it. Oh, and, unlike other candidates' fair-weather supporters, my vote is not transferrable. It you want another four of Obama, just nominate anyone other than Ron Paul and that is what you will have.

2012: Paul or nothing

Oct. 09 2011 07:16 AM
Karol from NYC

Whatpolls, Cain was ahead only in one poll in SC (the PPP poll). I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm just saying it hasn't happened yet.

ProfJohn, you write "Zogby: Cain leads Romney by 20 points among likely GOP primary voters. Oops." Oops indeed. That's a national poll but we don't have national elections. We have state by state elections.

Oct. 08 2011 11:16 AM

So far everything coming out of DC and the media has been wrong, I think its safe to assume, they are wrong still. I will be voting for Ron Paul. I dont see the down side.

Oct. 08 2011 12:17 AM

Zogby: Cain leads Romney by 20 points among likely GOP primary voters.


Oct. 07 2011 04:56 PM
JTurner from Maryland Via Illinois

By 2013 we will sorely need a President with experience of effective governance! We need someone who has worked well with a legislature. We will sorely need someone with experience in tailoring bureaucracies to effectively serve our electorate ... Someone with intimate knowledge of the bureaucracies most in need of early interventions. We need someone who will take all actions available to them and work with our congress to rip out the Affordable Care Act and come up with effective answers going forward.

We need to have a leader who will further: sound money; a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable; a tax structure that’s fair, and as low as you can get it, and still deliver the services that the people require. A person who would further a limited government ... would be a huge step in the right direction.

We need a leader who will expeditiously secure our borders and who is opposed to amnesty.

We need a leader who is realistic when it comes to effectively dealing with the opposition. Going along to get along or failing to have a FULL appreciation of the issues at hand before arriving at conclusions/solutions is no longer affordable.

We need a leader who will honor our long held friendships with our allies and recognize our Nation's need for a strong defense.

To me, following an extended review of his record and positions, there is a candidate who best fills these orders ...that is the Governor.

Oct. 07 2011 03:04 PM
sheryl from california

No Republican in their right mind is going to vote for Rick Perry.

Obama knows he can't run against GWB but he knows he needs to run against GWB.

Electing Perry is giving Obama not only what he wants but what he needs.

Perry isn't a national leader. He's style of politics is best in Texas where he is mostly a figurehead and where can revel in crony capitalism, duck media interviews & debates and just talk Texan to get elected.

Oct. 07 2011 01:51 PM
What Polls?

Ummm....Cain is in first place in SEVERAL state polls, including SOUTH CAROLINA.

Oct. 07 2011 11:28 AM
11bravo from Chicago, IL

Romney's support has never come out of the 20%'s because no one really wants him to win. If he gets it YES I will go out and vote for him.
Perry seems to be a dumb Bush-no kidding! He better pick up his speech cadence because we ain't all from Texas so the country hick slow drawl just does'nt seem as cute to us-or folksie. He has a lot of ground to make up.
Cain is my man; he could have left the gay thing alone, that is his biggest mistake so far. Cain is the "anti"; so he is very appealing in that...I think he would do what is best for the country and not what the established GOP guys say is right. That is why the GOP establishment wants anyone but Cain or Bachman-they won't play ball.
Newt is the only other in the field I give a chance to on a wildcard pick.

Oct. 07 2011 10:40 AM
kicking_cans from Rochester

Ron Paul is unelectable because he tells the whole truth. He doesn't shade his words.
Good point, he's moving the country closer to his direction.
Bad point, it's human nature to shoot the messenger.

Whole shoot the messenger concept is WHY we need a long and noisy primary. The republican nominee will hold viewpoints shared by many of the other candidates, because there's so many other candidates.

Oct. 07 2011 10:27 AM
Mike McElravy from Warren PA

Ron Paul has been right about a few things. And horribly wrong on some others. That's about it. A vote for Paul is a vote for Obama

Oct. 07 2011 10:04 AM
SpatialOrientation from Miami

Gary Johnson is offering common sense solutions and policy prescriptions for the issues of our day. The establishment press treats him like some fringe guy with "crazy" ideas like balancing the budget and subjecting public policy to cost benefit analyses. Check out more coverage of the Johnson campaign at

Oct. 07 2011 09:07 AM
Karol from NYC

I agree that the media is unfair to Paul, I think Jon Stewart nailed it with his critique of them, but it I do think that Paul is pretty unelectable. Hell, people keep telling me that Perry is unelectable because he told the truth about Social Security--that we can't sustain such a flawed system--and I feel like Paul is ready to take down many other government-run programs and agencies. I like it in theory, as I wrote, but it doesn't win elections. It just doesn't. Report came out yesterday that 40% of American households receive some type of government support. None of these people are voting for Paul to end that.

Your comment does not count toward my Paul 10. :-)

Oct. 07 2011 08:43 AM
M. Nolan from Wichita, KS

As a conservative registered Republican, and a US Army vet, I am sick to death of hearing that Paul is unelectable. I'm a 5 year Paul supporter, who over those 5 years has made about 100 comments on the internet, and sent about a dozen emails to the MSM ~ I'm sick of the anti-Paul BS, and I'm pretty humorless about it, especially when it's from chickenhawks who did everything they could to avoid military service (not attributing this to you, just sayin ;) )

Paul may be a long shot, but he is not unelectable, a "pretender," or the vast majority of what the MSM feeds as fact. Paul is a contender this cycle by every metric that has mattered in every election prior to this one. If you are commenting on where the candidates stand this cycle, I just want you to be fair to my guy. FAIR ~ you don't have to root for him, just leave the pot shots to MSNBC.

Oct. 07 2011 12:17 AM
Karol from NYC

I am 5 comments short on my 10 comments about Ron Paul goal.

C'mon M.Nolan, the Paul stuff was obviously a joke. I have many times over my life supported candidates who had no chance (I'm a Republican in NYC, it comes with the territory) and I was able to laugh about it. You should do same.

Oct. 06 2011 10:43 PM
Karol from NYC

Hey, hey, hey Jim, Herman Cain has only run one race before, US Senate Republican primary in GA in 2004, beat one sitting Congressman and almost forced the other into a run-off. He's 0-1, just saying.

Oct. 06 2011 10:37 PM
Jim from CT

Everybody has their issues...
Perry - Another big spending, right wing governor of Texas, prodded into the race by Bush. The deja vu guy will be a hard sell if he ever gets to the general election.
Romney - Unprincipled flip-flopper in magic underwear who believes in talking salamanders. Unfair? Sure, but that won't stop a press corps determined to protect Obama at any cost.
Cain - 0 for 2 in political campaigns, a bankster and from the Fed to boot. Is America really clamoring for a Federal Reserve banker, given the situation?
Gingrich/Santorum - Are they kidding, selling books or auditioning for a show on Fox?
Huntsman - has the Chinese speaking vote locked up. Also wears magic underwear and believes Jesus hung out with Native Americans. See Romney.
Gary Johnson - No money, no profile, no organization. Met him, nice guy, but he ain't going to the White House this time.
Hmm... who else have you got?

Oct. 06 2011 08:37 PM
Louis Nardozi from Pensacola

He's been right all this time, while we elected the taller guy or the guy with better hair or the guy who is better at saying nothing. Nothing can bring back the millions of dead our policies have condemned, but we DO have a shot at redemption. Just stop. Stop with the status quo, put aside your fear of not being in the 'in' crowd and vote for Ron Paul. You can always say you voted for someone else. But, if the lives of those people mean anything to you, do what you can to help. Donate. Volunteer. Blog. Tell your friends. I tell mine I'm voting for an $8000 tax break (what I might pay in income tax).

Oct. 06 2011 07:47 PM
john smith

You're opinion follows the lines of conventional wisdom. However, these aren't normal times. People are really desperate for some drastic change, and it is clear that the way things are going, neither Perry nor Romney are much more than a change of face. Perry, bring back flashbacks in the pool of general election voters of Bush 43, who from many gets as much blame for the way things are as Obama. Something has to give. Either with a surprise victory for someone like Paul/ Cain, or something like taking off as a force in the general. Something has to give...

Oct. 06 2011 07:10 PM
M. Nolan from Wichita, KS

Listen to yourself.

You mention that you only post about Paul, so that you can get some hits ~ and then have a few posters comment.

Gee, I wonder why there aren't any other candidates out there who can command such respect from folks, that they would be interested to hear what folks are saying about him, and some who are interested enough to swoop in and correct the record when a lazy writer makes insane comments.

You show that you have absolutely zero respect for those who come here and read what you have to say. If you think that Paul has zero chance, and isn't even worth the mention, at least make your case once on record, and then you can just point we moron readers to your FAQ.

Why the Hell are you even writing, if by your own admission you can't get folks here on its merits. Sniping and soundbites are for TV, Radio, and the papers. You have all the space in the world to make your arguments plain here in the tubes. You might as well be watching TV as writing this tripe.

Oct. 06 2011 04:30 PM
Wake Up from MI

I hope everyone realizes 1. That Ron Paul has the best chance to beat Obama and 2. If Ron Paul doesnt get the GOP nomination, his enormus and dedicated following is going to write him in, in which case the republican nominee will LOSE. If you really want to see Obama gone, I would suggest taking a closer look at the real conservative that has never flip flopped, didnt work for the federal reserve, and dosnt get a spray on tan for the debates.

Oct. 06 2011 03:07 PM
Karol from NYC

I should add one point: when I wrote this there wsn't the unknown variable of moving the Nevada primary but I'm not sure it will matter.

Justin, I don't know what will happen Perry v. Obama (or if I'm wrong about Perry then Romney v. Obama). I would never bet against an incumbent. My 20-something SIL asked me yesterday if a president ever doesn't get a second term. It only happened once in her lifetime and she was like 4. So, I don't know. I'll make a prediction next summer for that. ;-)

Oct. 06 2011 12:05 PM
Michael Ivy

Opinions, everybody has them, including those that are uninformed. And this statement sums it all up "Ron Paul- let's be honest, I'm only mentioning him so I can get 1000 hits on this post and 10 comments telling me how he's the only true conservative in the race. I've googled Ron Paul and I don't think he's going to win this time. I've said it before, but I like that Ron Paul exists even if I think he's loony tunes on some issues. His purity is admirable if not realistic. Same goes for Gary Johnson. Love the principles, think a win is impossible." Hard to imagine how this comment actually earns space in a column, or, that the writer still has a job.

Oct. 06 2011 11:36 AM
Justin Krebs from NYC

I trust your call on this one. My gut had said Romney for a long time -- but I'm hedging my bets now and trust you on this more than myself.

Any prediction on Obama vs Perry? Or does it all come down to unemployment numbers?

Oct. 06 2011 11:12 AM
Steve Teters from Portland, OR

For the record, I am a Republican, have been for years. That being said, if Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee, I will not be voting Republican this cycle. I will write in Ron Paul because I refuse to vote for any "lesser evil" instead of Obama. "No one but Paul" is a feeling that is growing exponentially and Republicans better think about just how much "Anyone but Obama" means to them, because the idea of offering up another big government candidate is not acceptable. Our government is broken and putting another corporate hack in office won't fix it. Look at where the money comes from in the other candidates coffers, big donations from big business, military industrial complex, big Pharma companies, big bankers, gee, just like Obama, and they expect a "return on investment" that is not in my best interest. Dr Paul is the ONLY candidate that is interested in our personal liberty, that our rights are more important than the big business interests that make massive contributions, that the Constitution is more than a pretty piece of paper, and that your vote really does give you power. That belief in Dr Paul is so strong that I am unable to compromise and vote for the "lesser evil". If that is characterized as childish, and "taking my ball and going home," so be it, but my belief in the greatness this country could be borders on a childlike awe that has been missing for far too long, and that is to our detriment. Dr Paul believes in YOU, all the rest believe in the checkbook held by big business. I, for one, will not compromise my principles and vote for “anyone but Obama”. If Dr Paul is not the nominee, then he will still get my vote, and if that means that Obama wins because of lack of Republican votes, oh well, because there is no difference between Obama and the other candidates. Dr Paul is not a spoiler, he is the only choice.

Oct. 06 2011 10:46 AM

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