Open thread: the Republican nomination process

In the epic media event that is an American presidential election, the ongoing segment is the selection of a candidate by the opposition party.

What do readers think of the current crop? How are their policies? What are their chances against Barack Obama in 2012?

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

12 thoughts on “Open thread: the Republican nomination process”

  1. Herman Cain, Outlier

    Herman Cain, the Georgia businessman who has never held elected office, is tied for the lead in national polls of Republican voters — or perhaps even slightly ahead of Mitt Romney, as he was in Tuesday night’s New York Times/CBS News poll. Mr. Cain has also led in most recent polls of the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary, has taken the lead in Ohio, and is close to Mr. Romney in Florida. If all you had to go on was the polls, you might think that Mr. Cain was the favorite to win the Republican nomination.

    But then there are the nonpolling factors, some of which can be objectively measured and some of which cannot, but which would generally point toward Mr. Cain as being a second- or third-tier candidate. Mr. Cain has no endorsements from Republican members of Congress or Republican governors, and very few from officials in key early voting states. He has raised very little money. He has not hired well-known names for his campaign staff. He does not have traditional credentials. He has run for elected office just once before. He has begun to get a fair amount of media coverage, but the tenor of it has been fairly skeptical. His campaign commercials have been … interesting.

  2. I have nothing new to say about Herman Cain’s patent inadequacy to serve as president of the United States that hasn’t been said before. Mr Brennan strikes the right tone of reserved contempt. Anyone who requires “cramming” and “crash courses” on the basic shape of the world outside the United States’ borders should not have the gall to run for president in the first place. But it’s fairly obvious that Mr Cain will not be the Republican nominee; the scorn being heaped on him from all quarters will ultimately prevent him from winning the nomination.

    Herman Cain is a clown. His candidacy is turning the American presidential campaign into a circus. The people responsible for this situation are the people who say they want to vote for him.

    I find, in other words, that this whole issue keeps directing my attention back towards a fundamental problem: I have to share my polity with large numbers of silly people who are not equipped to make reasonable decisions about political issues. Even after Mr Cain loses the nomination, I must live with the awareness that the people who voted for him are out there, waiting to vote for some even more ridiculous clown down the line. I am aware that they feel the same way about me. However, they are wrong, and I am right. As evidence, I present the fact that they say they support Herman Cain for president.

  3. NOT all that long ago—three years, to be exact—the Republican Party was rooting for John McCain to be president of the United States. The senator from Arizona, you may remember, had in his time worried about climate change, shown an open mind towards “cap-and-trade” to reduce carbon emissions, and worked closely with Democrats like the late Ted Kennedy to reform immigration law to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Bit by bit, he had to retreat from these positions to win his party’s nomination.

    Today the Grand Old Party has moved even farther to the right. Herman Cain, the former pizza mogul from Georgia now leading some polls in the race for the nomination, had to clarify that he was joking when he said he wanted to build a lethal electrified fence along the entire border with Mexico. As for global warming, most Republicans say that there is no such thing, or that if the Earth really is warming it has nothing to do with human activity. Another candidate, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, has called global warming a “contrived phoney mess that is falling apart under its own weight”.

  4. Op-Ed Columnist
    How Romney Could Win

    Published: November 13, 2011

    Election Day is nearly a year off and the first primaries aren’t until January, but I’m ready to skip ahead to the main event. The last serious hope of the Tea Partiers, Rick Perry, and their last not-so-serious hope, Herman Cain, are in campaign death spirals. Unless God has a cruel sense of humor, Newt Gingrich will pass like a tantrum. That leaves us with a general election between two serious and certifiably sane candidates. Phew!!

    If you want to go into hibernation now and re-emerge in August for the campaign home stretch, I understand. But just to put the season of vaudeville firmly behind us, let’s contemplate the choice that awaits: two confident, intelligible, no-drama, rather distant men, each of whom seems to have overcompensated for bigot-arousing origins (Obama’s race, Romney’s religion) by being rational to a fault.

    Despite efforts to polarize our politics into ideological base camps, in presidential elections the deciding vote still belongs to the middle. These voters have been drowned out lately by the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, but they are the main prize in 2012. Bruce Gyory, who is a consultant and teaches voting trends at the State University of New York at Albany, calls them the “40 within 40” — 40 percent of the electorate self-identify as independent, and 40 percent of those independents describe themselves as moderate. That means about one in six voters are up for grabs. Obama won them in 2008. The Democrats lost them badly in 2010.

  5. Gingrich Defends Shifting Statements on Climate Change

    In the more than 30 years since Gingrich was first elected to the House, he has said there is both sufficient evidence to prove the climate is changing and also that there is no conclusive proof. He supported a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions and then later testified against it before a Congressional committee.

    And while in the House he co-sponsored a bill that said climate change was “resulting from human activities,” but he later said he did not know if humans were to blame.

    “There is no compelling evidence on either side to either rule it out or rule in it,” Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond said of the candidate’s position on global warming and the impact of man-made pollution. “But at the end of the day he’s somebody who does care about the environment.”

    DiPeso said the Republican “orthodox” position on climate change is that “you can’t deal with this issue because it will kill the economy.”

    “It’s politically dangerous for prominent Republicans to acknowledge climate change is real and that human activity plays a prominent role,” he said. ”It could be that Gingrich is just trying to play a political game and stick with the political orthodoxy to keep himself from being vulnerable to attacks.”

  6. SIR – I agree with your characterisation of some of the Republican candidates for president as the “new Jacobins” (“A dangerous game”, November 5th). I would go further and suggest that the current Republican contest is more like a Robespierre sound-a-like competition than a process to determine who is electable. As an independent who leans Democratic on social issues and has mixed ideas economically I would like to see Barack Obama replaced in the White House, but not by any of the current Republican crop.

    The tea party has destroyed the credibility of the Republicans with its radicalism.

    Zachary Blake
    Bristol, Virginia  

  7. People like Herman Cain may inadvertently feed a dangerous tendency on
    the left to assume all right-wingers are morons.

    Left-wingers may disagree with people like Huntsman and Romney, but they aren’t stupid.

  8. Mr. Paul’s Discredited Campaign
    Published: December 27, 2011

    Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Now, making things worse, he has failed to convincingly repudiate racist remarks that were published under his name for years — or the enthusiastic support he is getting from racist groups.

    Mr. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who is doing particularly well in Iowa’s precaucus polls, published several newsletters in the ’80s and ’90s with names like the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Political Report. The newsletters interspersed libertarian political and investment commentary with racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and far-right paranoia.

    Among other offensive statements, the newsletters said that 95 percent of Washington’s black males were criminals, and they described the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as “Hate Whitey Day.” One 1993 article appeared under a headline lamenting the country’s “disappearing white majority.” Other articles suggested that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, praised the Louisiana racist David Duke and accused some gay men with AIDS of deliberately spreading the disease, “perhaps out of a pathological hatred.”

  9. The right Republican you wish for is already running. He has a Lincolnian commitment to constructive nation-building, a Rooseveltian permanent pursuit of the healthiest balance between a free-market economy and regulatory norms that can help the private sector best serve society as a whole, a Reaganian charm and good humour, a Eisenhowerian inspired record of the best use of military power, a Thatcherian iron grip, and the cojones to pursue challenging causes such as health-care reform and full disclosure of all contributions to political campaigns, as well as an unquestionably powerful brain.

    The right Republican you seek is clearly Barack Obama.

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