Since I’m in California, which has always been a late primary state, and since California is now switching to open primaries anyway, it’s always hard for me to get very excited about primaries. The fact is that I never feel I really have any say in them, since the front runners are already decided by the time the primaries get here. I may like or dislike potential candidates, but I observe them rather passively, at least until the race’s outlines start to tighten up.
The current crop of candidates hasn’t given me much of a buzz. I’ve always liked Romney’s intelligence and competence, but RomneyCare means I wouldn’t bet on him to win. His robotic talking style doesn’t help either. Ron Paul’s domestic libertarianism is becoming more attractive to many, but his foreign policy stands are not going to be hawkish enough for a people feeling besieged. Mitch Daniels is playing Hamlet (an arrogant Hamlet, but Hamlet nevertheless), which is not endearing. I haven’t been following him closely enough to know whether I like his policies or not. Tim Pawlenty — well, I don’t know. He’s awfully likeable, and pretty solidly conservative, but I don’t know if he has what it takes in a telegenic age. But again, I’m being very vague right now, because I’m still not paying that much attention. Newt? No. I can’t put my finger on it but, even aside from all the baggage, he simply doesn’t work for me. Chris Christie? I like him. I like him a lot. I think he’s an extraordinary speaker, and he’s shown that he’s a Happy Warrior with great political courage. I’m worried, though, about the stories indicating ties to Islamists. I’d like to see that develop before I embrace him as a candidate. Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio? Love ‘em, but I truly don’t see them running.
And then there’s Herman Cain. Up until about half an hour ago, I didn’t know too much about him, other than that he’s got a business background, solid conservative chops and a witty speaking style. A half hour ago, though, I read Robert Costa’s Introducing Herman Cain, over at National Review. An article like that makes you sit up and go “Wow!” The man’s values and life history — his drive, his solid (as opposed to Marxist) education, his political consistency, etc. — are all very appealing.
I know that people are going to point to his outsider status — no political office, ever — as a problem, but his executive experience strikes me as equally valuable to what Obama brought to the White House. As you may recall, Obama brought a failed social activist history (the dismal Annenberg Challenge), a part-time teaching job, and some senatorial experience that saw him voting present a whole lot of the time. If Cain has the wisdom to surround himself with experienced political operatives, I’m sure he can do every bit as well compared to Obama as an executive, and probably much better.
I’m not jumping on the Cain bandwagon. I’m just looking at the Cain bandwagon.
Since many of you have already started studying the potential GOP candidates much more closely than I have. I’d really like your opinions about all of the potential conservative candidate (whether they’re touted as GOP candidates or Third Party candidates). In fact, if your opinion has a lot of substantive information, both facts and your own opinions, I’ll probably elevate it to a post at Bookworm Room. I may be passive out here in California, but I know a lot of you are in states where it matters.
UPDATE: Can you believe that I forgot Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann? The fact is that, while I admire both, even in a new media age I don’t see either surviving the unleashed savagery of the old media. Independent voters will be so swamped with vicious lies that it will leave them with biases at a subliminal level. I just don’t see either a Palin or a Bachmann candidacy working.
Also, I forgot to ask for you opinion about running mates. For example, I see Cain as a strong domestic leader, but not a strong foreign policy guy. Would it work to pair him with John Bolton or Gen’l Petraeus?
Cross-posted at Right Wing News