Summing up the GOP race to this point

As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.

Michele Bachmann

Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.

Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.

Gary Johnson

Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.

Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.

Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.

Jon Huntsman

Quick Take: Ni Hao. Still baffled he didn’t finish higher (not a Johnson joke)

Post-Mortem: I am astounded that Ambassador Huntsman didn’t fare better than he did. If I had to try to nail down the reason for this, I would say that Huntsman’s ideas seemed to always overlap with someone else’s. His foreign policy seemed like a more reasonable version of Ron Paul’s. His tax plan was very much an idea of Paul Ryan. His delivery was polished although somewhat awkward. His state rights views seemed to favor Rick Perry’s. He seemed to favor a reduction in government, again Paul. It’s possible that the only thing he did wrong was enter late. He was never able to pull from the other candidates to gain any traction. Voters seemed to stick with the original candidate whose ideas Huntsman adopted.

Herman Cain

Quick Take: 999, ladies, all mysteriously linked with Gloria Allred. But it was fun.

Post-Mortem: A catch phrase does not a candidate make. Cain brought 9-9-9 all the way to the front. I think it was more than that. It was a bold, out of the box idea. It represented something other than the status quo. Cain ultimately was taken down by a virtual parade of accusers. Oddly enough, I have yet to see anything from these accusers that really seemed credible, other than the fact that I literally lost count of them. His real issue was foreign policy. I think there were more than a few that noticed his glaring weakness in this area. And as 9-9-9 faced more and more scrutiny, it was shown to have massive flaws.

Rick Santorum

Quick Take: I haven’t slept that well in ages.

What Went Wrong: I think Santorum’s campaign slogan should have been, “Hey, what about this guy?” Santorum’s rise seemingly just before the voting began was due to one thing, attrition. Unfortunately for him, there was just enough time left to figure out he is a big government social conservative who is hell bent on bombing anything that moves and doesn’t speak English.

Newt Gingrich

Quick Take: He sounded so good right up until we started remembering all the things he’s done.

What Went Wrong: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich almost pulled it off. With everything inside his campaign in ruins, Speaker Gingrich was able to single handedly propel himself to the top through debate performances. There is no doubt, the man knows Washington, D.C. His downfall? The American public being reminded that he is a big government statist.

Rick Perry

Quick Take: me not and for before when against then now he’s, ah, the hell with it.

What Went Wrong: I believe Rick Perry’s fall from first place shortly after entering the race for the GOP nomination is the type of thing that will be studied by strategists for years to come. I would urge his writing/blogging supporters to start dissecting that whole thing now, because it honestly might be history. Perry came in as the heir apparent, the not Romney, the guy who was going to save this thing. The problem might have been that he was actually over confident. The entire field was prepared to take him down, and it appeared to me that Perry thought his only challenge was nonchalantly brushing off what was “left” of Romney. Perry was put on his heels early with failed attacks on Romney and poor defenses to attacks on him. He never really recovered. He seemed over coached, that his ideas were something written on paper and handed to him as opposed to an internal belief. And finally, he called people heartless for not wanting to subsidize the education of illegal aliens. Perry’s core supporters still back him passionately – a testament to them. Had Rick Perry come out passionately backing his true views and for the most part ignoring other candidates like he has in recent debates, we might actually have something to talk about in this GOP race. Other than what will Mitt do in the general that is.

Ron Paul

Quick Take: That old man can sure bring the crazy.

What Went Wrong: Realistically, Ron Paul winning the GOP nomination was always a long shot. The weird part about that is especially this election, I think the same thing that keeps him from winning the GOP nod might have actually helped him win the general election. Ron Paul is a legend. He has changed the way Americans think. For that he will be remembered. The ultimate takedown was the newsletters of course. Proving that the strategy of “if you can’t beat ‘em, call ‘em a racist and see how they defend it” still works. There was a lot of positive momentum happening with regard to Ron Paul’s fiscal plan and the GOP.

Mitt Romney

Quick Take: The most important issue facing the GOP was repealing Obamacare. So they went straight to the source. I wonder if during the general election debates, Romney will lead with “On page 2,138 of Obamacare, my staff told you to put this, but you put that…. “

What Went Right: Mitt Romney ran a good campaign. He appeared presidential over 80% of the time he was in the spotlight. He avoided the fray well. He had polished answers. I don’t see his presidency as being particularly aggressive toward cutting spending although I think he would sign the bills if they were passed. Expect more of the same big government philosophy from the GOP. I do think Romney might move growth in a positive direction. I think he is serious about getting the government out of some areas of business. One would likely have to deduce concentrate on being more beneficial to the super rich than anyone else, but still.

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