Not so fast

March 8th, 2011

J-Pod has it right:

Obviously, someone has to be the Republican nominee. But that someone is not on this list, and it sure won’t be Gingrich — who is not only on his third marriage, not only served his first wife divorce papers in a cancer ward, but also has a large number of politicians who actually served with him in Congress determined to make sure he doesn’t make it to the nominating convention. Nor will it be Huckabee, who was a genuinely surprising and interesting candidate in 2008 when he was unknown but now doesn’t have the “Hey, who is that guy?” thing going for him.

Once again, we have to be reminded of a few things. First, the candidate for president who won in 1992 didn’t declare his intention to seek office until the fall of 1991. Second, Barack Obama declared his candidacy in February 2007 and promptly wasted six months of money and energy and bad debating appearances. He gained no traction against Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t until October that he actually figured out how to run, and he might have spared himself the trouble if he’d waited until then.

So what does this tell us? It tells us that the person who can win has either not reached the point of deciding to run or that he is biding his time until later. It could be Chris Christie. It could be Paul Ryan. It could be Marco Rubio. It could be Bobby Jindal. One hears that the 2016 GOP race will feature all these guys in a superstar battle. If that one could, so could this one. And there’s plenty of time. Plenty.

Precisely so. All this blather and handwringing over this poll or that poll or who’s the front runner this week as opposed to five minutes ago is just so much mental masturbation. The nominee will be — had better be — someone who is either barely on the national radar right now, or doesn’t even register at all. Despite the fretting and fussing of people who think about politics 24/7 for a living, that isn’t a bug, it’s a feature, and has always been our best hope.

Insisting that the nominee simply must be one of the current crop of longtime hacks and over-ambitious also-rans is foolish, self-defeating, and just happens to completely ignore a good chunk of recent history. From Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Ogabe, a goodly number of our Presidents have been people who either were dismissed early on by the preening prognosticators of the Ruling Class punditry as unelectable, or simply weren’t given much serious consideration at all because of their nonexistent national recognition.

Howzabout we let the primary process shake itself out to at least some small degree before we throw up our hands and resign ourselves to some previous loser or disingenuous charlatan who keeps popping to the surface again and again, cycle after cycle, like a turd in a punchbowl? The elections are still a damned long way off; most people aren’t even paying attention right now, and there’s no real reason they should be; plenty can happen between now and then to tarnish a perpetual candidate or elevate a solid prospect from the ranks of the heretofore unknown, and almost certainly will.

As Podhoretz says, there’s plenty of time, and rushing in to declare a winner now only means that by the time the election does roll around, the current supposed front-runners will have had even more time to expose their myriad flaws and implode all over the electoral landscape. And there we’ll be again, walking into the polling place holding our noses and resigning ourselves to another four years of the same crap that got us into this mess — or giving up altogether, refusing to waste time and energy on a dog-and-pony show of no real value or consequence, and staying the hell home.

Oh yeah: I chose the category I did for this one just because I think it’s funny. I still think we’d be a hell of a lot better off if he’d won. And I still think the supposed lack of “fire in the belly” that all the professional handwringers complained about was one of the biggest reasons why.

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  1. hrinn
    March 8th, 2011 at 10:31 | #1
    I agree. The right candidate hasn't surfaced yet. The supposed front runners still have too many unknowns about them. For instance, I would support Rep. Allen West for his take on extremist Islam but his stand on virtually every other issue is unknown.
  2. sablegsd
    March 8th, 2011 at 13:55 | #2
    Cain/West
    Cain/Rubio
    Cain/Bachmann
  3. hrinn
    March 10th, 2011 at 06:21 | #3
    @sablegsd
    Unknown/West
    Unknown/Rubio
    Bachmann/Unknown
    McCain isn't on the list.
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