In the volatility of the Republican 2012 primary, one thing is for sure. Calling this race now would be like predicting the Superbowl in September. How ’bout them Eagles. Of course, I called the Eagles faltering before the season started. I’m usually pretty good with my football picks. So, allow me to apply some of that prophetic magic here. FYI, this post is not for the faint of heart. I’m just giving it to you straight.
Romney is all set as the Republican establishment candidate. He has had that spot locked up really since before Mitch Daniels dropped out of the race. Now the one stable thing in this race is that Romney will get the establishment vote. He will also get a lot of mainstream Republican votes. But he is going to run into a real issue, and that is with the anti-establishment movement within the Republican party. All that is about to blow wide open this week as the NYT releases a story about opinions among establishment Republicans of the TEA party. The GOP is about to have a civil war on its hands. Whether they can recover by next November will be huge in determining whether or not Barack Obama is President in 2013. Mitt Romney absolutely must nail down his conservative support and soon, or he will lose Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.
I like Herman Cain a lot. I think he would make a great Vice President. I think he would be a star on the campaign trail. I think he would bring a lot of conservatives to the table and would bring the TEA party and anti-establishment wing to the table. Here’s the problem: Herman Cain’s 9 9 9 plan sucks. He would do better to drop that plan completely and advocate a Fairtax, which I also oppose for various reasons you can find here. But even the Fairtax is better than 9 9 9. Cain’s 9 9 9 plan has several Achilles’s heels hidden in its simplicity. Perhaps the worst is the 9% flat tax on corporation’s gross profits minus purchases and dividends. Unless Cain plans to include payroll with purchases, his 9% flat tax could turn into an effective 99% tax, or even higher, on low margin service industries with high labor costs. But simplicity and feel good soundbites are what drives the Cain campaign. Sometimes those soundbites are the common sense we are all thinking, but nobody who represents us is saying. In those times, I love Herman Cain. Other times it’s not much better than the soundbites written on a Wall Street mob sign. Great for riling you up, until you stop and think about it.
Right now, we are watching the French Revolution in the TEA party and anti-establishment wing of the Republican party. And who can blame them? I should say, who can blame us. Our party had the President who initially signed TARP. Now, of course I don’t think Bush ever imagined TARP would be used to give the treasury secretary ultimate powers to steal companies from their bondholders, sell them overseas and give the proceeds to unions. But he should have. Conservative Constitutionalists are praying, quite literally, that we don’t get fooled again. The result has been the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain. Each time, the anti-establishment establishment is looking for that perfect, conservative candidate that we can get behind and support.
Now, suddenly Newt Gingrich is inching back into the top three. In fact, while Cain tops out the very volatile state of Florida, Gingrich has hit double digits. As a matter of fact, Gingrich’s facebook page shows a photo of him on the Drudge Report with a story about how he is still in this. And he definitely is.
The difference between Newt and the other candidates is that Newt’s laundry has been on the line for years now. Everyone knows who Newt Gingrich is. He isn’t going to come out with a plan that sinks his campaign a month from now. No one is going to learn during a debate about him forcing 12 year old girls to get vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases. Everyone knows how imperfect his past is. That’s why he hasn’t been in this race up to now. And that is why he will be very dangerous if Cain falls on 9 9 9. Of course, I mean “dangerous” in the best way possible. Newt versus Mitt with no specter of late arrivals and no more candidates left to shoot up to the top could solidify January’s primaries.
Newt can carry Iowa and South Carolina easily once the other social conservatives lose their votes to him. Newt was the first in the debates to really highlight how Obama was preventing jobs from coming to South Carolina. And Iowa will pick the social conservative every time. In a Newt/Mitt race, it will all be about Florida.
On January 26th, Republicans will hold the last GOP debate that matters before the primary. I know, there will be one in Tampa the night before the primary. No one is going to change their mind because of the Tampa debate. It will all come down to January 26th in Jacksonville, Florida. Mitt Romney versus the TEA party favorite. The last time the Superbowl was held here, the Patriots won.
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