The first actual voting in the 2012 United States presidential campaign will take place tomorrow evening in Iowa (the immediate neighbor to the west of my home state of Illinois), which hosts the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses. I am long overdue for some commentary on the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, so I have written this extremely long post (helpfully divided into sections) explaining my thoughts.
After following the major media coverage of the Republican presidential candidates, and especially after watching the televised debates, I am very disappointed with and dismayed by the GOP candidates lining up for the chance to challenge President Obama in the 2012 presidential election. I don’t like any of the major candidates, and with only one exception (Jon Huntsman) I don’t like any of the minor candidates either. When I was watching a televised debate (which was held on Thursday, August 11, 2011), I tweeted that the candidates were “losers and nutcases”, by which I meant that some are losers and some are nutcases, not that all are both. I will give two rundowns on the candidates and my opinions of them, one brief, and the other more detailed.
Mitt Romney (Businessman/former governor)– panderer, flip-flopper, inauthentic, some good policy ideas, mixed record as governor, VERDICT: competent and not crazy but an overall weak candidate
Rick Perry (Governor)–Tea Party supporter, some highly extreme comments, mixed record as governor, VERDICT: dangerously extreme and unintelligent
Michele Bachmann (Congresswoman)–Tea Party leader, many extreme comments and positions, paltry legislative record, no executive experience, VERDICT: dangerous extremist
Ron Paul (Congressman)–supporter of Austrian economics, many extreme comments, possible racist, no executive experience, VERDICT: dangerous extremist
Herman Cain (Businessman)–some extreme comments, possible racist (against Arabs & Muslims), no executive experience, VERDICT: semi-dangerous extremist
Newt Gingrich (Former Speaker of the House)–smart but not that smart, showed poor leadership during later Clinton years, very poor campaign management, VERDICT: intelligent but dangerously incompetent
Rick Santorum (Former Senator)–social conservative, many extreme comments and positions, possible homophobe, mixed legislative record, VERDICT: semi-dangerous extremist
Jon Huntsman (Former ambassador & governor)–substantial resumé, many sound domestic policy proposals, questionable foreign policy, positive record as governor, VERDICT: competent, not crazy, but not extreme enough or pandering enough to win primaries
My detailed rundown is after the break.