Though he probably should have been, Nixon wasn't really in any danger of losing the election in 1972 regardless of the candidates the Democrats chose. Reagan could have been elected king, so whoever the Democrats chose in 1984 would have been better to write their general election concession speech before writing the speech accepting the nomination since the concession would be the most important and likely last public words he/she/it/they would say. Clinton should have been vulnerable in 1996, but the economy was too good and the Republicans knew they would maintain both houses, so there was really no reason to risk bruising a truly viable candidate. Bush II was vulnerable in 2004, but just how telling is it that a lie about Senator John Kerry's behavior as a soldier cooked up by an essentially phony political action group was enough to scuttle their opportunity when the vice-presidential nominee had a real love child that no one on any side was able to uncover (I still want to know what demon he sold his soul to in order to keep that massive WMD hidden through his successful Senate run in 1998 and his two, unsuccessful, runs for the presidency).
Now that we are in 2012 … Obama is vulnerable. The problem for the Republicans is they seem to be behaving like it's 1996 again. To my mind, it looks as if the men (I can't think of a woman) who could be viable candidates realized that the Tea Party has to be held responsible for a the loss of the White House in 2012 so they, the Tea Party, can be ignored without fear of reprisal. Why, I see them ask themselves, should I subject myself and my family to a primary process that destroys people even when everyone involved is relatively sane? So what they leave us with is Mitt Romney who has to be the most insane person ever to run a legitimate campaign.
I question anyone's sanity who wants to be president of the US. It is one of the worst jobs on the planet and to get it you have to put yourself and everyone you claim to love through ringers so vicious it is a wonder that anyone comes through them in one piece. But to be president you first have to win the nomination. If cooler heads in your party are openly calling for people to run against you, what kind of mental damage do you suffer if you continue to want to lead this group? It only makes sense if the real plan is to win the nomination and, if you win the election, to switch parties and stick it to the people who were so blatant in their opposition to you. Otherwise, I would have to guess that Governor Romney is a pathological glutton for personal punishment, a specific masochist who would be far more dangerous as president than an out-right crook. You can predict, and even control a crook once you know what the price is, and you can respect a crook. But if the goal is for people to be mean to you, not only are your motives unpredictable, you are by definition impossible to respect.
That Governor Romney would say anything to get elected was fairly well known before 2007, but became obvious to all in his first failed bid for the Republican nomination. Since the unwritten Republican rule is that if you come in second in one nomination contest you become the heir apparent in the next. So we have a vulnerable president and an heir to the other party nomination that is also very vulnerable. This means that anyone who thinks he or she has the chops to be president now sees an opening that wouldn't exist in calmer times. This means that in the effort to be Anybody But Mitt (ABM) we have been regaled with a cast of crazies that would be impossible for even the most absurdist of playwrights to create.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was really only ever running to be queen of Iowa and the few that took her seriously now are back on their medication and we have little to fear from them. So she was never really an anybody, let alone an ABM.
Ambassador John Huntsman was always a serious candidate. His resume is impressive as are his actual skills, save one. He cannot understand that in order to be a presidential candidate you have to be crazy. He was simply too reasonable to be a viable anything, let alone an anyone, let alone alone an ABM.
Representative Ron Paul gets press for not getting press for being consistent. The most significant problem is that he consistently gets only about 10% of whatever is being asked. If he were clever he would consider it a tithe and run for God. He'd stand an equal chance of winning that position as the Republican nomination or the presidency. The problem is that at times gods and nominees and presidents are expected to deliver more than just "NO" on occasion. So even the most re-love-utionists out there stumping for their demi-candidate would sour on the man. He has yet to be and will never be an ABM no matter how long he stays in the race.
Herman Cain was an acceptable ABM for a while. The problem is that he was never really a candidate. Yea he had all the paperwork and enough polling to get him in the debates so he did a b-movie job of playing the part. But if he paid a demon to keep his secrets hidden, his demon wasn't as good as Senator John Edwards because the women the demon was supposed to keep hidden refused to play along. Rachel Maddow cleverly called his campaign an art project and a few people said he did it to drum up sales for his books and speeches. Perhaps. But I think he just didn't have the guts to ask for a divorce so instead he runs for president so his lover of many years will have to out him as an all around scumbag, thus forcing his wife to ask for a divorce (I don't know that this will really happen, but if it does, I can't have been the first to suggest it). He suspends then ends his campaign/art project/'free' publicity stint/lame attempt to cause a divorce or two. Mitt returns to the spot of inevitable nominee but after almost a month of being behind a total farce who mistook the price of one of his own pizzas for a tax plan.
Governor Rick Perry was tall enough and wide enough to look imposing. He was an acceptable ABM it seems. Then he spoke. After his star faded, Mitt came back but for a while he was bested by a boob who couldn't remember his own stump speech.
I need to make a brief aside concerning narcissism. All candidates are narcissists to some degree. Most of them have functional narcissism which leaves them in a position where they can, from time to time, listen to people around them and consider their ideas and from time to time agree with them. It's pathological but since the profession calls for it, only egregious extremes of narcissism would merit attention. The two remaining ABMs fit this mold.
Speaker Newt Gingrich led his party to a stunning victory in 1994 doing what seemed impossible: taking the majority in the House from the Democrats for the first time in 40 years and dragging the Senate along for the ride. Then, within two years weakened the party's position after causing two government shutdowns that voters blamed him for and weakened it further by forcing an impeachment that the country did not want. He resigned in 1998 ostensibly to take responsibility for the failure but he was also being hounded on multiple ethics charges so he was going to have to step aside as speaker anyway. It seems that thirteen years as a lobbyist might be enough time for people to forget just what kind of hateful little reptile he is. He was a viable ABM for a while, then lost the spot when he decided to take a vacation. Mitt was running second to a serial cheater with ethics problems who thought he had the nomination sewn up before any ballot was cast. Then Gingrich's star faded. Then he decides on a gambit that is essentially shooting fish in a barrel – get South Carolina Republicans suspicious of someone's race or religion. South Carolina repudiates Mitt who fails the South Carolina litmus test because he's a yankee and a Mormon. Instead it chooses a man who fails even more of the litmus test: multiple wives, a Catholic convert (so he doesn't have an excuse of being ‘born that way'), and he was not born in the South either which makes him a carpetbagger to boot. South Carolina really has to hate you if they are willing to cast ballots for a carpetbagger. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Georgian by birth and lived there for many years and worked to defeat Mr. Gingrich, failing every time. I lived in South Carolina for a few years – during the 1992 election cycle so I saw the nasty politics of which I speak. I lived North Carolina (well Charlotte which may as well be in South Carolina) during the 2000 mess, so I witnessed it up close again. A northerner really stands no chance in that state so that Mitt got any votes is somewhat amazing and he can be forgiven for not really letting it get to him. But it was the second time that this unelectable imp took front runner status from Mitt.
I have to save the most incredible for last. Divining what planets aligned in which Zodiac to allow Senator Rick Santorum to be taken seriously, if written correctly could get you Ph.D.s in sociology, anthropology, psychology, history, political science, and quantum physics.
First something that must be filed under the politics = strange bedfellows file. The two unequivocal evangelicals in the race (Bachmann and Perry) were so gaffe prone that the best even the most forgiving soul could do is pray for them, voting for them would be out of the question. So the evangelicals now have a Libertarian (cult or religion is up to you), a Catholic convert who isn't cheating on the third wife, yet (but only because she isn't sick, should she become ill, he will stray again), and a cradle Catholic to choose from. A faithful member of the LDS church is so anathema to the evangelical crowd that a bred in the bone Catholic is acceptable. Baptists don't usually agree on much (that's why there are 26 flavors and counting). They can always be counted upon to agree to disagree (and thus split). They can always be counted upon to consider Catholics to be anything but Christian … well, except when … um … real Catholic, converted Catholic, real Mormon … hum … "Do Libertarians believe that you have to be totally dunked to be baptized? Wait, that's what Mormons do too? Man, I'm sitting this one out." For this fictional Baptist to cast a vote for a Catholic instead of just stay home, that's some serious dislike.
Senator Santorum was the third most powerful Republican senator for a while. Then he lost his seat by the biggest margin in any senate race anyone can remember. When he reaches to his right he touches only John Birch himself and the only reason for that Santorum is Catholic – if he was anything else, when he reached to his right he would touch the void. He refuses to acknowledge that he has a left side. In other words, a proven loser who is lost in another century in another country was able to take states you thought you didn't have to fight for and stick it to you in what we are assuming is your home state.
And during all of this, Republican operatives and pundits have begged almost anyone else to run. And they have done this in public.
By the rules you are supposed to be the nominee. But the people who make and enforce these rules tried for months to get someone else to run. It worked once with Mr. Perry but beggar's remorse set in soon after, so they tried again and again. So the field is set but the people who are supposed to vote for you are not cooperating no matter how much money you spend.
Michigan caused itself some harm when it moved the primary which meant that it lost delegates and made up a schizophrenic method for determining delegates. The problem is this is supposed to be one of your home states you were supposed to win in a walk. That there was any contest, let alone the contest it was cannot feel good. Does the merely insane person say, maybe I'm done? You are going to walk into Super Tuesday in a week. The ten states voting then are not friendly territory but the new weakness exposed by the Michigan mess makes it not just less friendly but more expensive. Does the merely insane person say enough? There has been open talk of the possibility of a brokered convention – experts keep saying it can't happen, but when was the last time anyone in any party used the phrase? What that means in plain terms is that they are willing to concede defeat to President Obama. It means they are willing to do just about anything to stop you and your opponents from being nominated (because if they don't rewrite the unwritten rule, the person who comes in second this time will be nominated next time, putting them in the same untenable position). In plainer words, the party seems to be willing to commit suicide than nominate you.
Just what level of self-hatred do you have if you are willing to do anything to lead a group of people that would rather shoot themselves than have you lead them? Just what level of delusion do you have that you are willing to go down in history as the person blamed for destroying a political party more than 150 years old? In one of your many gaffes you said you liked firing people. These people you fired, were they nice to you? When you tried to fire someone who shot back that they hated you did you rehire them and give them a raise?
You have lots of money. And in another gaffe you said you were unemployed – given that many employers prefer to hire someone who already has a job, your chances with the general public shouldn't fare any better. That said, you have means so being unemployed may leave you idle but it leaves you idly rich. I wouldn't suggest buying a company unless it's one of those restaurants that hires wait staff that is supposed to insult the clientele because that would put nice, hard-working people at risk of losing their jobs. I suggest one of two things. Seek reputable therapy. It is possible to be happy without needing to hang with people who actively hate you. This is the best thing you can do for yourself. Alternately, create a company, call it Blackwater since the name is available again. Hire people whose only job is to hate you or other paying clients/client states (France might be willing to pony up some Greek bonds for a bit of creative hatred). Pay a living wage and take out all applicable taxes. That is the best thing you can do for your nation.
Although he is certainly qualified I cannot get all that excited about Mr. Romney's candidacy. Frankly, I think his time has passed and I just don't think he can get elected. Still in a contest against Barack Obama I would vote for him in a heartbeat.
Former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts began a movement for the 2012 Republican Party nomination for president of the United States shortly after the 2008 presidential election.
Although he was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate, Romney stopped short of a full-fledged candidacy before the beginning of 2011. Prior to that, he had indicated that he was merely considering running again for president.
Romney filed his organization with the Federal Elections Commission as an exploratory committee, and announced the organization in a video message on April 11, 2011.