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Second Rate

As I look at the field of candidates for the Republican nomination for president (announced, potential, and has-beens), I find myself thinking that there is a hell of an administration there -- the only thing that seems to be missing is the guy or gal at the top.

Seriously. I can see a lot of them in Cabinet and other high-ranking positions, but actually as president? It doesn't work for me.

Just for a moment, think about an administration made up of these folks:

Mitt Romney: Secretary of Commerce.

Tim Pawlenty: Secretary of the Treasury.

Newt Gingrich: OK, he can stay home. Or, maybe, Education, if we have to use him.

Sarah Palin: Secretary of Energy.

MIchele Bachman: Health and Human Services.

Jon Huntsman: Ambassador to the UN.

Ron Paul: Ambassador to Mars.

Rick Santorum: I dunno. I just can't get that interested in him. Maybe Secretary of... zzzzzz... huh? I'm awake! What was the question? 42! Blue! August, 1945! Sodium Chloride! Utopian Turtletop! Did I get it right?

Herman Cain: Vice President. Quite frankly, I can't see him "settling" for anything less than the top job, but he might take the number two slot if offered -- and promised a meaty role.

John Bolton: Secretary of State. If there's anyone out there who can bring the rogue State Department to heel and remind them of where their true loyalties should lie, and not get captured by the system and the climate there, it's the 'Stache.

Mitch Daniels: Secretary of Defense. We're gonna need to get defense spending to a reasonable level, and he's got a good fiscal head. Plus, with the whole gays in the military issue, a guy with weak social conservative credentials and a knack for pragmatism could be quite useful.

Donald Trump:
Press Secretary. Him versus the White House Press Corps? They deserve each other.

Mike Huckabee: Leave him where he is, in the Saturday night TV ghetto. Please.

Chris Christie: Secretary of Labor. Let him take on the unions on a national stage. Or Attorney General -- he was a federal prosecutor. Or vice president, giving him some good experience for a run later on. He's got star potential, and he's ruled out running for president this time around -- but hasn't said anything about any other position. It would take something pretty tempting to lure him out of the governor's mansion, though -- he's doing very important work and having a hell of a lot of fun.

That leaves us a few key positions unfilled -- Attorney General comes to mind -- but we gotta leave something open for non-candidates. (Imagining Ann Coulter or Radley Balko as AG sends thrills up my leg. Or perhaps Glenn Reynolds, but could he stand the pay cut?)

For the sake of our nation, I hope that a Republican does win in 2012. These folks would certainly do a better job than the current office holders, but there's no chance they'd be appointed by the Obama administration. For one, I'm fairly comfortable saying they've all paid their taxes.


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Comments (40)

If the people you listed we... (Below threshold)

If the people you listed were appointed, with their knowledge and abilities, I could do the job.

If you appointed Trump as p... (Below threshold)

If you appointed Trump as press secretary then the Anchoress might have a legitimate complaint on how the press is treated.

You've put your finger on o... (Below threshold)
James H:

You've put your finger on one reason Republicans could have a difficult time in 2012. So far, there doesn't seem to be a top-drawer Republican in the field who just screams "president!" The likely candidates are marginal (Cain, Santorum, Paul), polarizing (Gingrich, Palin, Bachman), or dull as dishwater (Huntsman, Pawlenty, Romneybot). And the GOP's strongest challengers (Barbour, Daniels, Christie) have all taken a pass on the race.

Republicans would like to see a parallel with 1992, but I don't see it happening. President Bush I, for all his virtues, was not exactly tops in the charisma department -- an advantage Obama has. And in terms of a challenger, I don't really see anybody with, again, the charisma and principles of Bill Clinton ... although I would argue Romney comes close to Clinton's principles.

I know he's not announced, ... (Below threshold)

I know he's not announced, but where would you put Paul Ryan? Can't waste a brain like that!

James H -Charisma ... (Below threshold)

James H -

Charisma only gets you so far - there's got to be competency to take over when the lure of charisma fades, and so far Obama's not exactly been all that competent.

(Except in a rather negative way - he's been QUITE successful in making things worse.)

If the economy doesn't recover (and it's looking more and more like it won't in the foreseeable future, with current policies and uncertanties in effect) you could run a log of Georgia pine for President and it'd stand a good chance.

Let's see - legal age? Count the rings. Citizen? Planted and grown in the USA. Never took government handouts, no mistresses, no late taxes, no embarrasing biographical revellations (though there was that attempt at cross-pollination with two blue spruces and a magnolia, but they won't come forward... or even talk about it.)

Experience? Standing around and looking good while others do the work. Relatives in BOTH Houses and all through the government. Won't even have to spend much on the wardrobe - a coat of tung oil and beeswax every now and then and a few minutes with a buffer, and it'd be ready for prime time...

Plus, prop it in front of a teleprompter and it'd NEVER go off-script!

(Yeah, some will complain that the personality is a bit too wooden, but so what?)

"the charisma and principle... (Below threshold)

"the charisma and principles of Bill Clinton"

With respect to Bill Clinton's principles, may I suggest a Republican controlled Congress assisted Mr Clinton in honing his pragmatism?

Charisma is about making a ... (Below threshold)

Charisma is about making a connection with people without actually having to interact with them directly, one-on-one.

Obama doesn't have it. People projected it on him in 2007-08 because they wanted this unknown African-American guy who didn't have Sharptonesque baggage to become president.

Actually, the pundits and m... (Below threshold)

Actually, the pundits and media state this is the republican presidential field. But no one hears that anyone can enter at any time. Why waste the money at this early stage? Why not let Obama continue to implode, then come in?

James H., Bush I lost because he reneged on his promise of not raising taxes. He entered into a deal with the devil (dems) The dem's told him if he raised taxes they would reduce spending. The first part happened. Conservatives left him and turned to Ross Perot. That is the only reason Clinton won. Not Charisma but conservatives sticking to principles. ww

wordy, I can't imagine a be... (Below threshold)

wordy, I can't imagine a better place for Paul Ryan than where he is right now. Right man, right place, right time.


WW is right. Clinton never... (Below threshold)
jim m:

WW is right. Clinton never achieved a majority in either 19992 or 1996. The only reason he ever became President was the third party spoiler.

As for obama's charisma: He lost the vote on his budget 97-0, he lost the vote on the debt ceiling with 82 dems voting against the President. It's not charisma that gets a sitting President reelected, it's performance in office. obama lacks the ability to lead and he lacks the understanding of economics to get us out of this down economy and he lacks the vision necessary to lead America and protect our interests internationally.

It's a combination of a lot... (Below threshold)
James H:

It's a combination of a lot of things ... and I will be the first to admit that the economy is going to weigh heavily on Obama's re-election chances in 2012, assuming we don't see some kind of recovery between now and then.

Another problem for conservatives this year: The old "move right, then move center" dance of presidential elections is much, much tougher this year with the Tea Party on the metaphorical rampage.

To a few specific points:

JLaw: Charisma doesn't uniformly make for great governance, but Presidents Gore, Mondale, Dole, and Tsongas can attest to the difficulty of electing a stick of wood president.

Jim M: I will not contest Bush's tax deal hurt his standing with conservatives. But the economic malaise of 1991-1992 hurt him significantly with the rest of the population.

You could run *ANY* Republi... (Below threshold)

You could run *ANY* Republican against the failure currently in office and win.

Just because *you* list them as second tier candidates doesn't represent what they would actually do against the current office holder.

Romney's at the top of your... (Below threshold)

Romney's at the top of your list yet again. What a surprise. Primus inter pares, wot?

Have a nice time in Stratham today. Are you calling in sick, or taking legit leave?

much tougher this year w... (Below threshold)
jim m:

much tougher this year with the Tea Party on the metaphorical rampage.

The TEA Party polls well with everyone except the left wing media and obamabots. The TEA Party message resonates with the American public. The TEA Party won't be running anyone but the issues that created the TEA Party will drive this election, fiscal restraint, government overreach, reduced regulation so employers can hire people and put this country back to work.

For as much as the left demeans the TEA Party, they seem to miss that people don't care about the movement as much as they care about the issues.

The TEA Party poll... (Below threshold)
James H:
The TEA Party polls well with everyone except the left wing media and obamabots.

Disagree. According to Gallup, the Tea Party continues to have high unfavorables outside the Republican Party. Additionally, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight (now hosted by NYT) meta-analyzed polls at the end of March, finding that negative views of the Tea Party continue to rise.

But despite these negatives in the general population, the Tea Party continues to poll well within the Republican Party. Presumably this means that Tea Party supporters will be active in GOP primaries in 2012.

As I said above, this tension -- popularity within the party, lack of popularity outside the GOP -- will harm the GOP nominee in 2012.

James HI still mai... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H

I still maintain that the issues are what s important. The TEA Party will drive the discussion. Whether or not they are popular the fact is that the American public agrees on the primary issue of fiscal responsibility. The reason the dems collapsed on the budget and debt ceiling votes is because obama is firmly on the wrong side of those issues.

Once again, Chico is trying... (Below threshold)

Once again, Chico is trying to project his delusions on to reality. Romney was at the top of the list I linked to, which I found by a quick Googling.

And note that the theme of this piece is "what I'd rather see the candidates do INSTEAD OF being president."


James HYour Gallup... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H

Your Gallup poll runs in direct contradiction to the last Rasmussen poll. Gallup does not release its internals publicly so there is no way to tell what the weighting was but historically Gallup significantly overestimates the numbers of democrats in its sampling.

from the rasmussen poll:

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters think the Tea Party movement is good for the country, consistent with findings since May 2010. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree and say the grassroots, small government movement is bad for America. Sixteen percent (16%) say neither.

Forty-five percent (45%) say the average Tea Party member has a better understanding of the problems America faces today than the average member of Congress does. That figure is down seven points from a year ago. Still, today only 31% think the average member of Congress has a better understanding. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of GOP voters and 62% of unaffiliateds say their views about the major issues facing the country are closest to those of the average Tea Party member.

Regardless of weighting if 62% of independents are saying that the TEA Party represents their views better than obama then he's in deep, deep trouble.

Jim: You got a link? I'd ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim: You got a link? I'd like to see the numbers myself.

Jim M:Here's a <a ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M:

Here's a Polling Report meta-poll to chew on as well. From my quick glance, it looks like the Tea Party is not doing well among voters on most polls. I would also direct your attention to the spread between the Tea Party's positive reputation among Republicans and its positive reputation among independents. That's going to create some problems in the general election.

And note that the theme ... (Below threshold)

And note that the theme of this piece is "what I'd rather see the candidates do INSTEAD OF being president."

Guess what. The Republican nominee will be one of the names on your list. Jesus and Marco Rubio aren't running. So you putting Romney at the top of these lists and damning him with faint praise instead of just damning him means something. Just sayin'

Come out of the closet. Romney's not a total nut, just a weasel. He probably won't start a nuclear war. I know sanity's seen as a negative by the mob here, though. You gots to maintain your cred.

If you call in sick to go to Stratham today, just be sure to stay clear of the cameras, you don't want the boss to see you on the News at Eleven.

James H,just for y... (Below threshold)
jim m:
Man, it's SO easy to make C... (Below threshold)

Man, it's SO easy to make Chico sit up and bark. I almost wanna give him a Scooby snack.


James H,A couple o... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

A couple of things from the polls you cite:

* They are of adults. Rasmussen polled likely voters. Polls of adults skew much more liberal than polls of likely voters. That being the case you can be assured that the results of such polls will be as much as 10% to the left of the actual voting public.

* The internals are not available. When you say that X% of adults say something and that your poll is adjusted demographically it is important to know what the ration of dem to GOP they used. If they are using party affiliation from 2008 then they are using a party affiliation that is 10-15% higher for the dem party that current polls of affiliation demonstrate. Most of the major networks make this error in their methodology and most of the polls referenced at your link are from the major networks.

Jim M: I don't just ask th... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M: I don't just ask the link for me, but for others reading this discussion.

I am fully willing to admit the Rasmussen "likely voter" model may more accurately reflect the electorate than Gallup's numbers. At the same time, as I scroll down Polling Report, it seems to me that the preponderance of polls indicates independent voters will ikely react unfavorably to a Tea Party candidate in 2012.

But as you note above, there seems to be some divergence between opinion if you invoke "Tea Party" versus "Tea Party ideas." Which is really kind of screwy when you think about it.

Which creates an interesting scenario. A Republican candidate may be able to win the general election if he espouses Tea Party values, but will face difficulty if he is depicted as the "Tea Party candidate."

I also observe that generic "Tea Party values" are also easily neutered and turned into meaningless soundbites -- a politician can mutter platitudes about small government and fiscal responsibility, and remain popular, but he will do so without truly embracing the Tea Party cause.

One more thought: I really wish Tea had gone third party. While this would cost the Tea Party 2012, I also think doing so would have forced politicians across the spectrum to more forcefully address Tea Party issues.

Ross Perot, IMO, is instructive. He lost the 1992 election, but his ability to draw support also forced Clinton and the Republicans to address issues that his constituency favored. That agenda-setting was far more valuable than a President Perot of the Reform Party.

there seems to be some d... (Below threshold)
jim m:

there seems to be some divergence between opinion if you invoke "Tea Party" versus "Tea Party ideas." Which is really kind of screwy when you think about it.

Not really. The MSM is very good at defaming people. It has spent countless hours of broadcast time on false defamatory claims of racism, xenophobia and homophobia against the TEA Party. It is no surprise that the image of the TEA Party is tarnished.

And it would have been a disaster for the TEA Party to go 3rd party. For the reason above alone, the MSM would cast any candidate as the return of George Wallace (never mind that he was a democrat).

Perot did move the discussion in 1992 but the reform party in 1996 did little more than enable Clinton's reelection. The energy in the TEA Party is better used to keep the issues on the table and not wasted on slating candidates. People identify with the issues. Many are too embarrassed by the MSM to admit that they identify with the TEA Party.

it seems to me that the ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

it seems to me that the preponderance of polls indicates independent voters will ikely react unfavorably to a Tea Party candidate in 2012.

That runs in direct opposition to the conclusion that the Rasmussen poll leads one to. With 62% of likely independent voters supporting the same issues as the TEA Party, a candidate running on that platform should do very well.

Again that is why I would argue that supporting issues rather than forming a party and formally endorsing candidates was the right thing to do. There will be no "TEA Party candidate" because there is no official national TEA Party organization to endorse one.

Most people vote on the issues and not on endorsements. You don't see people lining up to support the Westboro Baptist Church just because the KKK has come out against them. The TEA Party is a real grassroots movement and the majority of Americans identify with the same issues if not the movement itself. The MSM can try to smear the movement but the issues still retain their grip on the public consciousness.

That runs in direc... (Below threshold)
James H:
That runs in direct opposition to the conclusion that the Rasmussen poll leads one to. With 62% of likely independent voters supporting the same issues as the TEA Party, a candidate running on that platform should do very well.

Jim, honestly, if more of the polls offered positive endorsements of the Tea faction, I would agree with you. But across polls, I don't think the numbers are there.

That said, it looks like the crux of the matter will on whether voters prioritize issues over the Tea Party label. But I'm not sure that's going to happen.

JLaw: Charisma doesn't u... (Below threshold)

JLaw: Charisma doesn't uniformly make for great governance, but Presidents Gore, Mondale, Dole, and Tsongas can attest to the difficulty of electing a stick of wood president

Yes, James H, but THIS time you could call the President 'dumb as a fencepost' - and be right!

Rudy for AG! Perfect guy; ... (Below threshold)

Rudy for AG! Perfect guy; he was NY when the [email protected]#$ hit the fan; he'll know what to do with those Gitmo Detainees!

James H, it doesn't matter ... (Below threshold)

James H, it doesn't matter what the favorability of the Tea Party is. The favorability of Obama is what is important. Obama for sure lost the independent voter. That is what carried him.

Now I do know most liberals are racist and participate in hate speech all the time but give it a break. ww

Christie as what? He's alef... (Below threshold)
Don L :

Christie as what? He's aleftist who hates teacher's unions (hey Hitler liked dogs) - maybe he got bad grades and is just now getting even. How does he stand on killing innocent babies? Gay marriage? Mandated death panels? Arab Spring or radicals revolution?
Global climate fraud?

Surely we are suckers for trojan horses these days, if they just paint one a teeney bit conservative.

Most of the conservatives h... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Most of the conservatives here, are 'whistling dixie', if they Obama will be so easily defeated. This is the day, the putative frontrunner for the GOP nomination, the chameleon Romney, apart from his Mormon faith, announces he is officially running for the nomination, and it escapes everyone's notice. No surprise there! Good luck in your primaries trying to pick one from this lot. It will either be 'a whack job', or someone who bores everyone to death.

Unemployment is at 9% but D... (Below threshold)

Unemployment is at 9% but Don L needs to know how candidates stand on gay marriage and imaginary "death panels".


Since we need to eliminate ... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Since we need to eliminate the cabinet-level departments of Commerce, Energy, Education, and HUD (for starters), it makes little sense to recommend a department head. These departments suck billions of dollars for NO appreciable return to the country (although those getting the dollars directly seem to do all right for themselves).

Romney is the ideal Chief of Staff. It's the job he was born for.

But the whining about the field is ridiculous. Sure, people want another Washington, Lincoln, or Reagan. I don't see one on the horizon. We have several former governors in the field who are eminently qualified.

AND we will be running against Obama - the worst President EVER. Incompetent on many things, and wrong on the things he has been able to get done. Mismanagement is rife, subordination of the taxpayers and the country to the needs of union bosses, kow-towing to hostile foreign regimes, ruling by fiat instead of law.

My dog could hardly do a worse job than this buffoon.

...subordination of the ... (Below threshold)

...subordination of the taxpayers and the country to the needs of union bosses...

Right. Union bosses pillaged the treasury. All of Geithner's union buddies on Wall Street are the problem.

There should be a law that once unemployment reaches 8%, you have to achieve a B-average in an Economics 101 course in order to vote.

I would put Ann Coulter as ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I would put Ann Coulter as WH press secratary.
That would be a hoot.



"There should be a law that once unemployment reaches 8%, you have to achieve a B-average in an Economics 101 course in order to vote.'

Dems would never go for that. They would lose more than half their voting base.

I mean you have the Obama voters who say he is going to pay for their gas and car bills and morgages. Then you have the tax cheats who cant even use turbo tax. Then you have the chairman of the House ways and means committee who forgets income from his rental properties.

Then you have the other dem voters who hear bailout that line up to get "obama's money that he is passing out"

BTW I made As in both my micro and macro Econ courses in College.

"There should be a law that... (Below threshold)

"There should be a law that once unemployment reaches 8%, you have to achieve a B-average in an Economics 101 course in order to vote."

And hopefully we would get a conservative government here like Canada.

Yes, by all means, to join ... (Below threshold)

Yes, by all means, to join the chosen, or the elite, or the vanguard of the proletariat, or... whatever, one should attain at least a B- in Marxian flavored, neo-Keynesianism. BTW how did you do on your Austrian school of economic theory final exam? And which school of economics foresaw the debt crisis which exploded in 2008? Hint: it wasn't Helicopter Ben and his crew of over-educated Keynesians.

Speaking of the Austrian school, the following is from Ludwig von Mises:

"They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. [Actually to bring this up to date it would read 'they call themselves progressive, but they are intent upon abolishing progress.'] They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!"

Mitt Romney is probably the... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Mitt Romney is probably the only electable candidate on this list. The others can't put together enough electoral votes to win the 2012 election. In the end, one state, Ohio will decide the 2012 election.






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