The presidential field is starting to shape up for the GOP although there still are a lot of question marks. In the space of a day, Haley Barbour has decided he is not going to run (and had no chance anyway) and Ron Paul is expected to announce an exploratory committee ahead of a probable run. Romney and Pawlenty are definitely in but Romney has all sorts of problems and Pawlenty is kind of unknown and boring. Donald Trump is getting the most press which is ridiculous but that is the celebrity culture we live in today, a culture where a guy who donated $50,000 to Rahm Emmanuel is getting all of the buzz in the GOP field. Still waiting on Palin and Bachmann, neither of whom is a decent candidate for different reasons and neither of whom I think will end up running. Bachmann might make a decent VP candidate but really anyone would look good compared to the Human Gaffe-A-Tron Joe Biden. My governor Mitch Daniels keeps getting mentioned and would be a serious and sober adult candidate but he needs to quit flirting and get in or get out fairly soon.
I am far more sympathetic to Ron Paul then I have been in the past. His fiscal ideas are the sort of medicine that we need to swallow. His big challenge in the GOP primaries comes from those who want a President to be willing to engage U.S. forces around the world without hesitation and Paul is more concerned with getting our own house in order rather than playing policeman to the world. Iraq is finally drawing to a close, Afghanistan is a mess and not much better than it was years ago and we have stepped in a giant mess in Libya with no plan and no stomach to either pull out or get in completely. Libya is exactly the sort of misadventure that anyone paying attention could see was coming when you have someone as unqualified to be Commander-In-Chief as President Obama calling the shots. We need a different direction for our foreign policy, not more of the same. The biggest threat to American freedom and prosperity is not radical Islam, it is the national debt and we need to treat the debt as the great challenge of our generation.
2012 looks like a golden opportunity for conservatives if we can just get it together. The longer we talk about Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, the harder it becomes to put together a coherent message. Don’t think for a second that the media doesn’t know this and isn’t exploiting this to weaken the GOP position. Obama has thus far: put us further in debt in a shorter time for less effect than any of his predecessors, enacted a horrible and unpopular health care bill, gotten us involved in a no-win situation in Libya, failed to take a single concrete step to reduce the debt, shown zero leadership on energy issues, made lots of promises that he has failed to keep regarding unemployment and generally squandered all of his hopey-changey goodwill in record time. He is vulnerable and by rights should be a one term President but to make that a reality is going to require a unified party and a unified message, one that pounds Democrats and the Left in general and President Obama in particular relentlessly about the $14 trillion national debt and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.
The longer we dink around with clowns like Trump, the longer we delay going after Obama and that only helps him. 2013 should roll in with a Republican President, an even more solid majority in the House and a GOP majority in the Senate (given all of the seats the Democrats have to defend in a year when they are on the ticket with a vulnerable President). We need a Pawlenty, Paul or Daniels to lead the party and send Obama back to community organizing. This country cannot afford to lose another election to the party of bigger government, more spending and endless debt.