May 21, 2011

The First Post of an Inevitable Series

Carroll Andrew Morse

Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican nomination for President about two weeks ago and then proceeded to alienate the entire party at record speed, even by his standards. Tim Pawlenty will formally announce his candidacy on Monday. Mitch Daniels, whose stature is at least equivalent to that of Pawlenty (read that any way you would like) has not yet announced when he might make an announcement. Thankfully, Donald Trump has taken himself out of the race, so this is the only sentence I will ever have to write about his Presidential campaign. Herman Cain, who formally announced his candidacy today, is receiving praise for his performance at the first Republican debate (yes, one has already happened). Based on that same debate, there appears to be a possibility that Gary Johnson may cut into Ron Paul’s share of the identity-libertarian vote.

Through the 2008 Republican primary cycle, I bought into the hype that said “this time is different”, and that the Republicans were going to do something different from their traditional practice of nominating “the next guy in line”. I spent some time tracking how a Rudy Guiliani/Fred Thompson dynamic might play out. And then the Republicans nominated the next guy in line (John McCain, in case you’ve already blotted his campaign out of your memory).

So, in addition to any declared candidates, until there is real evidence of non-viability or non-interest, you should keep a political-eye on the two potential candidates who best fit the description of the next [person] in line: Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, even though a conventional wisdom is forming that the Massachusetts health care mandate makes Romney unelectable in a Republican primary. Keep in mind, however, that just before the 2008 Presidential primary season started, John McCain was working as hard as he could to alienate the Republican base on the issue of immigration. Despite this, the Republicans couldn’t stop themselves from nominating the next guy in line.

From a Rhode Island perspective, two other specifics are worth noting…

  1. Mike Huckabee has announced that he is not running. Huckabee received about 20% of the vote in the RI Republican primary in 2008, albeit in an election that occurred after McCain was an almost absolute lock for the nomination, and after Romney had conceded. Still, it’s worth asking in what direction Huckabee’s 20% of primary voters will be looking.
  2. State Representative Doreen Costa is working on bringing possible Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann here to RI for a campaign visit. Could this be the start of a Bachmann boomlet, related to the above item, as Rep. Bachmann pays a visit to the state where the "first blow for freedom" of the American Revolution was struck?

UPDATE (Sunday, May 22)

The Associated Press is reporting that Mitch Daniels sent out an email to supporters last night saying he's not running.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"the Massachusetts health care mandate makes Romney unelectable in a Republican primary"

This is very unfortunate. All he should have to say is that states should be the ones making these decisions, not the federal government. Massachusetts wanted this, and they got it. If Nebraska doesn't want it, why should they be forced onto a federal system?

I don't like Obamacare because it cuts down on states' relative competitiveness and innovation. Wouldn't it be great if each state did their own thing and the successful models were promoted on their own merits? Systems could be designed (or not designed) in accordance with the values of those who are residents of each state?

Posted by: mangeek at May 21, 2011 7:40 PM

mangeek, playing devil's advocate, if Governor Romney thought it was a good thing for Mass, then why shouldn't/won't President Romney think it's a good thing for the whole country? If he thought all MA residents should be covered, doesn't he think that all US citizens should be covered?

Additionally, how can he run against Obamacare when it is loosely based on the health care bill that he signed into law.

If I was Deval Patrick, I'd spend the next year or so touring the country giving speeches about how great Romneycare is in Mass and what a great job Romney did in championing it and how thankful he is to his predecessor for putting Romneycare in place.

Posted by: Patrick at May 21, 2011 8:31 PM

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe has a good column on Patrick's question:

Also I don't think Romney's problem is with this issue alone. Combined with his high-profile conversion on abortion, I think a position of a mandate is not good policy except where it is contributes to a perception that it is really difficult to determine what Romney is really committed to.

Posted by: Andrew at May 21, 2011 9:04 PM

Thanks Andrew, I found this paragraph in the Globe article interesting:

"To begin with, just because a 25-year-old law requires hospitals to provide emergency care to all comers, why does it follow that another law must force every citizen to buy insurance? Clearly there are other ways to compensate hospitals for the “free’’ care they supply to the uninsured. To mention only the most obvious option, the government could reimburse the cost of that care directly."

Right, we don't have to mandate that everyone purchases insurance, but just let the government reimburse the uncovered health care. Sounds good to me. Where is that form again where I decline health coverage at my job and save myself about $5,000 a year?

If no one is mandated to have health insurance and the government is going to pay for anyone with no insurance, then why should I pay for my health insurance. I'll not only save my annual premium, but my company also has an insurance buyout that I bet they'd be quite happy to pay me instead of paying their portion of my family insurance plan.

Where do I un-sign up?

Posted by: Patrick at May 21, 2011 9:16 PM

A Bachmann appearance would make for an interesting podium. Would Costa allow Mike Chippendale in the front row after Chippy's "betrayal" of her by voting for civil unions?
Interesting that five of the 10 House Republicans (including the leadership) voted for civil unions. Think we have an RIGOP coup before the esteemed congresswoman from Minnesota arrives?

Posted by: bella at May 22, 2011 8:36 AM

"The Associated Press is reporting that Mitch Daniels sent out an email to supporters last night saying he's not running."

This time.

I think either Daniels or Ryan will be the next Republican president.

Why is Newt going to waste so many millions by running?

Posted by: Patrick at May 22, 2011 9:02 PM
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