While the US Women's soccer team (our Secretary of State is a big fan, as we can see here) went to the World Cup finals against Japan and the last Harry Potter movie demolished the box office record for an opening weekend, three quiet news accounts about new candidates for the White House filtered through the press. es, World Cup soccer is more exciting (at least at the finals level--penalty kicks! accusations of faking injuries!), but there are interesting aspects to these three candidates, I swear. What were the political rumbles about? Read on!
Texas Governor Rick Perry has all but announced he'll be running for President. This weekend the quote was, "I'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do. This is what America needs."
GOP enthusiasts love to see governors (current or former) make a run for the chief executive's office because they have a much more successful history of winning. Individuals with gubernatorial experience also have an easier time supporting their case for president, because they've already worked in the executive branch of a state and had to negotiate with legislators and justices.
As for Governor Perry, party insiders have been asking him to run for many months because he covers most of the Republican electorate's wish list: he's from a Southern state (the largest in the union, and one with an international border), a self-identified Christian, pro-death penalty, anti-abortion, anti-tax, and, for people who still long for the Bush era, George's successor in the governor's chair. All of the weaknesses attributed to the other GOP hopefuls—Romney's Mormonism, Cain's lack of governing experience, Bachmann's dearth of experience across many issues, including foreign policy, Pawlenty's too-niceness, Gingrich's divorces and tendency toward getting nasty, and Santorum's um, santorum problem—Perry has none of these. Whereas many of these candidates have been struggling with raising funds (even Romney, one of the frontrunners), Perry has Big Oil money, Koch Brothers interest, and a veritable line of funders ready to put money into his coffers.
There's just one thing: Sarah Palin may be running, too—as an independent, not under the auspices of the Republican Party. What could be more maverick-y, anyway? While Ms. Bachmann's polling numbers climb past Ms. Palin's popularity, it's starting to look like Sarah will make an announcement either way very soon. What would a third candidacy look like? It could be the groundwork for another profitable book, or free her from the derisive muttering from GOP insiders that hounded her during the 2008 election, and probably leak enough votes from the eventual GOP nominee to ensure a reelection for Mr. Obama. It could even cause some controversy among GOP convention delegates who want to cast their votes for her instead of who the party has backed.
The last bit of quiet news to eke onto the scene this weekend was Buddy Roemer getting ready to announce his candidacy this Thursday. What, people don't know who he is? Well, he was the governor of Louisiana. And his campaign message about why he's running was just heart-rending: "We're ready to move forward."
Really? That's it? Nothing about the grave need among Americans for a better future? Or getting us on the right track? Or curing the ills in our society? Perhaps the rhetoric is being saved, like gold after the Armageddon, for Thursday's press conference.
He is good at spin, really. Having raised just $41,000 for his election, Roemer said that this was a "good" sign, because he refuses to take any PAC money and is keeping his donations to $100 or less. Let the conversations about McCain-Feingold election reform blossom again on Capitol Hill. Or not. But as a former Louisiana governor who hasn't ever been indicted, he's got integrity on his side. He did lose in a past election to David Duke, who by the way, has announced his own bid for the presidency.
By this summer's end, we should have a much lighter GOP field.