Saturday, April 16, 2011

Race for the White House 2012

With Tax Day this coming Monday, much political attention this past week has been given to economic issues. Over this weekend, a variety of semi-announced and potential Republican Presidential candidates have appeared before Tea Party gatherings in various parts of the country, trying to garner attention on taxing and spending matters.

The House of Representatives on Friday passed the budget written by Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Some conservatives are now actively pining for the still very young Ryan to be a 2012 Presidential candidate, much in the way that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been getting a lot of the same kind of attention the past few months, despite his insistence that he will not run for the Oval Office. The Obama vs. Ryan narrative on Capitol Hill though could continue to play out for some time over the next several months.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum now has a formal Exploratory Committee for the White House and says he will run if he can raise the money. At one point in time, considering his past political success in his home district and state, Santorum looked like a very promising one-day Presidential candidate. However, his 2006 reelection defeat, which was by a significant margin, makes him likely to be merely one of the GOP also rans. Interestingly enough, a Democrat poll has him virtually tied with Barack Obama in his important home state, the same state where he most recently lost overwhelmingly in a Senate race.

The potential Presidential candidate who continued to garner the most attention this week continued to be Donald Trump. More and more pundits are starting to believe he is serious about challenging Obama, a man he once heartily praised, as a Republican. It could indeed be that Trump is starting to believe his own hype about becoming President, but I still think he will not run, and this will all fizzle out sometime soon after the season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice."

The Donald though seems to have made his presence known in polls, as he is riding the "birther" issue in a way that no "serious" Republican politician would have ever done. Trump even made some noise about how if he does not capture the GOP nomination, he will run for President in the general election as an Independent. Statements like that have some Republicans paranoid, and while it may never be provable, I would totally not rule out a conspiracy theory that has Trump in cahoots with Democrats, trying to muck up the GOP nomination process and perhaps steal votes away from the eventual Republican nominee.

Ultimately, I do not think he will run, but if he does actually fill out the paperwork and financial disclosures and begins to actually campaign as a first time candidate for office, once the novelty would wear off, I think Trump would wilt under the pressure of a campaign more spectacularly than just about any candidate for any office in American history.

As for the man who currently occupies the Oval Office (and a fellow Bulls fan), he attended a big reelection fundraiser in Chicago this week, but also made news for some off the cuff comments that were caught on open microphones, which did not exactly make him sound like a figure "above politics." He gave a highly partisan speech about his budget plan this week, in which Vice President Joe Biden napped through, and was quoted as saying some other interesting things.

For one thing, Obama said that he was disappointed about how being President did not involve a "really cool phone." He also lamented the lack of anonymity that comes along with his job title. Other Presidents have said similar things before, but Obama seemed to take it to a whole new level, speaking almost wistfully about a life that would have him forgoing shaving on Saturdays, and going to the supermarket to squeeze fruit. Perhaps luckily for the over-burdened President, there are about a dozen Republicans who want to make Obama's wishes a reality come 2013.

Speaking of which, this was a very politically exciting and optimistic time for me personally. This past Monday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney opened his Presidential Exploratory Committee. With each passing day, I believe even more that Governor Romney far embodies the best hope for the GOP in nominating a candidate who can win the White House, and then deliver as President.

Believe in America. It's only 570 days away.