Sunday, October 9, 2011

Power! The Players

Electing an American president is a long process. And, it seems to get longer with each new cycle. For the months to come we will be inundated with political coverage much of it dull and predictable. We at TPF have decided to cover the race to the White House with a little twist. After all, we can’t move up election day. So let’s have fun, fun, fun. As we looked at the events unfolding over the summer, we realized that political campaigns are just like TV Dramas. The twist and turns reminded us of the 80s great nighttime soap operas of Dallas and Dynasty. We looked at the candidates and other players in this year’s election and the comparisons to great soap operas character are inescapable. We think you will agree.

Barack “POTUS” Obama – The incumbent. Everyone is seeking his job. Three years ago he was elected on the promise of “hope and change” for the better. Well, at least that's what the people thought they were voting for. Unfortunately, being POTUS is a lot tougher than it appears. Confident that his stimulus bill would lower unemployment, Obama spent his first year in office pushing Obamacare through Congress. Big mistake. Not only was Obamacare unpopular but the economy continued to falter. Despite his job approval dipping below the magical 50%, Obama has managed to avoid a primary challenge. He also has managed to avoid having to face tough opponents like Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie.

Michele “Alexis” Bachmann – Currently a Congresswoman from Minnesota's 6th District. Mother of five and former foster parent. A self proclaimed history buff. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a very good memory and has made several historical gaffes. Over the summer, Bachmann was considered a top tier candidate. She pushed Tim Pawlenty out of the race by winning the Ames Straw Poll. Ever since that day, she has been sliding in the polls. Some blamed Rick "JR" Perry entering the race for her falling numbers. But recently, Perry's numbers have tumbled but Bachmann has not benefited. Maybe the PTA mom may be a too much of a diva to win the nomination.

Herman “Godfather” Cain – The anti-Obama and former CEO of Godfather’s pizza. Perhaps the best speaker on the Republican side, he made a strong impression during the first Republican presidential debate only to stumble on Fox New Sunday when asked about the Palestinian right of return. After languishing in the polls over the summer, Cain has bounced back benefiting from Perry's poll implosion. Will his 9-9-9 plan carry him all the way to the White House?

Newt “The Contract” Gingrich – The ideas man. Former Speaker of the House and mastermind behind the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. No question he can do the job but has lots of personal baggage. After laying the groundwork for a presidential run for years, Gingrich had the worst campaign launch in recent memory. Within days of announcing his candidacy, he angered Republicans by attacking the Ryan Plan as "right-wing social engineering". But strong debate performances have won him a second look and he has been steadily climbing in recent polls. 

Jon “Blake” Huntsman – Just back from China where he served as Obama’s ambassador. Former two term governor of Utah with a strong conservative record even though he believes in evolution. He recently moved his headquarters from Florida to New Hampshire. Maybe he read about the Rudy Giuliani 2008 campaign and decided that waiting until Florida to make a stand is not a good idea.

Gary “Jock” Johnson – An athlete and former Governor of New Mexico. The only candidate to have climbed Mount Everest.  A social libertarian in a sea of social conservatives. Despite having the best job creation record of anyone running, Johnson has struggled to catch media attention. He finally got his big break and was invited to participate in the most recent Republican debate. He had the most memorable line of the night about Obama shovel ready jobs. But it turned out to be Rush Limbaugh's joke.

Father Rick Santorum – Former Senator from Pennsylvania whose real ambition is to be Pope. Unfortunately, that spot has been taken so he is running for president. Santorum has solid social conservative credentials. He is a tough debater and has taken to task Uncle Ron Paul for his cavalier attitude towards a nuclear Iran. Yet he cannot get any traction in the polls. Sometimes he polls behind RINOs. Maybe it is his Google problem is holding him back.

Uncle Ron Paul – Perennial presidential candidate. Many are unsure why is he running as a Republican. Paul has represented the Texas 14th House District since 1997. During his time in Congress he has been an avid consumer of earmarks while at the same time railing against government spending. Often the punching bag at debates for Father Santorum, Paul has mastered winning straw polls but can he win delegates?

Rick “JR” Perry – Brash, successful governor of Texas for 10 years. Perry talks tough but does have a heart. Courted by Republicans looking for an alternative to Romney, he entered the race late and quickly zoomed to the top of the polls. The election was supposed to be about jobs but other issues keep  tripping Perry's path to the nomination. Whether Gardasil, illegal immigration or a rock at a hunting camp, Perry has lost his frontrunner status as quickly as he gained it. His three debate performances were rated bad, worse and horrible by the pundits. These days when Perry's name comes up is not longer in connection with his job creation record but whether or not he still has a shot at the nomination.

Mitt “Bobby” Romney - Former venture capitalist at Bain. One term governor of Massachusetts. Savior of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He ran four years ago only to be defeated by John McCain. Despite undergoing a makeover from a social liberal to a hard core social conservative, Romney still has trouble connecting with the GOP base. Some have suggested that it is his religion. When Perry entered the race, many believed that Romney's prospects for getting the nomination were rapidly closing. However, strong debate performances kept his candidacy alive and now that Christie has decided not to run the establishment seems to be coalescing around him. But can the establishment bring the rest of the GOP base along? Romney has consistently polled in the mid-20s, can he win the general election when about 75% of his party needs to hold its nose to vote for him?

Stayed tuned.....