Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Republican Cowardice, Part 2

Political junkies have noted that the first official Republican primary debate (this Thursday at 9pm EST) will be lacking the top four contenders for the Republican nomination. Gingrich, Palin, Trump, and Romney are shying away from the event. This forces Reuters to label Tim Pawlenty a "top-tier candidate," clearly indicating that they've never heard him speak. Regardless, these are the Republicans who aren't too chicken to show up for a preliminary debate:
Joining Pawlenty at the debate will be Representative Ron Paul, former Senator Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain.
"Out with the old, in with the who?" indeed.

Undeclared candidate Mitch Daniels is fully candid that hiding at this point in the election cycle is a good strategy. Leadership is difficult, so why should Republican presidential candidates try their hand at it? Mitch Daniels himself is a keen Washington insider who helped President Bush turn the largest American budget surplus in history into the historic amount of debt the nation is digging itself out of. The former head of the Office of Management and Budget says he is shocked that May 4th isn't too late to start running for President, but because of the cowardice of the field, the opportunity remains for him to jump in.

All this avoidance of public scrutiny, debate moderators, and voters isn't preventing the candidats from taking cheap shots. Sarah Palin accuses President Obama of pussyfooting from her twitter hidey-hole. Palin apparently has split with her neocon advisers, who have been at her side since she was a vice-presidential candidate. Arguably, this is a good move, as McCain's foreign policy stance included that he would not launch the type of raid that President Obama ordered in Pakistan. So maybe Palin has learned something in the last three years.

All in all, it's been a bad week for Republican candidates. Donald Trump was mocked for nearly a quarter of an hour (if you include all the birther jokes) at the White Hosue Correspondents' Association Dinner, all the while the President had just ordered the killing of Bin Laden. Palin is projecting her "pussyfooting" onto the President, showing some serious psychological strain. Romney and Gingrich have attracted maybe a dozen headlines put together in the last week. Maybe they should follow in former Florida Governor Charlie Crist's footsteps and get a real job.

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