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April 22, 2011

On the Supposed Weakness of the GOP Field

If you've been watching the news lately, you may have noticed a narrative building. It looks a little something like this, and this. I understand the impulse behind such opinions - historically, incumbent presidents are very difficult to defeat, and none of the announced GOP candidates has thus far had a "wow" factor. Fair enough.

There is a major difference between boring and weak. Charles Krauthammer suggests in today's column that a lack of baggage and flash may be just what we need. He then lists the major candidates and in looking over them, there emerges a trend: political experience. Business success. Briefly:

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
Tim Pawlenty, former Governor
Mitt Romney, former Governor
Rick Santorum, former Senator
Herman Cain, successful businessman
Michelle Bachmann, former state senator and member of Congress
Haley Barbour, former current Governor
Gary Johnson, former Governor

There's a considerable amount of political and business experience there. Again, not exciting, but weak? It's an assertion without evidence that's only being made to further the "no one can beat The One" narrative. In other words, utter nonsense. If I were consulting one of the candidates, I'd take this head-on in a stump speech. Something along the lines of this:

Pundits in the media and the political class in Washington are pointing to my GOP opponents and I and they're calling us a weak field of candidates...they claim that none of us have what it takes to defeat President Obama. They are trying to make this election about us, but we can't allow them to do that. This election is about a simple set of questions, ones that have been asked before: are you better off now than you were four years ago? Have you had to tighten your budget? How much does it take to fill your car with gas?

These are simple questions, and I suspect for most Americans the answers are no, yes and way more than I can afford.

This election is not about who is the flashiest candidate, or who can attract the biggest crowds or make the prettiest speeches. Are my opponents and I the most exciting people to grace the political stage? Depends on who you ask. But are we weak? No.

You know what's weak? The dollar. The housing market. The job market. Wages. Our foreign policy.

Those are weak, and the policies of the current administration is what has weakened them.

If the administration wants to have a conversation about weakness, I'm all for it because the things that are weak right now matter more to the American people than what the media and pundits are focused on. What do you think Americans care more about? A candidate who 'wows' crowds with his words, or a candidate who wants to move past words and take action that will improve the economy? As we've seen, pretty words and charisma don't create jobs, they don't make the world instantly love us and they don't lower gas prices.

And some more along those lines. This election needs to focus on one thing: Obama's record. That's it.

Don't let the media set the narrative. We don't have a weak field. We have a weak president.

Ed. Note: changed two paragraphs, included the word "Business."


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posted by Slublog at 02:47 PM

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