American Idolization of Republican Primary Process

Let the Republican Presidential contest begin!  With no formally announced candidates entered into next year’s Republican Primary, it’s interesting to calculate the odds of winning for potential entrants.  Based on both polling data and common sense, we could narrow down the field of likely winners with relative ease.  While I am no prophet nor the son of a prophet, I’ll share my thoughts on some of the more popular figures in the GOP who may run for President in 2012.  That way, you can either say “You were wrong,” or I can say, “See, I told you so.”

First, the polls.  In the latest Gallop poll , former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stands atop the list as the candidate more Republicans and/or Republican-leaning Independents prefer when asked who they would vote for in 2012.  With 19%, Huckabee leads Romney (15%), Palin (12%), Gingrich (10%), Paul (6%), and Tea Party darling, Michelle Bachmann (5%).  If Gallop asked (which they didn’t), I would have probably picked Mike Huckabee as well.  Not only does common sense tell me that he has a reasonable chance of winning, but the fact that Gov. Huckabee is also a  former Southern Baptist pastor doesn’t hurt his cause (at least with me). 

Someone from far down the pack — Pawlenty (3%) or Barbour (2%) or even the Donald (1%) — could emerge as the leading candidate, but I wouldn’t count on it.  Of course, this in only one poll in the early stages of what will undoubtedly be a very long campaign season.  Be that as it may, the Gallop poll, while not 100% accurate in predicting the future, will come much closer than some other polls , including the various “straw polls” that have already been conducted.

One such poll, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, conducted in February, saw Texas Congressman Ron Paul receive 30% of the vote, giving him his second straight CPAC straw poll victory.  To put things in perspective, former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee received 2% of the vote whereas former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson took 6% of the vote.  Even though I live in New Mexico, I would venture to say that, nationwide, only a miniscule number of Republicans have ever heard of Gary Johnson.  I’m sure he was a fine governor for the Land of Enchantment — we hit rock bottom with Bill Richardson, who is thankfully gone — but he has no chance of winning the Presidential nomination.  And, neither does Ron Paul.

That’s were good, ole’-fashioned common sense comes into play.  Barring some unforseen catastrophic event which wipes out most of the Republican field, Michele Bachman has no chance of ever being elected the Republican nominee for President in 2012 much less President of the United States of America.  However, it seems that the Republicans (and the Democrats back in 2008) have followed the formula for American Idol — just show up on stage and think that they are worthy to be there.

I used to watch the show, but ever since Simon Cowell left, I see no reason to watch.  Simon was great at what he did — he had an ear and eye for talent.  But, if he could see tat you had no business being on stage, he would let you know in no uncertain terms.  I know that the producers of American Idol would use some contestants as comic relief, but I often wondered where the friends of these woefully and obviously untalented singers were when the auditions came to town.

Where was the best friend or parent or teacher who would lovingly and honestly say, “You can’t really sing that good.  You have no business trying out for American Idol.  If you do, you will either be rejected outright or you will be “allowed” to audition in front of Randy, Simon, and Paula, but will be humiliated on national television as you are being rejected with extreme prejudice.”  Far too many of American Idol wannabes  apparently had no one who was close enough to tell them not to make a complete and total fool of themselves.

Such has become the case with the field of candidates for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.  I’m sure that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a fine representative for the people of Minnesota.  She likewise acquits herself well on various political talk shows like Hannity.  However, for Congresswoman Bachmann apparently has delusions of grandeur which have caused her to explore a Presidential run. 

Speaking to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Bachman said, “I’m in!”  Just what is she “in” for?  Bachmann clarified:

“I’m in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation in making sure that President Obama only serves one term, not two, because I want to make sure that we get someone who’s going to be making the country work again. That’s what I’m in for,”

According to the interview, Bachmann will not make an official decision on whether or not to run until June.  Is there no one close enough to Michele Bachmann to tell her that she is losing credibility?  Does she have so much money (or other people’s money) to burn that she is willing to waste a few months on an ill-fated quest for a sweepstakes prize that she will never win?  Let me help her out.  She does not have to wait until June to make that decision.    For Michele Bachmann to even flirt with the idea of running for President is ludicrous beyond belief.  It simply defies common sense.

Are there no political figures within the Republican Party that still possess some of the wonderful common sense that made Ronald Reagan such a great President?  Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty (what is it about Minnesota?) and Gary Johnson and Herman Cain??? may be fine public servants, but I do not see them sitting in the Oval Office.

It’s time for the Simon Cowell’s of the Republican Party to speak to some of the potential candidates.  This is a serious election in a time of uncertainty at home and abroad.  This is no time for comic relief on the national or world stage.  We already have a President who, if it were not so sad, is providing enough comic relief to go around.  Let the cream rise to the top, but by all means, let’s stop the American Idolization of the Republican Primary Process!

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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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12 Responses to American Idolization of Republican Primary Process

  1. K Gray says:

    Michele Bachman may know exactly what she is doing, which may include:

    – making sure “the conversation” includes Constitutionality, federalism and taxation. She has several tax degrees, also she famously asks of every proposed law, “What section of the Constitution allows us to do this?” and has begun a series of constitutional seminars for new legislators featuring U.S. Supreme Court justices.

    – or, being so right wing that it makes a Tim Pawlenty look almost centrist.

    – or, forcing the more viable candidates to address Tea Party voters’ issues.

    – or, drawing fire away from a possible Palin candidacy (if there is one person who may be more mocked than Ms. Palin, it is Rep. Bachmann).

    – or, gaining campaign experience for a future run. She’s relatively young.

  2. K Gray says:

    Or, trying to get a third national party — the Tea Party — off the ground by being its presidential candidate (she is founder of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, I think).

    The thing is, any of this is pretty easy as long as people dismiss her, or the Tea Party, out of hand.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Karen,

      I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss Michele Bachman out of hand. However, I just do not see her as Presidential timber. She may be flirting with the idea of running for any of the number of reasons you shared in your other comment. I am not a “Tea Partier” per se, but I do think that the Tea Party movement has had an overall positive effect on the electoral process. That was most evident last November. That being said, I think it would be disastrous for the Tea Party to form its own political party. Even if they were to run the strongest candidate imaginable, they would open the door to an easy Obama re-election.

      I suppose it all comes down to electability vs. purity, although the two are not always mutually exclusive. If I were still a resident of Florida, I would have supported Marco Rubio in the primary. However, if I were a resident of Delaware, I would have voted for Mike Castle. I would have preferred to have Sen. Castle to Sen. Coons. Christine O’Donnell never had a shot. That’s were I see a Michele Bachman — a fine, conservative Congresswoman, but probably not much higher. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are doing well. God bless,

      Howell

  3. Bennett Willis says:

    Virginia Commonwealth University said to tell you hello. 🙂 So did Kansas. :))

    I ran into (walked past, actually) Dr. Paul (I live in LJ, Texas) a few weeks ago. He went past without speaking or even nodding–a very non-Texan thing to do when you are going down a sidewalk in a parkway. I guess it is political something or other. Some people probably want to “bend his ear” about stuff if he acknowledges them.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Bennett,

      I didn’t pick very well this year, but I did pick well enough to come in second in our office tournament. I had VCU in the first round and should have just stuck with them. O, well. Dr. Paul’s snubbing you could have been because he didn’t want people to “bend his ear” or it could be because he isn’t overly friendly. I don’t know him, but from what I have seen on television, he strikes me as a bit off. That’s one reason — among many — that he really has no shot among real Republican voters come election day. He may do well in straw polls, but when the real polling begins, he will not even be close. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. God bless,

      Howell

  4. Stephen Fox says:

    Howell:

    Here is the heart of the matter. I hope you and Dave Miller and the folks at SBCimpact will give it thorough exploration as I have already brought it up at baptistlife.com
    I think we have legitimate reason to ask Frank Page to address the matter squarely as he is hardwired to Jim DeMint through a Advocacy organization from his pastorate at FBC Taylors, S.C.
    So it goes to the heart of the SBC in the Public square these days:
    Looking forward to your response to this article:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/4407/original_spin:_progressives_dismiss_conservative_theology_at_their_peril/

    • Howell Scott says:

      Stephen,

      Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the link. An interesting take on this. I did not realize Eisenhower’s background and view of life. From a cultural/political/theological perspective, there is certainly some truth to what Ike saw in his day and what Jim DeMint sees today. The one big difference may be that Conservative Evangelicals are a much more powerful and vocal force in the political process than they were 50 years ago. I think that DeMint and others (Palin, Gingrich and, to a certain extent, Romney) come close to mixing theology with politics. For may taste, even as a conservative, I am apprehensive about politicians who cloak their politics in religious language. I’m even more concerned about churchs (liberal and conservative) who have traded the power of the Gospel for a bowl of political stew. If we are to see lives transformed, it will be through the church house, not the White House or Congress. Thanks again for the dialogue. God bless,

      Howell

  5. Jim Champion says:

    Howell

    Enjoy your posts. My current fav is Daniels. He has done a great job in Indy. Smart guy, can connect with the redneck (rides that Harley). Brings that elusive gravitas to the conversation.

    He is not a culture warrior, and may rub into early primary problems with the red meat brigade

    • Howell Scott says:

      Jim,

      Thanks for reading. I don’t know much about Daniels. If he can straddle that fine line somewhere between populist and all-out conservative (sort of like Huckabee), then I think he may have a shot. I think we have way too many “culture warriors” (both in politics and the SBC). He might be able to appeal to the average conservative who is not part of the red meat brigade. I think there maybe more of us than people think. Hope you have a great day. God bless,

      Howell

  6. Milton Robins says:

    “I’m in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation in making sure that President Obama only serves one term, not two, because I want to make sure that we get someone who’s going to be making the country work again. That’s what I’m in for,”

    This comment absolutely typifies why I believe the congresswoman wouldn’t make a good candidate for president. It’s troubling to me (and in some ways inexplicable) that an elected official would make it her aim to ensure that a U.S. president only serve one term.

    You will recall that Tip O’Neill disagreed sharply with President Reagan, yet they both left Washington with high approval ratings. Which brings me to my next point, pastor: Reagan’s success was probably related more to his pragmatism, I think, than his common sense. No doubt, the Gipper exhibited impeccable common sense, but more importantly, I think it was his belief in getting things done and his steadfast commitment to making government work that made him one of the most consequential U.S. presidents in history.

    Making government work… That is something Michele Bachmann and all GOP candidates for that matter, can get ‘in’ on.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Milton,

      I simply do not understand the appeal of Congresswoman Bachmann. I’m sure she represents her district well, but her Presidential aspirations are pure fantasy. As to President Reagan, do you think that it was his common sense that led him to be pragmatic (within bounds)? It seems that far too many in Congress do not possess enough common sense to even begin to be pragmatic. That maybe the result of so many of them never working a “real” job before entering Congress. Look forward to your thoughts on that. Have a great day! God bless,

      Howell

  7. Stephen Fox says:

    I have two great links up in my post today in the SBC Trends of http://www.baptistlife.com/forums , the discussion on Eisenhower or Jim Demint Republicans; Which way Frank Page.
    Robert Parham of ethicsdaily.com takes Presbyterian Haley Barbour to task; and I have another link to Suzi Parker’s Tale of Two Souths, Huckabee and Barbour.
    For me in the Baptist frame, the legacy of Karl Rove and Richard Land; the story centers on Peace Committee’s Charles Pickering and his Alliance Defense Fund in distinction to the Baptist Joint Committee.

    That church state Baptist distinctive, now a faultline is where the Baptist story enters this years election cycle, as I tried to explain in my response to the RD.org article linked above.

    I Hope Howell Scott comes back to the RD.org article and Allied Defense Fund routinely here at his blog as this election evolves.

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