Both the GOP presidential nominating race — already under way — and next year’s general election are certain to mirror the near panic and almost desperation of the American people as they face one key question: Is America declining and on a track to permanent ruin?
None of today’s Republican candidates — or President Obama — ever talks about this.
But that is no surprise: the American people are always ahead of the political class.
Hanging over the American electorate is: a mood more pessimistic, fearful, worried, and furious at government, financial elites, and the media than at any time in American history.
While the tea party believes a debt-ridden federal government is to blame, others believe our system is corrupt — or a “rigged game” that favors the rich and powerful over the rest of the American people.
All of this is the context of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Now, the GOP race: how can a southern-based, heavily evangelical Christian political party nominate a northern-based Mormon?
How can a political party that abhors government-mandated healthcare plans nominate the first governor in the country to actually impose such a plan on his state?
How can a political party comprised of tea party activists nominate the one candidate who does not have a good relationship with the tea party?
And yet it is “conventional wisdom” to say that Mitt Romney is the “GOP front-runner.”
Yet each new aspirant with tea party support — beginning with Donald Trump last spring and then followed by Bachmann and Perry and now Cain — have all surged to a lead or a close second to Romney — however briefly — before self-imploding. (Cain has not deteriorated — yet.)
What does this tell us about Romney? He is resilient and tougher than he looks. But he is also a lousy political candidate because he does not connect with voters. Period.
Connecting cannot be taught. You either have it — or you don’t. And Mitt doesn’t have it.
So any votes he’s getting now are the result of the failures of his opponents. And that applies to a race versus Barack Obama next fall: Romney gets the anti-Obama voters — and there are a lot of them. It may even be enough to win.
But you can bet that Team Obama — with the complicity of his supporters in the in-the-tank-for-Obama/so-called mainstream media — will unleash eight months of merciless attacks on Romney, painting him a phony and a fraud who has taken every conceivable side of every issue (mostly true) and a brutal lay-off artist in private business at Bain Capital (also mostly true).
Look for commercials interviewing entire towns of people who lost their jobs when Romney broke up their companies and sold off its parts for huge profits — and thus “enriched” himself.
At the same time, look for the possibility that Team Obama tries to run a pseudo-in-name-only tea party candidate for president as a third option — all to siphon 5 percent or more of the vote from Romney.
That 5 percent might just be enough to tilt a few key states to Obama — and give him a victory in a how-low-can-you-go gutter campaign.
Around April or May — with a nation thoroughly sick by then of both Romney and Obama, there will be a political vacuum waiting for a third option.
If the right person indeed steps forward — a savvy anti-politician who is actually a great politician — he can actually win the presidency in this chaotic year.
A true independent who runs against the political class can address both the political and financial corruption that has brought us down.
All of this inside a nation that wants a race to determine how to reverse America’s decline.
Will the 2012 campaign mirror that decline — or be the first step in America’s resurrection?
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