Is there a winner among (what’s left of) the GOP field?

Herman Cain jumped in, at an Atlanta rally attended by thousands at “high noon.” Mitch Daniels slunk out, via an email to supporters sent in the middle of the night. Another weekend, another news cycle so full of Republican presidential politics you’d think it was spring 2012, not spring 2011. Where does it all leave us?

Cain’s decision was hardly a secret, so let’s focus on Daniels. The Indiana governor was seen as a top choice for fiscal conservatives but potentially vexing for social conservatives. He talked for months as if he didn’t want to run, but no one seemed to believe him — or maybe they just didn’t want to believe him — until his midnight email Saturday. Compared to, say, Donald Trump, Daniels’ declining to run feels like a real loss. (OK, compared to Trump, Charlie Sheen’s declining to run would feel like a real loss.)

So we can now add Daniels to a long and distinguished list of Republican governors or ex-governors who say they’re not running for president next year: Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, Florida’s Jeb Bush, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Texas’ Rick Perry. That’s seven men who have won a total of 12 gubernatorial elections and racked up a host of policy achievements — but who insist they have no interest in running for president.

What do you think of the GOP presidential field?

  • Beat Obama? Please. (156 Votes)
  • There's a winner in there. (120 Votes)
  • I can imagine a Republican beating President Obama, but not one of these guys. (120 Votes)

Total Voters: 396

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Next to them, the govs and ex-govs who say they are running or are still exploring a run — Utah’s Jon Huntsman, New Mexico’s Gary Johnson, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty and Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney — comprise a lesser list. I don’t think the comparison improves very much if you add Alaska’s Sarah Palin to the mix.

Of course, it only takes one — and there are non-governors in the running as well: Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum. Your question this Monday morning: Does the current field have a winner in it? Answer in the poll to the left and in the comments thread.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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162 comments Add your comment

Dave R.

May 23rd, 2011
6:07 am

Look, I’m obviously biased towards Herman Cain, but what this current crop of contenders lacks is someone who can fire up the electorate.

Except for Herman Cain.

Oratory is what gets people excited to vote for them, as long as the policies are in place to make that person initially palatable. Do you think our current Disaster-in-Chief would ever have been elected on such a thin resume if he hadn’t had the ability to connect to an audience through speeches? Never in a million years.

LISTEN to HOW these contenders speak, as well as what they say.

Herman Cain blows them all out of the room. And when you have a leadership vacuum as we do now, oratory AND policy just might be enough to dislodge that disaster next year.

DeborahinAthens

May 23rd, 2011
6:47 am

When the Republicans remember that there used to be millions in the Republican party that are fiscal conservatives but are not religious wing-nuts, they might just wake up from this tea-party induced nightmare. I believe in a woman’s right to chose what to do with her body. I do not believe creationism should be taught in school. I think the carnival with Terry Schiavo was appalling. All of these things reflect philosophical beliefs that have no place in the political discourse. I HAVE read the Constitution and Bill of Rights many times as most of these ding-bats haven’t–though they throw the Constitution around, quoting bits a pieces (like they do the Bible) to support their insupportable arguments. The final nail in Christine O’Donnell’s coffin was when, during a debate, she disagreed about one of the basic tenets of the Constitution and her opponent quoted the REAL verbiage, line by line, and the dim-wit said, “…really? It says that really” (or words to that effect). The shrill voice of the conservative, religious right have hi-jacked my Republican party, and it makes me sick to my stomach. The fact that anyone would listen to the the garbage that comes out of the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Mike Huckabee makes me very frightened for my country. When we see Mitch Romney flipping on his more centrist ideas because he’s afraid of these people, it makes me very frightened for my country. When we really accept as fact that these people are okay to hold the highest office in the US because they might be able to circumvent our rights as American citizens, it frightens me. When I hear a “Libertarian” (LOL) like Boortz supporting a hypocritical piece of garbage like Newt Gingrich who “found Jesus” in time to run for election, it frightens me. Bottom line, until I can see and hear a Republican that is not hell-bent on a social/religious engineering program, I will vote for a Democrat.

arnold

May 23rd, 2011
6:49 am

No qualified Republican of substance is willing to waste money, time and energy in a losing run for president of anything. The good ones didn’t get where they are by being foolish.

Joel Edge

May 23rd, 2011
7:04 am

Ron Paul or Herman Cain. If you’ll notice, Kyle, most of these old line Republican’s aren’t getting a lot of traction. I guess a result of the Tea Party. Haley Barbour is the only loss. Of course, there’s not a chance for a Republican from the Old South this election. The media attacks for that just write themselves.

another view

May 23rd, 2011
7:32 am

Bravo, @Deborahinathens. If Cain is the best the Repubs (NOT to be confused with anything even remotely resembling conservative) can do, the Dems don’t have much to worry about. Some big things about the Obama admin I’m not please with, not the least being what essentially is a continuation of the disastrous Bush education policy, but for the most part, having someone seemingly honest, hard-working, and especially with an IQ over 100 is a stunning contrast to the lazy halfwit Rove/Cheney puppet at the top of the last administration. If we have an electorate so stupid and ill-educated to elect one of what’s in the repub field now, the education system indeed has failed and this country deserves to fall to ruin.

ByteMe

May 23rd, 2011
7:35 am

Pawlenty announced yesterday. He’s in.

I don’t think the comparison improves very much if you add Alaska’s Sarah Palin to the mix.

Best sarcasm of the day! LOL!!!

ByteMe

May 23rd, 2011
7:48 am

LISTEN to HOW these contenders speak, as well as what they say.

See and here I spend my time not listening to what they say or how, but instead trying to figure out how they might govern when given the most powerful job in the world.

So far on the GOP side, we have:

1. A Mormon successful businessman and Northeastern politician with an inability to personally connect with the average person and past positions that are at odds with his current positions.
2. A Black successful businessman with a long history of making stupid statements on the radio that only the crazy will love.
3. A bland, moderately successful politician who has to create superhero videos of himself to seem interesting.
4. An old, fat, twice-divorced southern white guy with a history of verbal bomb-throwing and an inability to control his appetites.
5. (Testing the waters now) A successful politician and businessman (and another Mormon) who spent the past couple of years working in the Obama Administration but with no obvious political base.

No obvious winner in the bunch at this point. 1 and 5 have the gravitas to handle the rigors of the campaign trail and the White House, but no obvious appeal to GOP primary voters.

stands for decibels

May 23rd, 2011
8:02 am

Compared to, say, Donald Trump, Daniels’ declining to run feels like a real loss. (OK, compared to Trump, Charlie Sheen’s declining to run would feel like a real loss.)

heh. good ‘un.

stands for decibels

May 23rd, 2011
8:15 am

Does the current field have a winner in it?

Sure. While I support Obama’s re-election, I don’t doubt that the GOP presidential aspirants with gubernatorial experience (Pawlenty, Johnson, Romney or Huntsman) could be credible challengers. Should the economy turn south again, or some no-win foreign policy nightmare erupt, between now and Nov 2012, of course one of these men could snag >269 EVs.

(As things stand now, though? na gone duit.)

Whacks Eloquent

May 23rd, 2011
8:18 am

Go away, Newt! Seriously, I have not heard a more pompous, self-righteous candidate in a long time. Granted, he is smart, and would make an excellent adviser, but he just isn’t likable enough to win.

Meanwhile, my candidate Herman Cain does not shy from admitting he does not know all the answers, such as yesterday’s question from Chris Wallace on the Palestinian “right of return” hot potato. But I commend Herman, who went home, researched it, and put out this statement:

“I have long been a vocal and unwavering supporter of our friend and ally, Israel. All Israeli governments have rejected the ‘right’ of large numbers of Arabs of Palestinians to return to what is now the state of Israel. Such an en masse return would unbalance Israel’s demographic makeup as the world’s sole Jewish state…In this light, should the ‘right of return’ be negotiated, as I said, if that is a decision that Israel wants to make? Certainly, and to reiterate, it’s Israel’s call.”

Why do we feel we need to elect a Know-It-All each time to the White House? I almost find it more refreshing to have a candidate that admits he does not know everything, but then goes and consults and comes back with an intelligent response. As opposed to most candidates, who would instead just have BS’d something that made them sound like they were just smarter than everyone else.

Go Herman!

Mr. Holmes

May 23rd, 2011
8:31 am

Does the current field have a winner in it?

No.

Tyler Durden

May 23rd, 2011
8:32 am

Doesn’t matter who enters this race. As long as the Tea Party and other fringe influences are calling the shots, there’s no way for the GOP to win. And that will give Obama another four years to get America back on track.

Have a great day :-)

Scooter (The Original)

May 23rd, 2011
8:34 am

Perhaps when Cain’s history is consistently focused on by the “media” people will be forced to realize how much was overlooked to get The Obama elected. Then Cain will be able to articulate how The Obama’s “hope and change” is raising all prices and decreasing the value of the middle class’s dollars.

Aquagirl

May 23rd, 2011
8:42 am

DeborahinAthens, you said it all. The nutcases have seized control of the Republican Primaries and nobody’s getting through unless they kowtow sufficiently to these wackos. Watch Jon Huntsman get ripped because he thinks science should—get this—be left to scientists! What a radical!

Mainstream Republicans display operant conditioning that would make Pavlov proud—that’s how we end up with guys like G.W. Bush. Lemmings streamed to the polls to vote for G.W. Bush because that (R) surely means you’re for limited government and fiscal responsibility. And frankly, they just didn’t give a damn about the little hate groups getting their pound of flesh, as long as they weren’t the target.

JDW

May 23rd, 2011
8:44 am

Bunch of losers so far…looks like another election cycle without a credible candidate from the Republicans. By my score sheet the last decent candidate the party produced was Bush 1. That’s 20+ years of futility including 8 years of downright negligence.

MrLiberty

May 23rd, 2011
8:52 am

Ron Paul of course. He will likely be the only candidate committed to ending these pointless foreign wars and bringing the troops home to defend america, the only candidate who has been speaking out and warning about the Federal Reserve and the destuction its monetary policy has now caused, the only candidate correctly looking to end the federal war on drugs, and the only candidate actually committed to restoring civil liberties in this country. His appeal covers the entire spectrum of political thought and should be exactly the right stands to appeal to Obama voters who now realize that he does not care about ending the wars or about civil liberties.

Ron Paul 2012. End the Fed.

Bernard Webb

May 23rd, 2011
8:54 am

Has anyone caught up with long-shot republican candidate Gary Johnson? He was on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” this weekend and came across as witty, personable, and intelligent. Wait, what am I saying? Nobody like that could possibly win the republican nomination!

independent thinker

May 23rd, 2011
9:00 am

Ron Paul is too old but qualified, Newt is a gasbag has been hypocrite who does not know what he is saying half the time, Palin is a ultra right wing dimwit with no political history of consequence but has accumulated a lot of money for her extensive wardrobe while pandering for money like a grifter, Bachman is nuts, Romney is qualified but can’t cover up his past in Massachussets and other flip flops, Cain talks a great talk but very little of it is of substance since his career is defined by running a pizza operation, So who else wants to jump in the clown car???

Fletch

May 23rd, 2011
9:02 am

Maybe they got a reality check and decided that it’s easier to shout from the wings than to take the lead.

Bart Abel

May 23rd, 2011
9:11 am

Attended by thousands? Where did the AJC get that number? From the Herman Cain people?

Jay Bookman was there, and he estimated that about 1,200 people were there. I’ve listened to Herman Cain on the radio, and based on what I’ve heard, I trust Bookman a whole lot more than I trust Cain.

HDB

May 23rd, 2011
9:14 am

The field from the GOP reminds me of a bowl of granola: What ain’t fruit or nuts is flakes!!

reebok

May 23rd, 2011
9:14 am

Any Republican who wants a legitimate shot at being President one day needs to find an excuse not to run this cycle…getting crushed in the general election by Obama will be crippling for future aspirations. But in 2016, the field will be wide-open and the Dems don’t seem to have anybody on deck…that will be a great opportunity for Romney, Daniels or Huntsman to beat a weak Den nominee. IMHO, of course…

Whacks Eloquent

May 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

Bart, the Atlanta police, whom are not for nor against Cain, estimated about 10,000. Herman’s camp says 15,000. That may be including people who RSVP’d but did not show up…

MrLiberty

May 23rd, 2011
9:24 am

Cain is a former director of the Federal Reserve. Given the destruction that criminal organization has already caused, we certainly cannot afford another insider in the White House. Cain deserves to be dropped by the electorate for that reason alone.

Light on Policy

May 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

Will the last GOP candidate please turn our the lights.

As in sports, in order to have a chance to beat your opponent, you have to acknowledge their strength and respect them, a little momentum doesn’t hurt either. None of the GOP candidates, out of willful ignorance, have any of these elements. Their best hope is to maintain control of the House and pick up a couple of seats in the Senate.

Whacks Eloquent

May 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

his stint with the Federal Reserve (of Kansas City, not overall) was many years ago, I don’t think you can lay any of the current crisis on him.

toe nail

May 23rd, 2011
9:29 am

I concur with deborahinathens 100%.

jm

May 23rd, 2011
9:29 am

Huntsman and Romney are very good candidates….

Thomas

May 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

The Tea Party wackos have probably spooked some legitimate candidates out of the race.

Bart Abel

May 23rd, 2011
9:33 am

Here’s what the AJC reported: “Cain, speaking before an estimated 10,000 supporters in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, was clear on the goals for his campaign.”

The photo only shows a small slice of the crowd. The AJC article doesn’t tell us who provided this estimate. Also recall that until recently, Cain was employed by the AJC’s sister Cox Enterprises company, WSB Radio. (This one example of why various local media outlets should not be owned by the same company.)

Folks, there’s reason to believe that this “10,000 supporters” number is a con. Again, it appears that the AJC is reporting an exaggerated estimate provided by Herman Cain’s people.

Why is this important? First know that this is what Fox News and other media outlets have been doing for years…significantly overestimating Tea Party crowds at rallies. They’ve even been caught using footage of crowds from a progressive rallies to make viewers believe that it was the same crowd at a particular Tea Party rally. Some members of the media engage in such scams specifically to drum up support that isn’t already there.

When the AJC reports that 10,000 people attended a rally that was only attended by 1,200, without independent verification, then this is an example of the media wading into and promoting an agenda, not reporting on one.

If somebody can provide independent verification of the crowd size, then I’ll happily admit that I’m wrong. Until then, I’m going with Bookman’s estimate.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2011/05/21/herman-cain-about-to-make-it-official/

Bart Abel

May 23rd, 2011
9:37 am

Please give me a link, Whacks Eloquent. Because I can’t find an article that says this was an Atlanta Police estimate.

Robert

May 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

What goes around comes around – It’s time for the GOP to show real courage in the face of homegrown terrorism displayed by the “tea party” whose weapons of choice are hatred, fear and rage/mob mentality against minorities, women, gays & lesbians and Muslims and Jews. The whole world saw their hatred and bigotry on display during the 2010 midterm elections and heard their call to battle (take back my country) as well as saw the majority of White Americans (poor, uneducated, disenfranshised) vote for the entire GOP ticket regardless of the candidates experience. The American People have never seen organized terrorism at the ballot box and I hope we never will again. It’s time for serious GOP candidates to choose sides. Are the GOP candidates representing the American People or the homegrown terrorist group(s) know as the “tea party” (klansmen, skinheads, birthers, etc.)? Can Herman Cain, Romney, etc. show great courage in the face of homegrown terrorism and be the GOP nominee for President of the USA. It is time for the GOP to clean-up this “tea party” mess.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

May 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

I would like to know more about Huntsman. No one thought George I could be beat but a weak person like Bill Clinton did, There is still little or no difference between the parties both are owned by the lobbyist.

Light on policy

May 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

turn “off” the lights…swype isn’t working to well today

JustMe

May 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

It seems to me the most popular ones here among hard core Republicans are Cain and Paul, neither one of which would stand a snowball’s chance in hell in a general election, so in other words if that’s the route the GOP chooses to go then they’re only screwing themselves. Personally I like Huntsman and Pawlenty. Romney strikes me as too much of a flip flopper and thus far I don’t know enough about Johnson, but if the GOP wants to win they need to nominate (whether they like it or not) a moderate to conservative Governor, because if they nominate anyone too far to the right the Independents will never vote for someone like that and thus they will lose the election.

Light on Policy

May 23rd, 2011
9:42 am

Enter your comments here

Lynn43

May 23rd, 2011
9:43 am

The GOP needs a candidate with an open mind-not an open mouth. HDB, great comparison.

Whacks Eloquent

May 23rd, 2011
9:48 am

Bart,

Herman’s campaign was claiming 15000, so the estimate was not from them. It was either the police (as I heard on radio, have no link) or the AJC reporters that estimated the more conservative 10000, which I trust more than a political estimate on either end.

Jack

May 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

The radical right wing base of the republican primary has successfully run off another candidate who could have appealed to the swing voters who will elect our next President.

Although impossible to believe six weeks ago, the republican party is moving toward losing next year’s presidential election.

Of those remaining who can appeal to the swing voter, I see only Governor Romney, a successful businessman who will be focused on the business of running the country rather than playing around with namby pamby non-issues like gay marriage. Governor Romney can win the general election but is unlikely to survive the radical right wingers who will control the primaries.

If no one else were to enter the republican nomination race, I would hold my nose and vote for Governor Pawlenty, not exactly someone who inspires the masses.

I am afraid when this presidential election is over, the Tea Party types will have given the election to President Obama but can find some solice in the “purity” of their choice for the Republican nominee.

As someone who almost always has voting republican, I am getting tired of my political party being taken over by this group.

Kyle Wingfield

May 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

Bart: The AP described the crowd as “thousands” as well.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110521/ap_on_el_ge/us_cain2012

If you’ve ever tried to do it, then you know how daunting a task it is to estimate crowds. I typically go with the police estimate, even if I’m still a little skeptical, just because they have more practice at it.

Jack

May 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

If Cain is the contender and Obama is his opponent, Cain’s the better choice.

Bart Abel

May 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

Thanks Kyle. Unfortunately, the AP article doesn’t source their figure or supply a picture of the crowd either. Incidentally, what does “thousands” mean? It could be rounded up from 1500 or it could me 10,000.

Again, I’d gladly accept an estimate from the Atlanta Police. I just can’t find one online. Until then, the only reliable source I’ve seen is Jay Bookman, who was actually there.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 23rd, 2011
10:06 am

While I am a Cain supporter, almost any republican look like a potential winner to me. I don’t think the arithmetic is there – either electoral or economic – for Chauncey, so whoever is left standing among the repubs is likely to win.

Rick Patel

May 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

Chic, charming, courageous Gov. Sarah Palin is & ever shall be the winner. None of the bland, banal RINOblicans can run with her. She moves too fast.

BULLSEYE

May 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

What happens if the Repulicans win and then they all get Raptured?

Dr. Pangloss

May 23rd, 2011
10:12 am

Even a Fox News poll shows Obama beating the prune juice out of Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Bush or Palin.

http://race42012.com/?p=32062

Toe Maine

May 23rd, 2011
10:14 am

I bet if Boortz ran there would be 10,000. However, it would be filled with those who oppose his hateful lies. If he can’t stack the deck with supporters, he hides his fat face behind a mike.

buck@gon

May 23rd, 2011
10:14 am

5 AM posting ???!!!

Geez Kyle, either you’re a horrible insomniac or you’re making us all look bad!

You might tell your boss, Ms. Tucker, that working and writing well are all good for the soul. You might also mention ask her if she herself has ever heard of “harsh criticism among ultra-liberal purists,” or if such things do not exist at all, please mention that most of her commentary is horribly out of balance.

Regarding your article…. are you a closet left-winger, Kyle?

It’s just too early for conservative navel-gazing right now. No primary events have yet taken place, except the informal stuff. Caucusses and primaries are at least seven months away. That’s when the deciding will begin.

Don’t forget, we have Jimmy Carter to thank for the seemingly never-ending presidential campaign cycle. That means of course, that it’s probably not a good idea to worry about who said what to whom in podunk, South Carolina, about who’s first in polls in Jack Daniels, Tennessee.

The thing to look at is the generic ballot and the performance of one Barack Hussein Obama. I think Prez O loses to almost anyone he comes up against, and despite the fact that he personally shot Osama, I think every day, more eyes are opening to the fact that he is uh…”ruling” without any clothes on.

Whacks Eloquent

May 23rd, 2011
10:14 am

Bart, it does not matter anyway, we know where your vote is going. Those of us on the conservative side are quite energized by him, and either way he drew a lot more people than the Thrashers!

Alan

May 23rd, 2011
10:16 am

Raghead, put down your crack pipe. The GOP has no chance in hell in 2012.