And They’re Off!

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In my recent column 15 More Minutes, I noted that I possess moderate-to-grave concerns about Donald Trump’s potential Presidential candidacy. I offered my take on “The Donald” for “The White House.” And I got “flamed” like a 5-cent steak on a napalm-fueled grill. But I have to live by the old sage: “If you can’t stand the heat, don’t get sideways with the readers of the Personal Liberty Digest™.” While I’m not a dedicated fan of Trump 2012, I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Almost Anyone Who Lacks An Actual Felony Record 2012. In addition to my remarks about The Donald’s political aspirations, I also suggested:

“Closer to November 2012, I’ll share my thoughts on my choice for President.”

Although I meant sometime IN 2012, I suppose it’s fair for me to offer a few thoughts on the field. President Barack Obama has already announced his intention to run for another four years.

With the upcoming Presidential race attracting candidates like the proverbial moths to the flame, there’s no shortage of material to examine. This early in the season, the field is as crowded as the first round of the NHL playoffs.

So, once more unto the breach goeth I, in a manner of speaking.

Donald Trump: I’m nothing if not persistent. I still don’t take him or his candidacy seriously.  Even if his purported search for Obama’s birth certificate weren’t just the latest in the long line of publicity stunts which have defined most of The Donald’s public life over the past three decades or so, I still don’t take his candidacy seriously. I’m still unclear as to whether his candidacy is any more real than that thing on top of his head. Trump is also a bit of a political chameleon, and we should all be concerned about his actual policies. On the plus side, the French wouldn’t have the hottest first lady anymore. Maybe the GOP could placate Trump with a new cabinet-level position: Secretary of Hot Blondes. Although Trump should be advised: I’m submitting my resume, as well. I do have a lingering question: If Trump wins, will he trade in the U.S. for a younger country before his term expires?

Mitt Romney: Between HillaryCare and Obamacare, there was RomneyCare. Back in the days when Romney served as an unlikely Governor of Massachusetts, he introduced a healthcare plan which bore a striking resemblance to both the erstwhile First Lady’s misdirected package and Obama’s Quixotic gallop down the same path. Romney is experienced in both public and private sector success; he is comfortable in the glare of public scrutiny; and he’s a fundraising machine. However, RomneyCare is going to stick to him like a trial lawyer to a speeding ambulance. In addition, he’s telegenic to the point of being almost plastic. From time to time, I feel an odd compulsion to peek at his back to see if there’s a pull string.

Newt Gingrich: Oh, the Democrats want him to lead out of the gate. Gingrich, who is likely the most well-versed candidate in issues domestic and foreign, is the man who proved that Democrats can’t really hold a lead on actual policy. In 1994, Gingrich forced the Democratic Party to run its midterm elections on being Democrats. That worked as well for them then as it did in 2010. However, Gingrich is toting more baggage than a Park Avenue heiress packing for a month in the Hamptons.

Mitch Daniels: Before you dismiss him as a governor of a marginally important State with limited public recognition, consider this: In 1991, Bill Clinton was that fat guy from Arkansas with the angry-looking wife and a taste for… er… cigars.  Daniels wasn’t even in the running until he dismembered “Cap and Trade” in the pages of The Wall Street Journal. On the down side, he’s hinted at a willingness to raise taxes; in the age of Tea Party ascendency, that’s tantamount to suggesting a tax cheat for Secretary of the Treasury. Not that anyone would ever do that.

Allen West: Watch Representative West carefully. For his resume to be more impressive, it would have to include multiple commendations for excellence and bravery while serving in uniform. Oh right… it does. The lone criticism liberals have managed to concoct so far? He got sideways with the Uniform Code of Military Justice during an interrogation of a possible terrorist in Iraq. West’s statement about the incident:

“If it’s about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can.”

I don’t doubt that he would. He’s a military hero, a fiscal and social conservative and an unrepentant patriot. To be honest, I’m surprised Democratic Party-endorsed Common Cause hasn’t called for him to be lynched yet. If his candidacy gains steam, grab some popcorn and turn on MSNBC. I can’t wait for putty-faced Democrats to call West an “Uncle Tom.” Furthermore, I can’t wait for West to make them take it back.

Michele Bachmann: Her biggest advantages? She’s smart and unafraid of conflict with the liberal hordes, and she can raise money with the best of them. Her biggest drawbacks? As a conservative woman, she jumps right to the top of the list of Democratic — hence, Democratic media — targets. Liberals are not fond of conservatives in general. Liberals become positively apoplectic at the idea of conservative women. If you ever want to see the definition of sexism in motion, watch Chris Matthews devote an hour to Representative Bachmann. Additionally, Bachmann suffers from the inevitable comparisons to…

Sarah Palin: She’s bright, conservative, determined and easy to look at. Unfortunately, to the hypocrites who run the show at the Democratic Party, a woman with those credentials might as well be the Queen of the Damned. No one outside prison has attracted pure vitriol from the Democrats in the volume to which Palin has been subjected. In fact, given the Democrats’ fondness for certain people currently confined to correctional facilities around the country (Mumia Abu-Jamal for President, anyone?), she might suffer by comparison in the eyes of George Soros’s little friends. On the downside, Palin is ubiquitous to the point of being trendy. Trends fade. Imagine if a V.P. candidate from a losing ticket tried for the big chair four years later. Now imagine having to spend the rest of your career as the “female Walter Mondale.”

Mike Huckabee: Is it possible to be too nice and too earnest to be President? Huckabee is everything Obama isn’t: honest, forthright and competent. I’m also quite sure that he’d be perfectly comfortable thumping our enemies on the head with the proverbial brick. However, Huckabee lacks across-the-board support from conservatives, and the religious undertones of his message will push moderates away. Here’s a moment for the ages: Should Huckabee win, look for Representative Keith Ellison’s expression when Huckabee takes the oath of office on the Bible. Even money says Huckabee will smile at Ellison the whole time. However, the smart money says that Huckabee will sit out 2012, electing to make a whole lot more money — with a whole lot fewer headaches — in a television studio.

Herman Cain: I never liked Godfather’s Pizza. But I love a successful business model. As a resident of Georgia, I’ve seen and heard a lot of and from Herman Cain, and none of it gives me pause. He’s intelligent, erudite and competent. He’s also proudly outspoken about his conservative attitudes. He will face an uphill battle for recognition in a crowded field, but Jimmy Carter emerged from Georgia to win the White House… maybe Carter isn’t the best example. At the very least, Cain would have won the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny.

Tim Pawlenty: The former two-term Governor of Minnesota. Pawlenty has a chance, although that chance is likely smaller than the odds of running through Tehran with an Israeli flag and surviving. He would lose his home state. That’s never good. Even Mondale won Minnesota in ’84.

Barack Obama: It’s noteworthy that the incumbent has managed to do such a bang-up job in what looks increasingly like his only term that he’s not even the front-runner. I’m not going to belabor the point. But I will say this: I couldn’t help but notice that every time soon-to-be-ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares she’s not a candidate, her husband smiles like a chubby chaser finding the latest issue of Big Beautiful Babies in the mail.

Hillary Clinton: Obama isn’t whispering sweet nothings to Michelle. He’s just repeating his personal mantra: “She’s not running. She’s not running. She’s not running.” Go to your happy place, Barack. Just think of the speaking fees you’ll collect from the New Black Panther Party.

There are surely other candidates, some of whom aren’t so bizarre that they’ve earned The Huffington Post Seal of Approval. Governor Haley Barbour’s years as RNC chairman and a lobbyist have earned him connections in every wing of the GOP. Rep. Paul Ryan has experience and a solid conservative resume, and he makes liberals foam at the mouth with hatred. However, Ryan seems content in his current position.

And don’t discount another Democrat running for the 2012 roses. Obama is staggering like a punch-drunk fighter who’s years past his prime. And the Democratic Party is well known for pulling out the proverbial rifles when their horses pull up lame.

No matter what the outcome, the stage is set for one hell of a sprint to the line. Thanks to Personal Liberty Digest™, you get a front-row seat.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.