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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Republican Presidential Problem

Mitt Romney 
While I am not American I tend to follow political events in the worlds most powerful nation with interest as a citizen of an increasingly globalized world. As always I try to keep Junction News a non bias outlet but it appears to me and indeed even several conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (as summarised by  Ann Coulter that the Republican party's most likely candidate (in my opinion) Mitt Romney has serious issues to overcome if he is to become the next president of the united states.

Few can remember a contest as fluid as the current war between the 4 remaining potential Republican nominees. While Romney has always been touted by many as the eventual nominee the popularity of the other nominees is constantly changing.  Michelle Bachmann, an early favourite among the ultra conservative tea party movement bowed out after a crushing defeat in the first in the nation caucuses in Iowa.  Hermain Cain also found himself riding high in the polls but was forced to end his run without having ever faced the public, following a number of claims he had  been unfaithful to his wife.

Once the voting began Rick Santorum was touted as the conservative alternative to Romney after an unexpectedly strong showing in Iowa. Newt Gingrich had his moment in the sun following his victory in South Carolina and a number of very strong showings in debates and his war on the media. The current anti-Romney flavour of the month (libertarians excepted) is undoubtedly Mr Santorum and as Super Tuesday approaches it would appear that if upset is possible it is likely to come from the Santorum camp.

Hermain Cain - Remember him?
So what could explain the fluidity of the candidates in the Republican race. The issue is somewhat complex. Mitt Romney would appear on paper the most electable in a general election and his astonishingly large bank balance gives him a considerable advantage above all the other candidates for this reason.  However,  he is certainly seen as a flipp-flopper  and in the words of Newt Gingrich a "Massachusetts moderate" on major social conservative issues by the Republican party's most Conservative fringes. Also, his membership of the LDS Church is seen as controversial by the large number of Christian voters who take issues with the Church's claim to be a Christian faith.

But why then has there never been a clearly defined candidate among the anti-Romney movement in the conservative party? Perhaps it is simply a question of money. The undoubted financial advantage Romney has over his opponents means his offensive media campaigns can aggressively damage any potential challenger that may surface.

To me it seems unlikely that despite the begrudging groans of social conservatives and tea party members, anyone but former Governor Romney is likely to take on Obama come November. Mr Gingrich has seen his funds dry up and his campaign momentum grind to a halt after a disappointing result in Florida and in my opinion a lack of debate opportunities in recent weeks has meant less opportunity for Newt to do what he appears to do best. Ron Paul doesn't seem to truly believe he himself can be the eventual nominee perhaps hoping for speaking rights at the party's convention later in the year.

Rick Santorum - The Viable Challenger?
However, perhaps the most interesting candidate left in the race is Mr Santorum, ultra-conservative from a social stand point he holds views that many Americans would find quite offensive. Reports emerged over the weekend of Democrats actively encouraging their supporters to support Mr Santorum in states where they are allowed to cross party lines and vote in the Republican contests. They believe that Obama would have a much easier battle against Rick than Mr Romney who's more moderate views are much more likely to appeal to crucial independents.

Whatever, the outcome on the Republican side it is this bloggers opinion that eventually the party faithful will unite around the nominee in and effort to rid the White of a President who they feel has deeply damaged their country. In the face of a continually difficult economic situation the race for the Presidency promises to be as fascinating as always.

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