With “The Donald” getting all the coverage over his rambunctious pursuit of the GOP nomination and with the Republican field widening, as I have argued elsewhere, the most realistic scenario is one where Michelle Bachmann serves as a stalking horse for Mitt Romney. Even if Mike Huckabee runs Bachmann will likely still win Iowa with Romney punting there. Romney is a favorite son in New Hampshire so he will pour tons of money there and get results. Donald Trump will close in on him but fail to overtake him.
On to South Carolina. Bachmann will pull out and will endorse Romney, who takes the state over Huckabee and Trump. The Establishment will plead for Mitch Daniels to get into it but he won’t. Did I mention Tim Pawlenty? Who is that? Even I don’t know. This will clinch the nomination for Romney with Bachmann on the ticket for vice president. But can they win?
Lurking on the sidelines is Sarah Palin who knows full well that if she slumps back to Alaska the big paydays will be over–no more gigantic lecture fees, no more big book advances, no more television gigs, except for some modest work on Fox News. With a burning hatred for Bachmann, for whom Palin campaigned in the last Congressional elections, Palin will see Bachmann’s actions as a betrayal since she assumed Bachmann would back her for president. Thus begins the fight to the death of the vipers. Realizing that the Republican Establishment has done everything in its power to marginalize her she will, with a combined rage against both party and Bachmann, run as a Third Party Candidate. She will denounce the Establishment Republicans as sell-outs and call Bachmann a turncoat and an opportunist. Pretty rich, that. She will blast Romney for his Romney Care and spend more time and energy attacking the party that spurned her after she lifted McCain’s sagging poll numbers than on attacking Obama. If she can get Trump to run with her it could all get quite entertaining. But the likelihood of Trump taking a second spot is highly doubtful. Maybe she could run with Glenn Beck. The real losers would be the writing staff of Saturday Night Live because any actual debate between these candidates will be funnier than anything those talented scribes could concoct.
Paul Ryan’s budget will give the Democrats fresh ammunition–the Republican intention to abolish Medicare whilst calling for tax cuts to the rich. This after attacking Obama in the last election for cutting five billion dollars from Medicare. Although Ryan has said Social Security is off the table, why should anyone believe that after the Republicans’ about-face on Medicare?
This will give Obama an unintended push over the top with the Democrats making substantial gains in the House and Senate.
Instead of taking back the country entirely the Republicans could easily find themselves on the verge of extinction. Their only hope will be to return to the center, led by Jon Huntsman. He is the 800-pound gorilla in the room for the 2012 Republican nomination. By far the most telegenic of all their candidates, he is also the best qualified by far by virtue of being the only one with international experience, having served as ambassador to China and being fluent in Mandarin. As a two-term governor of Utah, he proved his mettle on domestic issues, even if he did raise taxes. Moderate on social issues, he could still steamroll over the opposition. He is also loaded with a great family fortune. Besides, he hates Romney for taking over the Olympics in Utah when Huntsman expected to get that position. He would love nothing better than to shatter Romney’s chances, one Mormon against another. Huntsman is a Kennedy-esque Republican whose charm and charisma–something all the other candidates lack–make him a winner whatever his positions on the issues. And when young voters learn he dropped out of high school to join a rock band before returning and going on tto he University of Pennsylvania, they will follow him anywhere. He is the one candidate Obama fears. One way or another, his time will come.
But then again, there is Gary Johnson. Tune in next time for more on that dude.