There’s a mistake in political language, which makes next year’s presidential elections more meshugganah, crazy in the Yiddish that I learned in the Catskill Mountains. In the primaries, there can be no best man or woman; that will be determined only November 6, 2012.
Democrats have no choice; they must go with the incumbent president. That’s not quite true. Fate has played a critical factor in the life of Barrack Hussein Obama and fickle lady luck may intervene. As friends point out, my last 27 years I’ve swung back-and-forth from conservatives and liberals. I’m now content to swing on the hammock out back and make no judgments.
Republican friends become disturbed when I fail to become excited more than a year in advance. There’s time, I say to my politically calloused self. Sarah Palin captured my mood exactly when she described Herman Cain’s win in Florida straw election; she called Mr. Cain “the flavor of the week.” Speaking of Ms. Palin, she breathed hot and heavy once on the GOP nomination until the serious dancing began.
The biggest flavor for a longtime was ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and he still might grab the golden ring — on balance his candidacy is better balanced; especially when Texas Rep. Ron Paul is subject to the politically pragmatic microscope. Often called “the intellectual godfather” of the Tea Party, he practices true Libertarian principles, which don’t always meet the general notion of what’s fair and unfair. The times are much too emotional; his condemnation of the drone attack that took out an American-born al-Qaida leader did not sit well across the country. He may have been ethically right, but in the political trenches he lost points.
Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann shot herself in both feet by trying to ad-lib on various topics, getting her syntax mingled up with mixed-up ideas. She has taken a linguistic pratfall more than once. Since the electorate is overwhelmingly female, she just might be too good-looking to wind up with the golden apple. The same attractive attribute strikes against Ms. Palin. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich runs on hollow fame and for his new wife.
Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., made a colorful splash in the spring after he left the embassy in China. As all other entries, he drew publicity from the over-eager press; Republican watchers paid most attention to the millions he drew in for campaign expenses; he’s well-funded but it takes something more.
Having his head handed back in by his native Pennsylvania voters slowed down Rick Santorum but did not knock the former senator from the go for the Oval Office. Again, he claims loyalty from a GOP splinter. Will that be enough? I don’t think so. But 2012 shapes as a crap-shoot. The reason is not difficult to fathom. Numerous polls have Mr. Obama in a corner, but seemingly nobody pays attention to the surveys reflecting miserably on the Republican public figures, especially those in Congress.
That must make it easy for a soothsayer to predict the Pennsylvania Avenue mansion will be inhabited by a fresh out-of-the-box former governor. Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney had the “favorite” banner until Texas’ in-office governor Rick Perry knocked him out of the category. Inevitably, Mr. Perry threw his Stetson into the pot and the shivareeing started, mainly from the press and his opponents. Significantly, pizza king Herman Cain scored his Florida victory when the Perry backers thought they had the Sunshine State in pocket. The racially demeaning name for a summer camp brought new worries from Sunday talking heads.
Mr. Romney’s luster was restored but not quite; once tarnished no candidate can gain preeminence again. All during the weekend, the media boiled in anticipation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s overweight toes in the electoral bathtub. And sequestered on North Market, in Frederick, I’m left to rub my bald head, stroke the beard and talking to Pushkin. My dog-best friend does not understand what’s going on along; he shares puzzlement with the human whose main mission in life is to keep the beloved English pointer alive.