The Republican presidential race narrowed today with the exit of Tim Pawlenty, but it needs to narrow further to present viable options to the American public. Candidates who have proven beyond all doubt that they have no chance of winning should go home. The Republicans will need every moment they have available to select the candidate that they feel best represents their needs in the next election.
Pawlenty is only the first candidate who should exit the race.
Political watchers insisted that anything short of a strong showing in Iowa would be trouble for Tim Pawlenty. It looks as though Pawlenty agreed with that assessment. He announced the end of his campaign after a distant third place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll. The presidential race was a good experience for him and he can move on.
But others should follow his lead. It’s possible to dispute that a candidate should stay in the presidential race, but strong arguments against many remaining in the field are more valid. Among them are:
- At this point, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are brand building, not trying to win.
- Herman Cain is drifting with no place to go in the field except down.
- Jon Huntsman is becoming a laughingstock.
Rick Santorum has already staked out the furthest right position among the candidates. In an upcoming election that will be decided by the will of independents, Santorum has no chance. Newt Gingrich is no different from when he was as Speaker of the House. He has dutifully reminded the party that he exists, and should now go home.
Herman Cain is a man who is relevant. His views on business and growth are sound. He has some classical Republican values. But he is not going to win this race. He has too much ground to make up on too many fronts, like name recognition and fundraising. Nobody would hold it against him if he stayed in a while longer to build name value, but he should exit sooner, rather than later, to allow the serious candidates to build a case against President Obama.
Jon Huntsman received 69 votes in the straw poll. A county politician from Wyoming with a few thousand dollars invested could have outperformed Huntsman in Iowa. Huntsman is the National Public Radio candidate for the Republican nomination. NPR loves Huntsman, as shown by their generous air-time and interviews with him. Unfortunately, NPR understands the Republican party as well as cave men would understand aerospace technology. Huntsman should go home, but if he doesn’t, he’ll fill the comic relief role in this campaign.
The battle for the nomination needs to focus on serious ideas and serious candidates.
The remaining viable candidates include Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and maybe Sarah Palin, though her seriousness is always questioned by seasoned political observers. All of these candidates can present ideas that are reasonable and opposite of the policies the U. S. is employing. It’s important to get those ideas in front of the American people in succinct and clear settings. That can’t be achieved with 10 people on stage vying for sound bytes.
Perry, Romney, Bachmann and Palin all represent the same style, claims to lower spending and big government, with mixed success at demonstrating the ability to support initiatives to do it. Paul is a staunch supporter of small government with a big record to prove it. These are the candidates who should be debating the future.
The other people had their opportunities. They are no longer relevant. It’s time that the debate moved on without them.
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