It is right, and imminently fair, that we explore the comparative weaknesses of our presidential candidates. The arguments have been repeatedly raised here and everywhere with the possible exception of Paula Dean's cooking show. Many of us have become passionate advocates for one candidate over the others, spurring interesting and lively debates on an almost daily basis. Occasionally some of us become despondent over the current selection and lament that all may be lost, and that becomes the contrarian point of view.
Well, how's this for contrarian: I'm beginning to think that just about any of our guys can beat Obama. A USA poll shows that among swing state voters, Santorum leads Obama 50% to 45%. Nationwide, Santorum leads Obama 49% to 46%. Mitt Romney leads Obama 48% to 46% percent among swing state voters, and is tied with him at 47% each nationwide. Particularly noteworthy is Obama's poor showing despite the fact that he has no primary challengers to drag his numbers down.
And while I don't have polls on Gingrich's standing at my fingertips, his ideas seem to be picking up steam. Former economist for President Reagan, Peter Ferrara has looked at Gingrich's proposals, which include an optional 15% flat tax, elimination of the death tax and capital gains tax, the enactment of many of Paul Ryan's entitlement reform ideas, and announced that, "There's no doubt that Newt is the real supply-sider in this race," adding that, "…now that we have evidence the numbers actually add up."
Meanwhile, Obamacare remains unpopular with a plurality of the American people. As the President tries simultaneously to blame others for rising fuel costs, he has a difficult time running away from his own record of encouraging higher energy costs both in word in deed. In addition to a reset button on foreign policy that is setting the world on fire, he now bullies the Church, and seizes power to himself in an authoritarian fashion, breaching one Constitutional firewall after another. This guy is very beatable, and I suspect that whether our nominee is Romeny, Santorum, or Gingrich, they can best him in the general election.
So to take a different approach and look at our candidates' respective strengths, I wonder how they might exploit Obamas manifold weaknesses?
Mitt Romney has executive experience that serves to highlight the abject failure of a President who lets everyone else do the heavy lifting of policy development while he spirits from one golf course and vacation spot to the next. Romney not only has an understanding of what it takes to turn a sinking economy around, but the temperament and discipline to do it. He has so exhaustively promised to repeal Obamacare that it would be suicidal to demur. His approach to illegal immigration is sound, and he would reverse the gutting of our national defense that is projected under Obama.
Rick Santorum, like the others, has promised a robust reversal of Obama's economic policies. He would certainly put a stop to federal bullying of religious institutions. He can speak to the societal rot that a culture of relativism and collectivism has brought to the country with a conviction that anyone who sat the pews of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years could never match or refute. As with the others, he has promised to drive a stake through the heart of Obamacare, and restore our nation's defense.
Newt Gingrich, ever a fount of ideas combined with an ability to articulate them concisely and convincingly, would routinely upend the premises of the left and expose the decay and despair they conceal. Even if Obama were to cower from debating him, he would take the debate to him through the press who can be relied on to make Obama's arguments for him.
Against each of these candidates, Obama's only option is to go ugly since he can't run on his record of high energy costs, high unemployment, high taxes, high debt, ballooning government, and a Constitutional crisis. He will have to paint Romney as an evil Wall Street tycoon, Santorum as a theocrat, and Gingrich as personally flawed. But ultimately, I don't think it would work, as each of these candidates have become well versed at puncturing these charges and more. As in previous elections, this one is about the incumbent. I think each of these three have unique advantages that can carry the day. What say you?