Thursday, August 18, 2011

Phase 1 of the Republican Race for the Nomination Ends as Expected

 Now A Nice Breather Before Stage 2 Begins

[Editor's Note:  None of the pictures in this Post are of the actual candidates, although the actor playing Falstaff looks eerily like Mr. Gingrich]

The contest for the Republican Presidential nomination has three phases. Phase 1 goes from the announcement phase to the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll.  Phase 2, which consists of debates, campaigning in key states and fund raising lasts until the Iowa Caucuses, which is the beginning of the delegate selection process.  Phase 3 starts with the Iowa Caucuses, has early critical votes in New Hampshire and South Carolina and ends with a presumed nominee.

Mitt Romney (left) and Tim Pawlenty (right) in Hamlet

Several months ago The Dismal Political Economist likened the process to a Shakespearian play.  That analogy was sound then, and it is sound now.

As expected, Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney have the leading roles.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry has decided to tryout for a leading role, and will do guest performances in the next two months in five debates.   If he learns his lines and performs without making too many mistakes, he too will get one of the prized leading roles.

Many people thought that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would get a starring role, but he bombed.  He sought to run on his record as Governor, except his record contained no major or noteworthy accomplishments.  He then tried to become Ms. Bachmann, but it turns out Ms. Bachmann is better at playing Ms. Bachmann than Mr. Pawlenty is at playing Ms. Bachmann, and so he has left the company and will not be doing any more acting soon.

Jon Huntsman had been seen by some to have a shot at a leading part, but it now appears he is auditioning for a role in another play.  The role is Secretary of State and the play is the Presidential Term 2013-2017.  He is likely to get that role, regardless of whether or not the director is Mr. Obama or a Republican.

Mr. Gingrich as Falstaff

Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are getting close to the end of their run as bit players.  They get a few more minutes on stage, and then their roles are over.  Newt Gingrich gets to play the comic relief role until he tires of it or runs out of money.  He will then go back to commenting for Fox News, and Fox News will pretend to care.

Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul
in supporting roles

As chief critic, Sarah Palin will continue to follow the road company to various locations, offering her insights and teasing supporters with the hint that she just might run.  It will be several weeks after the election in 2012 that her supporters will realize she was just messing with them.

If Ms. Bachmann does not get the nomination, she will be back.  She has the Presidential aspirations bug.  If she stays in public office, she will first need to win a statewide race in Minnesota, and will have to run for Governor or Senator in 2014.  Either race will be difficult.  Minnesota may be tired of the “crazies” and may want the normal.  If Mr. Obama wins a second term Ms. Bachmann may sit out 2014 entirely to prepare for a serious run in 2016. 

Ms. Bachmann owes a great deal of thanks to Ms. Palin, because compared to Ms. Palin, Ms Bachmann looks serious.  Ms. Palin appears to be in public life for the money and the celebrity status.  Ms. Bachmann is in public life because she is strongly and sincerely committed to her political philosophy.  It is the wrong philosophy for the country, but it is a commitment.  Comparisons to Ms. Palin give Ms. Bachman a gravitas she could otherwise not obtain.  Of course, that would result from anyone being compared to Ms. Palin.

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