Sunday, January 08, 2012

Countdown to New Hampshire

kw: observations, politics, debates

I watched the televised debate from New Hampshire last evening, among the Republican candidates. There are now six contenders, Michelle Bachmann having bowed out of the race: John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Although Romney, Santorum and Paul are the "front runners", in my view nobody is really out of the running yet.

I would not say there was a clear winner last evening. This was much closer to a real debate than the prior ones, with plenty of back-and-forth among men who had both good and bad things to say about one another. I would say, though, that these candidates are primarily laying the groundwork for most of them (perhaps all) to support whomever is nominated. At least three of them stated that any one of the six would do a better job as President than Barack Obama has been doing.

It is still early days. My own State's primary is not until April 24, by which time 34 States and Territories will have held their primaries or caucuses. Even at that point, I suspect there will be some fluidity and uncertainty about the eventual nominee.

Some have said or written that it might be best to replace this six-month mess with a single primary election date, to be shortly followed by the nominating conventions. I disagree. The present process may be a grueling multiple marathon, but it gives voters a much greater opportunity to get to know the candidates, most of whom visit nearly every State. Our remarkable democratic process probably engages more people than any other known. A single-day primary would force much greater reliance on media advertising, a detriment. There is too much already.

I initially favored Ms Bachmann, but now that she is out, I am still confident that the Republicans will nominate someone who can beat the incumbent, because I am pretty sure any of the remaining six can make a better case for becoming our President, than Mr. Obama can for remaining in his failed Presidency.

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