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    Transmissions from a Lone Star: American election watch, part 1

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    Ever since Barack Obama was elected, a lot of pundits have asked: who will run against him in 2012?

    Ever since Barack Obama was elected, a lot of pundits have asked: who will run against him in 2012? They do that because they’re paid to of course, but as the election draws nearer perhaps we should take the matter a little more seriously. Here, therefore is an E-Z cut out n’keep list of possible Republican candidates for next year’s presidential race.

    1)    Sarah Palin
    In June, Sarah Palin will travel around America on the “One Nation” bus tour. This will be a bit like 60s author Ken Kesey’s bus tours, only substituting Tea Party rhetoric for LSD tabs. The predictable media frenzy has already begun- is this the prelude to something big? Will she finally declare her candidacy?
    To which I reply:
    If she does, she’s not going to win, so who cares?

    2)    Newt Gingrich
    Newt Gingrich was famous during the Clinton era, when he was Republican leader of the House. Since my main memories of that political period involve cigars in strange places, I’m rather vague on what Gingrich did, although he claims a lot of credit for reforming social security and fixing the economy. Gingrich is often criticized by Democrats for his personal life: he allegedly notified his first wife that he was leaving her for another woman while she was sick with cancer, and carried on lustily with a staffer (now wife #3) throughout Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. And while this is indeed all rather unsavory, I note that unlike the late Edward Kennedy he never abandoned a young lady to drown, a vile act regularly smiled upon as a regrettable youthful indiscretion by many of the same Democrats who abominate Gingrich for his personal failings. 

    3)    Ron Paul
    Ron Paul is a wee man with big ears who organizes a side show each election time when he runs for the Republican candidacy, in which he talks about withdrawing from all wars and ending all kinds of government benefits, etc. Libertarians on the internet get very excited and for a month or two he wins lots of online polls. Then he goes away. 

    4)    Mitt Romney
    Mitt Romney is a Mormon who would really, really like to be president. As far as I am aware, Romney, who is a Mormon, did an acceptable job as governor of Massachusetts and was a successful (Mormon) businessman, so no doubt he has a firmer grip of economics than Obama, who has never had a job in the private sector (and is not a Mormon).  However Romney, who is a Mormon, passed health care legislation in Massachusetts which is very similar to Obama’s program, which is reviled by most Republicans, so that’s a problem. Oh, and did I mention that he is a Mormon? I have never met an unpleasant Mormon, but for some reason the media feels the need to keep reminding the electorate that Mitt is a Mormon.
    PS: he’s a Mormon.

    5)    Tim Pawlenty
    Tim Pawlenty is a man, from somewhere, rumored to be a former governor, who pundits enjoy talking about because nobody knows who he is and so it makes them sound knowledgeable.

    6)    Herman Cain.
    Herman Cain has never held political office, but he did run a pizza chain once, so that’s reassuring. If selected as the Republican candidate, he could become America’s second black president. This would cause a severe existential crisis among the race baiters who declare all opposition to Obama’s policies the result of white bigotry; although given that they derive an almost erotic pleasure from their shrill denunciations, I’m sure they’d carry on regardless. 

    7)    Rick Perry
    Until last week, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, insisted that he was not interested in running for president. No doubt encouraged by the weakness of his potential rivals, he now says he is “thinking about it.” On economic policy, Perry would make a strong candidate: apparently in two out of the last four years, Texas created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. Perry would also be conservative on social issues and much less embarrassed by American power than Obama, who prefers to “lead from behind,” whatever that means.
    The conventional wisdom is that Perry couldn’t win because post-Bush America is still suffering from Texas fatigue. But I wonder if this isn’t a little overblown. After all, President Obama has adopted many of the policies of his “cowboy” predecessor, whether it be keeping Guantanamo open, continuing the unlimited detention of terrorists without trial, using robots to blow up terrorists and their families, or spending lots of cash he doesn’t have on inefficient government programs. More amazing still, none of this inspires any heartburn in the people who made such a big deal about hating Bush.

    Thus, perhaps George W. Bush has already been rehabilitated by Mr. Obama, ironically enough. Is America ready for even more Texas in the shape of a President Perry? We shall see.

     

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    *

    What does the world look like to a man stranded deep in the heart of Texas? Each week, Austin- based author Daniel Kalder writes about America, Russia and beyond from his position as an outsider inside the woefully - and willfully - misunderstood state he calls “the third cultural and economic center of the USA.”

    Daniel Kalder is a Scotsman who lived in Russia for a decade before moving to Texas in 2006.  He is the author of two books, Lost Cosmonaut (2006) and Strange Telescopes (2008), and writes for numerous publications including The Guardian, The Observer, The Times of London and The Spectator.

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