Published May 25, 2011
The Republican Party is in search of what seems to be the perfect candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. After a poor showing at the polls with 2008 nominee John McCain, the GOP is determined to do better—and rightfully so.
Driven by disgust over where Obama’s policies are taking the country, and anxiety over a thin field (a notion that is being stoked by the mainstream media) Republicans are getting restless, but are they mistaken in their quest for Mr. (or Ms.) Perfect?
First, every candidate is flawed—and not just on the GOP side. One can dig up a policy issue or character trait for each potential contender that raises a flag.
Mitt Romney isn’t genuine enough and he flip flops too much.
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain isn’t well known or seasoned enough in politics.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum puts his foot in his mouth.
Former 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin can’t win.
Newt Gingrich is a has-been.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is boring.
We’ve all heard the gripes.
The same was true for Democrats.
Hillary Clinton was perceived as a throw back to the nineties known for being shrill.
John Edwards seemed like a phony.
And Barack Obama was too inexperienced.
Though some of these traits can do candidates in and eventually be part of a large story line that sinks them, party nominees can overcome these criticisms, real or perceived. But what first needs to happen is these traits need to be forgiven, but not forgotten, by their own party. Though some initiatives, like RomneyCare, might be unforgivable to the GOP faithful.
Despite their pursuit of a spectacular candidate, what the Republican Party needs to do is nominate someone solid. Someone who can credibly take the fight to Barack Obama and highlight his abysmal record. Someone who is not intimidated by the media. Someone who can articulate the Republican message of smaller government that clobbered Democrats in 2010. There are many candidates that can do that, and the GOP is sure to line up behind them because enthusiasm is on their side.
The 2012 GOP presidential nominee is sure to be a serious player but they might not be able to compete with Barack Obama in the charisma category. And that’s okay. This time around the public wants someone who can deliver results and breathe life back into our economy. They want steak, not so much sizzle.
The GOP must also realize that the most important name on the ballot in 2012 will not be the Republican’s, it will be Barack Obama's. It is his failure to control spending, the vast expansion of government and a flailing economy incapable of producing jobs that it will be on the minds of voters.
It will be up to the Republicans to rally around their candidate, so that he or she can remind the public of what Obama promised—hope and change—and what he failed to deliver.
Remember Republicans, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. President Obama can be beaten, and it doesn’t take a resurrected Ronald Reagan to do it.