And the GOP favorite is…

May 18, 2011

Top establishment Republicans are getting more desperate about the GOP’s current presidential line-up all the time.  Care to guess why?

Newt Gingrich, once among the most prominent voices in the GOP, appears to be on the ropes only a week after declaring his candidacy – and even before his first official campaign trip to the early voting state of Iowa.

He has apologized to House Budget chief Paul Ryan for calling his Medicare plan “right wing social engineering” in a national interview and admitted making “a mistake.”

But his comments leave the Democrats with a potentially very large stick with which to beat the GOP as the 2012 campaign for president, House and selected Senate seats gains momentum.

He won’t talk about reports of  hundreds of thousands of dollars of debts at Tiffany’s.

Meanwhile, another declared GOP White House candidate, Texas congressman Ron Paul, worries publicly that the United States will invade Pakistan next.

“I am absolutely afraid we will be in Pakistan trying to occupy that country,” he tells MSNBC.

Not that there’s solid evidence of such a plan. But you know how things go with unintended consequences, the fog of war and the propensity of American foreign policy to go awry in recent decades.

Gingrich or Paul are longshots to win the GOP nomination. But Paul has already had considerable influence on the debate as “the intellectual godfather” of the Tea Party. And Gingrich, a former House Speaker known for his ideas, has been expected to help shape the discussion going forward … up to now.

But Republicans think they face a broader problem locating among the current crop of hopefuls a nominee capable of unseating President Barack Obama – or at least giving him a decent fight.

The range of worries seem to run as follows: Mitt Romney, the apparent frontrunner, has a healthcare problem.  Tim Pawlenty lacks fire. Jon Huntsman worked for you-know-who.

That’s led people to hope for a Christmas present in the form of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels — amid reports that his wife, Cheri, might be balking. Former first lady Laura Bush phoned her up in an unusual sign of party interest in his candidacy.

Or is the white knight to be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie?

On the other side of the fence, Obama’s re-election campaign is not without issues.

The campaign is expected to report bringing in only a modest amount of money for this quarter. That’s partly due to a deliberate effort to build up resources at the Democratic National Committee.

But that’s the sort of worrisome challenge Republicans can only dream about at the moment.

Reuters Photo Credits: Brian Frank (Republican Presidential Hopefuls); Joshua Roberts (Paul Ryan); Toby Melville (Tiffany’s Display Window); Tomas Bravo (Soldiers); David Moir (Knight)

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Republicans are so used to trash talking President Obama, Democrats, middle Americans, the poor, Social Security and Medicare recipients that they are now trash talking each other. Their tea party faction is ready to eat their own. It will be amazing if President Obama even has a Republican to run against in 2012.

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