It’s time to give all the candidates a chance

Many of you know that I am leaning towards Mitch Daniels as the GOP candidate for 2012.

This diary is not about you giving Mitch Daniels a chance in 2012.

It’s more about me opening up my mind, and all of us opening up our minds, to all of the candidates as we move forward.

How many choices do we really have?

One of the issues as we move forward into the race for 2012 is “How Many Choices Do We Really Have?”

I think the answer to that question is somewhat time based.

For all of 2011, I think that are choices are wide open: Palin, Jindal, Gingrich, Trump, Romney, Huckabee, Daniels, Barbour, Pawlenty, etc, etc.

There is plenty of time for us to open our minds and see what type of candidate we are looking for without judging any of them.

This is a stretch for me since I like Daniels and carry strong apprehensions about several other candidates at this time.

And the truth is that what got me started on this was listening to Palin talk the other day and feeling like I needed to push back some of my bias against her as someone who “can’t beat Obama” and try to get a fresh take on her.

Make yourself a spreadsheet

Hey, I’m a spreadsheet guy so what can I say. If you prefer paper then make yourself a big table on a piece of paper. Put your top five items across the top and the ten or so candidates down the side of one piece.

What are your five issues? Abortion, Limited Government, Afghanistan, Experience, Ability to Win the General election, not a Washington type?

They could be anything that really makes a difference to you.

Maybe it’s not five issues for you. Maybe it’s three issues or even two issues this time around.

Do YOUR OWN research

Part of what we’ve learned from the tea party movement is to do our own research and talk these things through with our friends and lead from the ground up.

Crank up Fox News, read redstate and realclearpolitics, search google news for speeches the candidates are making or look at their record — what they’ve actually done not just said.

Do this for the next six months whenever you hear something from one of the presumed candidates.

When June rolls around, it will be time to cut back the list a bit — based on fundraising, who’s really in, and who you just do and don’t like after you’ve done you’re research.

We need to get this right

Problems happen in the Republican primary when we just line up to take the next person without really thinking about the true pros and cons that are out there in regards to who are next President could be.

We need to take an approach that will lead us to the Marco Rubio of presidential candidates — the one who will resonate with both the conservative base and the American people as a whole and it’s still too early to decide who that is going to be.

Introduction

I’ve had a few days to de-compress and then crawl back through the many posts that are out there about what the election means and doesn’t mean.

One theme, of course, has to do with Angle, O’Donnell, Miller (maybe), Buck, etc losing while the house falls to us.

There are many theories as to why this happened so let’s see what holds water.

It wasn’t the candidates, it was the territory

The first argument from the tea party side of the house is that the problem wasn’t the candidates themselves but rather the territory.

California and Delaware certainly fit this theory. I doubt that any tea partier could win in either this year. Who knows Chuck DeVore might have done better than Carly given her history in the state of shipping jobs overseas.

This doesn’t seem to hold water completely as Colorado while purple isn’t completely unlikely to elect Republicans and Nevada drowned out Rory Reid in a sea of red.

So, yes, the candidates do matter.

You can’t get enough air time to cover a whole state

No, really. Someone said that was the problem in Nevada. Really? Sharon Angle spent a bazillion dollars as did Fiorina (yeah, she’s more NRSC candidate than tea party), Buck had a lot of money as well.

It’s the NRSC’s fault

The NRSC either didn’t put enough money in (O’Donnell) or wounded the tea party candidate in the primary (Buck) by funding their candidate.

There is some merit to this one especially in Colorado. It’s also why I hate, hate, hate the NRSC, NRCC, or NRC getting involved in primaries.

I understand that it would be nice to talk a certain someone into a different race (this worked in Ohio pre-primary), but once the papers are filed for an election race then it’s good to just let it alone and let the people figure out who they want to run (hey, we’re smart enough).

My Theory

I have a different theory on why the tea party candidates had more trouble at the Senatorial level — experience.

The House of Representatives has always been seen as the “people’s house.” It’s specifically designed for citizen legislators and people of limited political acumen to be a part of.

The Senate, in its original design, was set up to represent the state government’s rights within the Federal Government. No, this is not some screed against the Seventeenth Amendment, although I am sympathetic, but the Senate was always designed to be the house of more “senior” statesmen.

For many voters, a candidate without any political (or very limited political) experience simply isn’t qualified to be a Senator. There is an expectation of a certain amount of gravatis in the Senate and since people can’t meet all the candidates, they like to see a little something on their resume that tells them that this person has what it takes to be a Senator.

So is that the whole enchilada for the tea party in the Senate?

I don’t think so.

At the very least, it will take five elections for the tea party to put people into the House, Senate, and White House who will keep our government in line and trim it down in size.

More than likely that will happen through the Republican Party since they are the closest to the tea party in terms of limited government.

Five elections (one down and four to go). By 2014, there will be a whole throng of tea partiers who have worked for four years as congressmen and will have the perfect resume to take on the Senate races.

They will be still fresh enough to remember where they came from, but they will have the resume that several tea party candidates lacked this year — Buck, O’Donnell, Angle, McMahon and a host of others.

The world heard the tea party roar in the House this year. It’s only a matter of time until they hear us roar in the Senate as well.