The Bigger Picture
Published on December 15th 2011 in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau
Since Republicans will begin voting in their first presidential primaries in January, I will be devoting my future 2012 columns to Republican candidates who are still running for President. But in my final column of 2011 I’m going to discuss the other three Republican presidential hopefuls and their stated as well as their real reasons for declining to run in 2012.
Republican Representative Mike Pence of Indiana was a darling of the anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage Christian right wing who also won a presidential straw poll held at the annual Values Voters Summit in September 2010. But Pence was also the number one Republican presidential choice of the former House Republican leader from Texas, Dick Armey, who is also the leader of Freedom Works one of the right wing billionaire Koch brothers’ favorite Tea Party political action committee campaign fundraising ‘charities.’
But despite the anxious prodding of Dick Armey and the Koch brothers, on January 27th Mike Pence also became the first Republican contender to announce he wouldn’t run for President in 2012. While Pence did not deny his interest in running for President at some point in the future, he said his wife and three young children as well as the state of Indiana needed him more than his country. What he didn’t say was that since Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels couldn’t run for governor again because of term limits, Pence would also have an easier road to the Indiana statehouse than he would have to the US White House.
The other Republican contender from the House of Representatives was Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the architect of the Republican plan to slash America’s budget deficit by cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits without raising taxes or cutting defense spending. But despite his credibility with fiscal conservatives Ryan was also a Catholic who never aroused the passions of Tea Party activists and Christian conservatives.
So on August 22nd I wasn’t surprised Paul Ryan dashed the hopes of many Republican fiscal conservatives by announcing he would not run for President in 2012. But I also believe that another factor neither Pence nor Ryan care to acknowledge, is the fact that no serving member of the US House of Representatives has ever been elected President.
Last, but certainly not least, was Sarah Palin’s announcement on October 5th that she would join the list of Republican governors who had decided not to run for President in 2012. Although I have always believed Sarah Palin lacked the intelligence and emotional stability one needs to be President of the United States, I have never doubted her abilities as a political campaigner. But in the aftermath of McCain’s loss to President Obama, Palin’s over the top responses to complaints by Republican campaign staffers about her actions as a vice presidential candidate showed that she also had a very thin skin. It was at this point that I began to have doubts Palin would ever run for President because a thick skin is a necessary prerequisite for a Presidential candidate due to the intense media scrutiny they endure.
Those doubts were reinforced in July of 2009 when, in the midst of a legislative investigation of her conduct as governor, Palin announced she would not run for re-election as governor and then resigned with a year and a half remaining in her first term as governor. This was followed by her eleven state bus tour promoting her bestselling book, a six figure job as an occasional contributor for Fox News and then a starring role in highly rated cable TV show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
But any doubts I still had about Sarah Palin’s presidential aspirations were finally put to rest when it was revealed in June of this year that Sarah Palin had purchased an 8,000 square foot luxury home in Scottsdale Arizona for a tidy $1,700,000. That was when I knew that no matter how long Palin strung out her announcement, she was never going to run for President in 2012. Palin’s brief turn as a vice presidential candidate had transformed her into a national celebrity and while Palin may not be Presidential material, she is also nobody’s fool. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what Palin did; that a national celebrity can cash in on their fame without ever having to endure the rigors of running for President.