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Spoiling for a Fight, Not a Spoiled Fight

July 3, 2011

The announcement of a presidential bid by Thaddeus McCotter, R-Michigan was the best news since months. So far, the French Cowboy knows nearly nothing about McCotter, but any serious candidate for the GOP nomination is a welcome addition to the current field. It’s not that the group of candidates so far is that bad. All in all they’re perfectly viable and decent candidates, and yet, when McCotter gave his rationale for throwing in his hat for the 2012 nomination, he expressed something quite true:

“Republicans may be prepared at some point to settle, if that’s how they view it, but they’re still viewing it as, ‘Why should we have to? What else is out there?’” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s me. The reason I was here was to find out are they even asking that question, ‘What else is out there?’ And they clearly are.”

McCotter is surely getting observers’ intense attention thanks to two simple facts: 1) The list of candidates so far is not particularly inspiring, and 2) there are no red flags on him, at least on first sight, which means that he is potentially a new GOP superstar. And this is what, deep inside, we are actually hoping for: a fresh candidate who can make the crowds roar with excitement and take on President Obama with the drama due the defeat of such an outstandingly bad president.

Obama became president with a bang, and every Republican wants to see him go down not only with a wimper, but with the GOP triumphantly rising with a vengeance. All the electable candidates of the current field may have the potential to pull something like that off. But the most important factor for such a feat is enthusiastic support from voters. And so far, as McCotter correctly pointed out, voters are not convinced of any of the candidates and are scanning the horizon for new joiners.

The French Cowboy believes that at least two types of candidates would be well suited to take on Obama in an entertaining political battle and come out triumphantly: the impeccable intellectual with an air of authority who makes everyone else look like a school boy (“Type A” candidate), or the unconventional it’s-the-American-way die-hard who will connect with voters in a way that revives faith in democracy even in the most hardend cynic (the “Type B” candidate).

Type A candidates are very rare, and I wonder whether they can succeed in this climate at all. Gaining votes and enthusiasm by being very intelligent and noble may not be possible in these times. If we had an Abraham Lincoln as a presidential contender, would he stand a chance? Not unless the media portrayed him favourably– as they did with Obama whose cluelessness was depicted as being the result of intellectual considerations beyond our understanding — and when was the last time a GOP candidate had the media on his side?

Now Type B candidates are probably not easier to have, but there was one in very recent memory which makes it so much easier to imagine that such a candidate will emerge at any moment. I’m speaking of course of Sarah Palin whose supporters are both fervent and numerous. The big question in her case is whether she has reached a limit of support which she cannot possible extend. The French Cowboy thinks that, for no fault of her own, Mme Palin has indeed reached such a limit more likely than not.

Just to insert a little thesis on the side here: It looks like Palin has made a breach into the media’s glass ceiling for conservative women which cleared the way for Michelle Bachmann. The anti-Palin squads were still congratulating themselves for having destroyed the former governor’s public image and still watching her every move suspiciously, when Mme Bachmann went unnoticed by them as she was developing into a sort of Ersatz-Palin.

After conservative voters had been fired up by Sarah Palin during the last presidential election which yet they lost, they are all the more hoping for a thrilling fight with a captivating candidate this time around where beating President Obama is an even more worthy goal than was beating presidential nominee Obama then.

It is still early in the game and you can probably say that presidential elections are predictably unpredictable, at least at this stage. Yet the French Cowboy hopes that the number of candidates will still increase. Win or lose, any level of enthusiasm for the presidential candidate of the GOP that falls short of the enthusiasm with which Sarah Palin had been backed as VP-candidate would be a disappointment, especially against a president who rode into the White House on a wave of religious adoration.

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