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I’ve been trying to not consume as much news as I used to…so, as far as I am concerned, I’m kind of commenting from the sidelines.

Nevertheless, there have been some recent developments in the race to replace President Obama and I figured I would offer my thoughts.

The biggest news happened today with Herman Cain ‘suspending his campaign’. (On a side note, I think that phrase should be suspended.) Cain’s fervent denials of all wrongdoing cause me to give him the benefit of the doubt. The sexual harassment charges seem to have been garbage and so fizzled out as they should have. Much ado about nothing. The recent charge of a long-term ‘casual’ affair is a little more troubling.

Foolish of Cain to have sent this woman money repeatedly without his wife knowing about it. But, I am still not convinced of any infidelity. It is, of course, possible that Herman Cain is a huge liar – but I just don’t get that vibe from him.

Politically un-savvy? Yes.

Unwise in dealing with female acquaintances? Certainly.

Gingrich-like adulterer? My gut says no.

His unlikely journey as a Presidential contender may be over, but his economic ideas and enthusiasm for battling the more egregious Liberal positions should remain a part of our side’s psyche for the forseeable future.

Now, that leaves us with:

Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Hunstman, Paul, Bachmann, and Santorum.

I will go ahead and eliminate Bachmann, Santorum, Perry and Huntsman for the time being.

Romney vs Gingrich vs Paul.

Ron Paul –

Paul’s savvy supporters have studied the system and are most likely poised to use the caucus structure to win a number of delegates and make him appear to have a shot at the nomination. They have already demonstrated that they can make Paul over-perform in numerous straw polls.

There are two main reasons why I don’t believe Ron Paul will get the nomination (and even if he did, would not be able to beat Obama).

1) While extremism in defence of liberty may not be a vice, Ron Paul’s positions mark a decidedly major shift from accepted norms in U.S. governance. That’s not a bad thing…But… we live in a center-right nation and our political heart is uneasy with any kind of radical change. Remember, Obama ran (and won) as a political moderate. Those of us that were paying attention knew that Barack was, at his core, a radical Leftist goober. But most of the small majority that voted for him, thought they were voting for a centrist.

During these past three years, he has shown his true colors. And the result? One of the lowest approval ratings for a President seeking re-election in recent memory.

All this is to say that Ron Paul is the polar opposite of Obama. Again, that’s not a bad thing in and of itself. But it is my opinion that true, lasting change must be achieved through ‘incrementalism’. Otherwise, we just swing the pendulum from one extreme to another, each change simply a reaction to the excesses of the previous extreme. I don’t believe Ron Paul would be the kind of visionary leader to lay the foundations for permanent right-center governance.

2) The second reason Paul would not win either the nomination or the Presidency is a bit more shallow… but true nonetheless. He is too dour. Whether he actually has a more congenial personality or not, the impression he leaves is that of a Grumpy Gus. While the country is still reeling from being suckered by charisma, it might seem that Paul would have some obvious benefits (seeing that he is a charisma vacuum). However, I still believe that Americans want a leader who can inspire and who exudes an easy optimism. Ron Paul is simply not very inspiring and I don’t think anyone would ever confuse him with an optimist.

Gingrich-

The current “Not-Romney Flavor-of-the-Month”. Super smart guy but subject to flights of left-leaning fancy.

Romney-

Next guy in line. Not a favorite of Conservatives, but he is actually more Right than wrong.

As far as Newt vs Mitt, I simply cannot put it better that Dr. Krauthammer. See here for his take.

Now, I am about to say something I never in a million years thought I would say. Out of the current crop, my pick now comes between Romney and Hunstman (!)

I haven’t said much about Hunstman, mainly because he has not made it to the top-tier. But, the plans he has released are the most Conservative of any plans released by the other candidates. I can’t vouch for him and say that he would actually follow through… but he may deserve a second look.

Romney would have been better served by not pretending to be the Uber-Conservative in 2008. He is truly more of a north-eastern liberal-ish Republican and by drifting back toward his comfort zone, he has flip-flopped and then flipped again. This doesn’t say much for his core convictions, but it does afford him the chance to draw all sides towards a happy medium. With Romney, that happy medium would be center-right and that would make me happy.

The nomination horse race begins in earnest in January, and truly anything can happen at this point.

I would love some feedback if you’d be willing. I’ve grown to take this political stuff fairly lightly, so I’m more interested in discussion than argument per se. What say youse guys?

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