For G.O.P., End of the Preordained Candidate

The Republican Party is undergoing a big change in how it chooses its leaders.

Comments: 51

  1. Sarah Palin isn't an outsider -- she's the former VP nominee. Under the traditional Republican system, that would make her next in line.

  2. So far, the best option remains "None of the Above".

  3. Which way is the party headed?

    Serving the needs of the corporate elite while fooling a big part of the electorate to vote against their own best interest in order to win elections.

    What else is new? They have been doing that for 30 years and it's working. The corporate elite are getting richer and everyone else poorer but too stupid to realize why.

  4. Democrats, for the past 32 years, have realized what a colossal disaster Republicans have been for our nation. David Stockman, the published Republican, appears to be the only Republican willing to say
    this in public. See his serious article "How My GOP Destroyed the U.S. Economy."

  5. What exactly is Bai's proof that the "preordained candidate" or "next guy in line" dynamic in the GOP will end in 2012? He doesn't really offer anything concrete. I would put the probability of somebody besides Huckabee/Romney/Palin winning the nomination as extremely small.

  6. It is without a doubt the weakest, most pathetic, group of potential Presidential candidates in the country's history, which is saying quite a lot given the typical parade of mannequins, wax museum types, and trolls that have crept out of the Republican cellar as the quadrennial chorus draws near. Obama, as much of a disappointment as he's been, has the good fortune to have drawn a very strong hand here; and, realistically, even if things continue to go poorly for the Administration, he is going to be hard to beat in 2012. If unemployment comes down close to a (putative) 8.0 percent, he'll be unbeatable.

  7. The Republican leadership still dictates policy and candidacy. It is just that there now is new leadership. They dictate differently. Old style moderate thinking, dating back to the Eisenhower-Rockefeller days, now has been stamped out. Beck and Palin style thinking now sets the tone and names the candidates. Adjust to the new leadership or leave. Personally I have left!

  8. Here is a solution that will both negate the Supreme Court decision of Citizens United and level the 'corporate' sponsored elections.


    This would allow everyone to vote on the candidates moving to the general elections from the Republican party, and at the same time recognize the REALITY that we have a de facto one party system at this time in Amerika...anyhow.

    The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Friends...welcome to the new alliance. I only hope that the actual membership of the Democratic party hovers around 100 and 200 persons by the next election.

    I've made my move.

  9. Using this theory, then the last thing anyone wants to be seen as two years out, is the presumed favorite! Who is being informed with this article, New Yorkers who read the Times and are going to vote for Obama? Then New Yorkers, I am hoping you will vote in the Republican primary. Write in Rudolph Guliani. He has fewer divorces than Rush Limbaugh so he is ok on that count and he is a leader. His stand on terrorism ought to balance out his disinterest in the pro life cause, and even if he had the time to convert his heart to the position of his catholic religion the prolifers would convert him, but then say he was a flip flopper. But his stand on terrorism we have seen in action. He has governed a huge city, and you know, its been down hill since then in NY. I wish he would be mayor or governor, and although I did not support him for president last time, I think he is the unifier for the Republicans. The New York Times is hoping that the Republicans will nominate Carl Palidino for President? or someone they can paint to be the same kind of candidate. He won Governor of western NY State in the last election. They would suggest Mitt Romney, but they are not sure if sure which stereotype to portray him with, except that he is not a redneck, so they can't use that one. The Best favor that could be done with the republican candidates would be that they would all support each other and not tear each other down during the primary. The media and the democrats just eat that up.

  10. If the snow-bound streets of NYC are any indication of the distractions detrimental to 2012 campaigning efforts, Obama is a shoo-in...

  11. Democrats already did this in 2008 by nominating Obama while Hillary was supposed to have been the party favorite (xcept those who wanted some one very green that they could then manipulate - Kennedy among them). May be GOP will face the same misfortune that Democrats have done in being behind Obama.

  12. The fact that our choices for President are essentially limited to the often mediocre nominees of the two major parties is no longer acceptable. The office of President should be a non-partisan position with a 6 or 7 year term, not subject to reelection. His/her selection should be accomplished separate from the traditional congressional election cycle by means of a series of primary elections, similar to the selection of a national championship sports team. The end result would be a true winner and champion of (and for) the American people who would have earned the right to be President, not inherited it by being the select representative of an ideology-bound political party. The Constitution needs lots of amending. Lets start with the way the President is elected.

  13. I think that you under estimate the power of the elite in the Republican party Mr. Bai. True the tea baggers staged a mini rebellion but the power elite within the party easily manipulated them to their advantage in the midterms by substantially funding them which has bought them a certain loyalty. A more pressing problem for the Republicans is the weak cadre of potential candidates at this point as there is not a credible individual in the pack. Sarah Palin is the Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton if you prefer of politics. She has no record except as a quitter and is hardly a deep thinker and regardless of her popularity with the cranky far right wingers she has no appeal with moderates or independents. Hucakabee is too "old bible belt" for most other regions of the country especially the northeast and the west. Poor Mitt is an empty suit that flip flops more than McCain. Newt has seen his day come and go so he is yesterday's news. There may be a sleeper in the rest of this rat pack but so far the elite have not embraced any of them and it is reasonable to think that they have had a number of conversations about these prospects. The elite let the last election get out of their control in 2008. McCain may have fit their old white geezer mindset but he showed himself to be an intellectual light weight with the numerous miss-steps in his campaign, the most glaring of which was his pick of Sarah Palin. Finally one cannot ignore the major impact of the gift that the Supreme Court handed to the Republican power elite with Citizens United. We can expect that to be a major tool in shaping public opinion on any candidate that they finally anoint and without this major money tool at their disposal any potential candidate is swimming upstream.

  14. The entire Republican plank has devolved into a play on ignorance and stupidity. They have been pushing most of their ideas for the past decade regardless of whether they work on not. Trickle down economics, healthcare mandates, spreading peace in the middle east by taking out Saddam - those are Republican ideas that have failed spectacularly. They pushed the healthcare mandate onto Pres Obama as a compromise. They also pushed these high risk healthcare pools. People are not signing up for the high risk pools and they don't want the mandate. And their so called trickle down economics lead to rampant income inequality and lead to the worst recession in our lifetime. No matter how they try to spin it, their ideas don't work.

  15. Once again, a well written Bai piece with awful analysis. The Times really misses the mark on analysis pieces.

  16. I know this is naive, but isn't the electorate -- not Mitch McConnell -- supposed to pick the candidate?

    This, too, is naive, but perhaps the Republican Party may want to reconsider its priorities and start investing in education.

  17. Both O'Donnell and Palin have delusions of adequcy and the investigations are defineately not a witch hunt.

  18. The last time the Republicans had a chance to pick a nominee, half the ticket was taken up by a poorly informed person who could not utter a cohesive sentence. This was their choice of the person to potentially lead the United States into the future.

    Meanwhile, they want to privatize Medicare and Social Security, because we all know how much better things go when somebody can make a profit off the most vulnerable. Let's not forget holding up extension of unemployment benefits at Christmas so the wealthiest can continue their tax cuts as part of that mix.

    The bottom line is they have the worst judgment in the world about who should lead us or what their goals should be. Whoever they pick will be make sure the wealthy get theirs, and the rest of us can go fly a kite.

    I plan to work hard to ensure that whoever they pick never sets foot in the Oval Office as our leader.

    Do we really need to give this woman anymore press?
    If you ignore her, she will go away.

  20. Mike Huckabee (has political experience, the ability to focus all involved toward issues at hand with a good-hearted humor rather than contention, and doesn't appear to have completely sold-out to the GOP), Herman Cain (has Wisdom, a correct leadership focus, a righteous resolve, and is politically beholden to no one)

  21. Romney's delegate count in 2008 is irrelevant. He has a massive campaign organization up and running in all 50 states, and he has cultivated an enviable and well-oiled donor network. He has been working hard and quietly since 2008. His religion is a non-issue. Personally, I think he would be very good for the country - whether or not he would be good for my "pet causes" is questionable (ending DOMA), but at this point I'm willing to sacrifice those for the greater good of the country (jobs, jobs, jobs).

    Romney would do well to campaign on his record as Governor of Massachusetts, instead of against it which is the knee-jerk reaction. He would also do well to team up with Senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida. That might be an unbeatable ticket.

  22. Where did a simpleton like G.W. Bush come from? Where did the 4th grade student Sarah Palin come from? Mitt Romney, just listen to the guy, he's missing gray matter. Newt, possibly, he is well educated. Why can't the Republican party find a well qualified presidential candidate? Perhaps it's because the party faithful aren't to brightly lit.

  23. I had this weak hope that after the elections we would watch them try to govern, but instead they started the next election before even being sworn in to this Congress. Is the whole point of our Government to give money making and health benefits to any incompetent who can win an election? When do they address our problems? Or have they decided to jettison the needs of the people in favor of the greed of the elected ones?

  24. I voted Democrat last two elections. I can see myself voting for Huckabee -- assuming his anti-corporate stance keeps up.

  25. Recent evidence shows our system is now unable to provide anything other than corrupt, incompetent, and dishonest political candidates, from either of the major parties. As a consequence, there is no leadership to address our major problems, and as #8 pointed out we have essentially a "one-party" system. Another consequence is the massive waste, fraud, and corruption that are the hallmarks of all government spending, and which pose a threat to national security. Examples are published almost daily in the NYT. The NYT should investigate potential solutions to our critical problem of leadership failure, without which we will become increasingly uncompetitive in the global economy.

  26. All of our history is relevant Mr. Bai, especially the Whiskey and Shays' Rebellions. History may not repeat itself but it is undoubtedly prologue.

  27. Oh for the good old days of real political parties and nominating conventions -- e.g., in 1944, the Democratic "bosses" in the smoke-filled room at CHicago Stadium that dumped Henry Wallace and picked some rube from Missouri named Harry Truman!

    But then...........

  28. I'm not a dyed in the wool Democrat, but I sure wish Republicans could come up with something better than GW to put some pressure on this Obamma administration. Its going to have to be better than family values and anti-abortion. Because after the way GW left the world... Not to mention the Republican controlled supreme court, that did away with prohibitions on Corporate donations to political candidates.

  29. Why are we talking about an election that's nearly two years away? Can't we at least enjoy the new years?

  30. Palin 2012 for GOP President is only fair. She ought to put O'donnel on the ticket to make things interesting. Palin was the VP choice in 2008, sofair is fair

  31. This country is in deep trouble and we all know it. The answers are in knowing out history and restoring the ideals of this country as laid out in the religiously influenced secular laws of freedom in the constitution. Our young people are being attracted to Islam on one hand and are completely blind to the fact they are opening the door to just another theocratic oppression in the form of another culture proclaiming itself to be "superior" and paints our values as "whites only" values or to a progressive agenda that believes in a Utopian ideal that has never succeeded and caused well over 100 million deaths in the last century. Neither party holds the answer, the answer is what has repeatedly brought this country back from the edge of the abyss we are now on. The ideals that founded this country, any other path will result in America being destroyed. Reprogramming our young is no more than teaching them our history, getting them to sit down and listen is almost impossible.

  32. the republicans continue to be their own biggest simply because they refuse to tell the truth.

    the nation hears them state a point in 'no uncertain terms' on a monday and by friday, they are falling all over themselves in efforts to either retract or re-interpret their own statements. and it happens every week.

    if the GOP is serious about winning the presidency in 2012, all they have to do is find someone - ANYONE - who knows how to tell the truth and is willing to do it.

    in fact, if anyone out there - ANYONE - is willing to tell us the truth - ALL THE TIME - they will be able to walk away with the 2012 election. ANYONE from any party, or no party at all, will be able to win over the country if they propose workable, viable, sustainable solutions to the nation's problems, can keep from falsely accusing their opponents and don't make promises that they cannot keep.

    'we the people' simply want honesty, leadership and hard work. yet that appears to be too much to ask, for their is no such candidate on anyone's radar who qualifies at this time.

    our current president tipped the scales for millions of independent voters by promising transparency. he has not delivered or even attempted to deliver on this promise. those of us 'scale tippers' actually do want transparency and will cast our votes with WHOEVER is most likely to bring transparecy and honesty to government.

  33. Paul/Paul 2012

  34. In this new anti-intellectual, Cult of Admired Ignorance America, we need to institute an IQ test score requirement for public office. ......No, wait, some of these candidates would be too impaired to take the test.

  35. The truth is that NOBODY is steering the Republican apparatus.

  36. Far too early to speculate, since the true power brokers, like Rove, Cheney, Ailes/Murdoch and the anonymous money-men, have yet to decide. Their ideal President (i.e. front man) has no mind of her/his own and can be relied on to repeat what the handlers dictate. With Saint Ronnie as their ideal, W was a near perfect match. He met all their goals: the rich got richer and who cares about the rest. Don't expect a break in the pattern or an early reveal, either, since the anointed one will be kept in the attic until Primaries actually get started.

    That said, keep your eye on Dan Quayle. He's campaign tested, vapid, brainless, doctrinaire and has the same language mangling ability as Ronnie and both Bushes. Palin and the TPers are non-starters since they insist on making up stuff on their own. So prepare for a surprise, but don't expect to hear anything Ronnie didn't already bring down from the mountain.

  37. I wish the republicans all the ill will I can muster and all the internal party chaos they can create. Please destroy yourselves, since democrats seem to be incapable of doing it themselves.

    Frankly, with all the new and different political flavors, I think we neeed possibly four or five parties, not two. Now that would shake things up but it is not going to happen.

  38. No taxes- at least lower taxes, less government. Get the government out of peoples lives - health care, medicare/aid, farm aid, etc.....

  39. Unless a colossal donkey-shaped meteor slams into the earth during the next 2 yrs, this should be a glorious time for the Democrats to continue their measured and responsible approach to governing what has disturbingly become a dim-witted country of 'Yes Men'! Ok, half of us anyway (or so the polls will have us believe). You probably know who you are and tend to not care about truth and facts as long as they align with your delusional, selfish and fearful way of living... and yet you somehow embrace a self-perception of exclusivity to a class you are not part of. As for the two party system, it would be reasonable to accept that the average person will never know or fully appreciate what goes on 'behind the scenes' but given the host of new challenges that have emerged on a global scale, my vote and my mind must side with the party that at least seems to embrace values that support the advancement of humanity while trying to make peace with our only environment! Soberingly, that party does not come in the shape of an elephant!

  40. As a Democrat I support a Palin candidacy in 2012. Obama can defeat Palin. I fear though that Romney can defeat Obama. Therefore, if the Republican party's nominee goes according to level headed party insiders, Romney gets the nomination and Romney beats Obama. However, if the nomination goes according to the fervent grassroot nutters, then Palin loses to Obama. Go Palin!

  41. The Republican Party of the last 20 years has done more to divide and polarize this country than anything short of the Vietnam War. The last administration was the culmination of their disastrous policies and left them and America in shambles. They are now scrambling for identification and purpose and, in the process, trying out a variety of approaches, candidates and policies to see which will stick and gain traction. They are a party that lost it's soul and, without a soul, it is difficult to find common purpose and vision.

  42. Unfortunately, the Presidential race will be a race between two major party candidates. It will be interesting to see if the professional left, the sanctimonious left, stays true to its threat to primary President Obama for signing on to the tax cuts for the rich. Lucky for the Democrats, the Republicans who are likely to run for President include too many populist pygmies whose romanticized vision of America seems to date from 1790. The populist tea baggers who gravitate to "pure" extreme candidates with little real world experience may help Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell win primaries when most of the voters are like minded populists, but they cannot win a general election when they need to face more intelligent voters with a broader perspective on life.

    However, politics means dealing with reality. If unemployment is still high in 2012, if health care reform does not cut rising insurance premiums and if the housing market has not recovered, the 2012 race may be a simple referendum on President Obama.
    The nation got Ronald Reagan in 1980 because of high inflation, high interest rates, and Iranian hostage crisis and a "malaise" that Jimmy Carter could not handle. Even with all that, the Reagan-Carter race was relatively close, and it is far from clear that Reagan would have won if the economy was stronger or even if there was no Iranian hostage crisis. So, no matter how small the Republican competition, President Obama needs to make sure the economy improves before November 2012.

  43. My suggestion is that we start immediately concentrating on the ideas and practical solutions that will get us unstuck. that means, i don't want to hear about the campaign for 2012 and i'll warrant no other american wants to hear it, either.
    the american people are in terrible trouble and we are not at all interested in someone's big house or how luxury goods are doing, or what the style is this year.
    the "style" is not living in the street. where, by the way, no one should be living. remember, when we didn't have that problem.
    i would also suggest that we stop blaming teachers for being unable to teach the unteachable. (have you visited a classroom in progress, lately).
    and, send a memo to president obama to stop smiling and concerning himself with ex-cons when we have cities that are in default, or wastelands like detroit.

  44. For decades, the Republicans have been making deals with the devil, selling their souls piece by piece for short-term political gain. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” established the G.O.P. as the party of America’s racists, a group which now seethes with barely controlled hatred not only for blacks but for Hispanic immigrants and Muslims. By pandering to extremist religious and social conservatives, the Republicans have made themselves the political home of those who oppose equal rights and opportunities for a huge percentage of the population: women and gays. By allowing libertarians to impose their radical anti-tax and anti-regulatory agenda, they have become the party of greed, of free-market recklessness, of fiscal irresponsibility, and of disdain for poor, working-class and middle-class Americans.

    The turkeys to whom the Republicans have gradually ceded control of their party are finally coming home to roost. Watching them tear each other to shreds while picking their next candidate for President promises to be disgusting and depressing as well as entertaining.

  45. The GOP's problem today is that it is really two parties: the Republican Party proper and the Tea Party. That they have coalesced is more a function of rhetoric's influence than of any actual political affinity: Tea Partyers in 2010 apparently believed the GOP's promises of "less taxes" and "smaller government." But the record shows that, in its own way, the GOP has favored big, intrusive and expensive government (e.g. Patriot Act, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Bush bailouts, War on Drugs, etc.). Thus, to a Tea Partyer, the GOP is just a pale shade more conservative than the Democratic Party -- the lesser of two evils. This can not be the basis of a productive and unified political movement.

  46. The Republicans bark loudly because they complain about Obama and use fear tactics. But they offer no solutions.

    Where were they when Bush ran our country into the ground from 2000 - 2008 with: the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (based on a lie), the financial market crashing, the housing market crumbling, Hurricane Katrina. They gained many seats in the House (because people get amnesia) and now the burden is on their shoulders to prove something to the public. If they don't get anything accomplished, they will be out the door in two years. It is not in their best interest to put anyone up yet because it is too premature. They haven't done anything yet.

    Obama's approval numbers are up, and they have an uphill battle. It will be hard to beat an incumbent Democratic president especially when he is doing well. In 2008, Republicans criticized Obama for being "too far to the left". Obama has shown that he's willing to compromise. Their argument is done.

    I think Sarah Palin will be the perfect GOP candidate to secure an Obama 2012 victory.

  47. More interesting question is who the Democratic nominee for President will be in 2012.

  48. Let's focus journalism on issues and solutions. What does this guy have to offer? Cut out the celebrity angle.

  49. Mitt has had plenty of time and plenty of opportunities to define himself but he has chosen not to do so. Therefore, he is history.

    It is safe to say that the GOP has no obvious candidate for president in 2012. It follows that Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Sara Palin are the GOP’s default presidential nominees. Of the three, I like Ron Paul. If Dennis Kucinich gets redistricted out of his seat in Ohio, a Paul/Kucinich ticket is something I would vote for.

  50. Both parties still do it, and will always do it.

    It's up to us voters not to blindly accept their choices.

    Both parties continue to harm and fail us -- while working and rewarding only the wealthy and their corporate owners.

    We should not reward them for these actions with our votes, and with continued power. It's like paying people to beat you.

  51. The Republican/Tea Party has no credible presidential candidate right now who can match up against President Obama in 2012.

    Despite everything that's happened over the past 2 years, and even before accomplishments of the recent "lame duck" session President Obama appears to be in good shape politically according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll out on 12/15.

    In a generic match-up, with respondents asked to choose between voting to re-elect President Obama or his Republican opponent, Obama leads by 3 points, 42% to 39%, with an additional 10% saying it depends who the opponent is.

    However, when given a named challenger, the poll shows President Obama doing even better, leading prominent Republicans in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups. Against Mitt "Flip-Flopper" Romney, the lead is 7 points, 47% to 40%. Against Sarah "Half-Term" Palin, it’s 22 points, 55% to 33%. And against Senator John Thune, it’s 20 points, 47% to 27%.

    It's pretty sad and pathetic for the Republican/Tea Party when a named candidate does worse than "generic."

    Perhaps someone will emerge who's intelligent, young, honest, idealistic, and inspiring and can pose a credible challenge. Whoa, what am I thinking - we're talking about the Republican/Tea Party. Nah, it'll never happen.