The Iowa straw poll is out, a poll that is said to be an early make or break for politicians. That is a lot for a poll that is in no way a measure of a candidates popularity but merely shows the veracity of their supporters. The top of the poll this year was Michele Bachmann followed of course by Ron Paul. The results disappointed Tim Pawlenty so much he decided to drop out. The question is why? Bachmann has Tea Party support and Ron has a corner on much of the libertarian and conspiracy folks. The supporters of both candidates come from groups that are willing to put their heart and soul on the line for causes and candidates they believe in. The fact that these two come in 1 and 2 in the straw poll is not a surprise. The simple truth is although it does give a boost to the winners by giving them a higher profile it in no ways is a measure of electability. It is neither a harbinger of getting the Republican nomination nor the presidency. Rick Perry just jumped in and is probably in no way harmed by skipping the affair all together.
Now do not get me wrong, I have nothing against Michele or Ron. The fact is I have not been overwhelmed by any of the candidates. My criteria for selecting a president is simple enough. First they have to pass my 4 step smell test:
- The must have the right philosophy about the role of government. If they do not pass this one everything else does not matter. If you have the wrong philosophy it means the smarter and more effective you are the worse you are for the country.
- You must have proven leadership skills. If you can’t lead you’ll never get anything done. For some politicians this is a net plus (see above) but if they have passed smell test number one that means the more effective the better.
- You have to have common sense. Knowing when to hold em and when to fold as Kenny Rogers once said. Good judgement is essential for the leader of the free world.
- You have to show good character. Admittedly that is a hard one to qualify, it is often at best a judgement call but a important one all the same. If I do not trust you then that puts all the previous three in question.
If they pass the 4 step smell test then I look to their experience and knowledge. These are less important since they can be supplemented by hiring the right people. There is no substitute for 4 qualities listed above.
The truth is the current crop of candidates leave me a bit cold. When submitting them to the smell test I do not necessarily like what I find. Michelle passes number 1 and 4 but I have doubts on number 2 and 3. Ron also pulls up short in my opinion in 2 and sometimes 3. Rick Perry makes me a little uneasy. It is not just that he was once a Democrat or even that he once supported Al Gore, although that definitely gives me pause. There is just something about a man who talks like a pentecostal preacher when he gets in front of a crowd that makes me question his sincerity. Now I have known and liked quite a few pentecostal preachers but even they did not go around talking like they were in front of a pulpit when not in church. Now as far as I know Rick has ever been a preacher which makes his imitations of one seem just a bit off. As far as Newt is concerned, he at times has said things that make me question him on 1 and 4. I am reserving judgement on the rest of the present field but thrill me they haven’t up to this point.
That brings me to Sarah Palin. She is the only potential candidate not in the race at this point. She passes all 4 smell tests but the main stream media have been taking so many drive by shots at her most Americans have discounted her. It is true she shown herself short on knowledge in the past, especially international knowledge, but as I said that is not a fatal flaw. The fact is on some issues like energy she is probably the most knowledgeable of the field. Unfortunately I am not sure she could ever overcome the damaged done by the main stream media which makes her electability questionable. Electability is over course important, this country can not withstand four more years of a President Obama (who by the way flunked all 4 of my smell test).