We had former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson in the office a bit ago. He sat and talked to us for an hour, and I recorded a video (as usual). He was really interesting, the kind of guy you both trust and might trust to do a good job in office. The only problem is recent polls have him below 1 percent.
I know I’m not helping. I have an hour of video I haven’t posted yet (my wife’s birthday had me running up to Quebec for a long weekend, and I just haven’t sat down to process it). But when I look at the primary system I get the feeling such an electable candidate can’t make it far.
Here’s my view on the current hot candidates: Romney is like Kerry in 2004 — he similar name recognition, and evokes a similar lack of enthusiasm. He would be tough for conservatives to get behind.
Then there’s Bachmann, who’s campaign sends me eight emails a day, despite not once coming near my coverage area. She’s a Tea Party favorite, but I’ll be interested to see how centrist voters view Tea Party candidates once this debt ceiling debate winds down. Hardliners appeal to primary voters, but in the general election she’d have a tough time drawing in the center. Nominating here would be akin to voting for Obama, I’d bet.
Huntsman and Johnson could have a shot, but no one knows who they are. Pawlenty and Santorum don’t seem to have gained traction. Gingrich’s campaign began with a flop and has since headed down. Ron Paul has generated excitement (clearly), but he again is like Bachmann—not the kind of guy to win in the general election.
The primary process weeds out the moderates. At the Sun we get the chance to chat with these people, and the people who give reasonable, rational, pragmatic, non-ideological answers are the ones who will never make it anywhere. The most interesting candidate we’ve had so far, the one who could most like give Obama a run for his money, is Johnson. Unfortunately, name recognition is more important than policy positions. Otherwise it could be a real race next November.
Update: This is what I mean—only one candidate for the debt ceiling compromise! Instead the candidates supported self-imposed economic calamity. Scary. November 2012!