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Examining the 2012 GOP Candidates’ Chances of Getting Nominated

The primary field of Republican candidates get sized up on their ability to lead the country in 2012

Over the past several months, the contest for the Republican presidential nomination has resembled a cross between reality TV drama and a mixed martial arts match.

With the Iowa Caucus less than a week away, the call for intra-party unity to focus on making President Obama a one-term occupant of the White House has now given way to heavy-duty political sniping among the primary field. For instance, take this bitter exchange between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The former Massachusetts Governor recently rejected Gingrich’s demand that he use his influence to get supportive super PACs (political action committees) to pull attack ads against the ex-House Speaker. Romney’s response: “If you can’t stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait until the Obama hell’s kitchen turns up the heat.” Gingrich countered, pushing for a one-on-one, no-holds-barred debate: “Let’s test this kitchen.”

Well, GOP voters began their grading process as early as April. And polling data seemed to produce a new front-runner each month—in fact, a few such selections were simply mind-boggling. There’s one consistency among this year’s crop of candidates: Not one has a grand vision for America’s future. Each ultimately plans to gain the presidency by convincing the electorate to vote against Obama instead of voting for his or her platform.

The race has proven to be, in many cases, wacky, ludicrous and combative. In fact, The Boston Herald characterized the pool of candidates as being the “clown car” field. Check out these highlights:

  • Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann—who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August by a close margin over Texas Rep. Ron Paul—and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania tried to backtrack after signing a pledge for “traditional family values” that also stated that “a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
  • Herman Cain, originator of the “999″ tax reform plan, dominated the polls in late September and early October but was forced to “suspend” his campaign after dealing with claims of sexual misconduct, an alleged extramarital affair and foreign policy gaffes (who could forget his explanation—“We need a leader, not a reader”—for his lack of knowledge).
  • Another former front-runner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, had the fumbling “Oops” moment at the Nov. 9 Tampa, Florida debate when he couldn’t remember which agency he would eliminate in addition to Commerce and Education. (It was the Department of Energy, by the way).  As a campaigner who suffers from spurts of verbal dyslexia, his standing plummeted like an anvil.
  • Donald Trump, another one-time GOP pack leader and America’s leading birther, was forced to cancel his Dec. 27 debate after only two candidates were willing to risk being associated with a presidential version of “The Apprentice.” The Donald recently dumped his GOP affiliation to leave open the possibility of running for the White House this year as an independent.
  • After Gingrinch’s campaign gained momentum this month, Romney began characterizing him as being “zany” and recently compared his organization’s inability to get on the ballot for the March 6 Virginia primary – Gingrich’s home state – to “Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory,” referring to the popular episode of the ’50s sitcom “I Love Lucy” that displayed her character’s comic ineptitude.

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