GOP Presidential Hopes Having a Tough May

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MACON, GA - MAY 13: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the keynote speaker during the Georgia Republican Party Victory Dinner on May 13, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. Gingrich announced Wednesday his candidacy to run for the Republican Presidental nomination in 2012. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

MACON, GA – MAY 13: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the keynote speaker during the Georgia Republican Party Victory Dinner on May 13, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. Gingrich announced Wednesday his candidacy to run for the Republican Presidental nomination in 2012. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti
May is just over half over, but it’s already been a bruising month for GOP Presidential aspirations. Two major names have dropped out, one major name has opted in and has already needed to issue an apology to a fellow Republican and a fourth might get a boost from a musical from the creators of South Park. Overall, May has not been a banner month so far.

All of us know that in politics, change can come at lightning speed. However, if the GOP hopes to present an effective and unified nominee to compete with President Barack Obama next year, they better hope for a cheerier June.

Both Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee announced that they will not run for President this week. For most rank and file Republicans, the end of the Trump circus had to come as a relief. However, the fact that a reality TV show personality was able to suck that much oxygen out of the GOP presidential discussion cannot be a good sign.

Huckabee’s decision was probably not met with the same collective sense of relief from Republicans. While likely not a serious contender for the nomination, he was the most serious candidate that would have kept social conservative issues at the forefront of the primary campaign. His absence will affect how social issues are addressed.

Newt Gingrich ended weeks of speculation this week by declaring his candidacy and less than a week into his campaign, he issued an apology to fellow Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, for referring to his budget plans as ‘radical change’. Besides not getting out of the gate at a full gallop, the apology also immediately raises doubts about where Gingrich is on budget issues compared to other Republicans. Ryan’s budget in no way represents the entire party, but it certainly has done more to symbolize tough budget cuts than any other GOP idea. To come right out and call it ‘radical’ hands Congressional Democrats a hammer when it comes time to negotiate the 2012 budget.

Gingrich forgot Ronald Reagan’s 11th amendment, “Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican”. Gingrich will recover, but no one wants to start a Presidential campaign backpedaling.

Mitt Romney is one of the big names that is still currently in the race. However, besides Health Care Reform being a double edged sword for his campaign, more questions about America’s acceptance of his Mormon faith continue to dog him.

In fact, the Mormon questions are still a big enough issue that some in the blogosphere are wondering if the popularity of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s new musical, “The Book of Mormon”, will actually help Romney. It’s a ludicrous idea, on the same level as asserting the Mel Brooks movie, History of the World Part I gave a great PR boost to Catholicism. However, the fact that it is even being proposed shows the weak position Romney is currently in.

The Republican Party will officially anoint their nominee in less than 15 months, but the real primary season starts in less than six months. Six months is not a long time for a Republican candidate to not only stand out among his or her GOP colleagues, but also raise the predicted one billion dollars it will take to compete with President Obama.

I’ve covered politics long enough to know that anything can happen, even in a short amount of time. But I also know the value of momentum and that you cannot win a marathon in a sprint.

If the GOP is going to somehow make Obama a one term President, one of their candidates better catch fire soon, or the party’s hopes of reclaiming the White House will be up in smoke.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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