Among the blessings we associate with Thanksgiving of spending time with family, eating too much turkey, and preparing for the kick off of the Christmas selling season, we might add one more this year — a blessed couple of days off from the 2012 Presidential race. And if it’s blessed for us, think what it must mean for the candidates.
Due to the searing heat of examination, some are already has-beens. Gov. Rick Perry may do well in front of Texas cameras, but not so much with those geared to a national audience. Not that yours truly would necessarily do any better. I have brain freezes in my living room at home answering questions from my wife. What would it be like facing ultra-bright lights behind which is a studio audience and cameras beaming your words and face worldwide?
Herman Cain and his wife insist he isn’t a sex offender, which is good because if America elects another Bill Clinton to occupy the White House we may as well change our country’s name to Italy.
Still, we must give Clinton his due. No matter how ribald his philandering, there was never a time he couldn’t quickly and intelligently respond to a foreign policy question. Herman Cain wishes he could say that. If he expects to be President, Cain simply must immediately be able to answer a question like the one the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked regarding Pres. Obama’s Libya policy.
Cain is right about one thing. This election is about jobs. But that doesn’t mean foreign policy is a non-issue. A presidential candidate must be on top of international affairs even if the topic isn’t currently uppermost in the minds of the electorate. After he or she is elected, and almost certainly sooner rather than later, a foreign policy issue will present itself front and center and it won’t be something that can be delegated.
With Perry’s and Cain’s poll numbers dropping, Newt Gingrich’s stock is rising. How long that lasts will be a function of how well he handles questions regarding the skeletons in his closet. Freezing in front of a camera or an inability to respond quickly to a foreign policy question won’t be an issue with him. Newt has another problem. Voters tend not to like him all that much.
A book he wrote was on my reading list several years ago during a Thanksgiving trip home. I put it down with the back cover consisting of Newt’s photo facing up. Each relative walked by, spotted Newt’s mug and involuntarily said, “Ugh!”
It is only anecdotal evidence but it told me something about his electability. And now that Gingrich is the latest presumed alternate to Mitt Romney’s front-runner status, he’s in the “gotcha” journalistic crosshairs.
Exposing candidates’ dirty laundry is something of a latter 20th-early 21st century wrinkle. Had they known this was coming, many former presidents would surely have added to their list of Thanksgiving blessings the fact they never had to deal with presidential vetting 2011 style.
Lone' Beasley is publisher of The Ada News.