Honey, Do You Mind Leftovers Tonight?

With the presidential campaign for 2012 starting up with the traditional and time-honored (as well as time-worn) clichés about "examining my options" and "consulting with those leaders of the Republican party that have certainly earned my respect" an evolving list of likely Republican contenders is emerging. 

Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry (who is currently in denial), Jim DeMint, John Thune, Jeb Bush (who is sharing a condo with Rick Perry in denial), Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan ... well, the list just keeps growing.  It keeps growing longer and the likelihood of any new candidate scraping together enough cash and support to not only win the nomination (considering the crowded field), but win in 2012 keeps growing less likely. It is likely that this is the hurdle that forced Mike Pence to remove himself from the list of potential candidates.
Considering the current resident of the White House will be running for re-election to complete his "fundamental transformation of America", the person chosen by the Republican Party must offer more than simply "I Am Not Barack Obama" as a campaign slogan.  He or she must offer evidence that they actually know what they're doing. 

Stipulating that there will never be a perfect candidate, certain criteria should be at the forefront of the selection process.  One criterion for the anti-Obama candidate should be executive experience, either in government or in the private sector.  If the candidate's experience is in the private sector, being able to point to actions taken in turning around a failing company would be a bonus. 

Another criterion would be to publish a logical, and well thought out plan for the reduction of the size and scope of the Federal government.  There are still 21 months to produce such a plan, similar to Paul Ryan's, but touching on regulatory reform, foreign policy statements and government organizational structure.  Mr. Obama is very long on soaring rhetoric, and the best way to pare away these defensive verbal flourishes is to force the debate to be about specific plans, programs and policies.

Finally, the candidate should not be too familiar to the voters. 

How often have all of us heard the question "Honey, do you mind leftovers tonight?" Or if it's our turn to cook, how often have we asked ourselves, "Will the family buy this one more time?" 

It appears we have reached that point on our national political menu.  There are too many potential candidates on the list for those who would like to see a new tenant in the White House to allow the main stream media to reach back into their files and simply reprint the old distortions, half-truths and utter fabrications that they used the last time we had a national election. Serving them up, no matter what special sauce is used to make it more appealing will most likely generate a "Not Again!" response from independent voters. 

Independent voters, particularly those in blue states, are those who will make or break this nation.  Their choice in the voting booth is of supreme importance, and if the Republicans offer "leftovers" one more time, they are likely to rebel, even if that rebellion would be self-destructive.  And at this moment in our nation's history, refusing a "leftover" would mean a lot more than going to bed a little hungry.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, Vietnam veteran and libertarian (small "l").  Jim blogs at jimyardley.wordpress.com/, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com