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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More on the GOP Presidential Race : The 'Invisible Primary', Ryan's Run, and Buffett's Slam

1. What is the invisible primary and who's winning on the GOP side ?

Jay Cost tells us in THE WEEKLY STANDARD :

While a few “insurgent,” anti-establishment candidates captured the nomination early on (George McGovern and Jimmy Carter), since 1980, every presidential nominee of both parties has been perfectly satisfactory to the party establishment. Indeed, with the exception (possibly) of Barack Obama in 2008, it is very conceivable that all the same candidates would have been chosen if the old convention selection procedures were still in place.
According to political scientists Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel, and John Zaller, this is not an accident. What we have seen in the last 40 years is the rise of an invisible primary, in which the party establishment settles upon a favored candidate:

    The invisible primary is essentially a long-running national conversation among members of each party coalition about who can best unite the party and win the next presidential election. The conversation occurs in newspapers, on Sunday morning television talk shows, among activist friends over beer, in chatter at party events, and, most recently, in the blogosphere.
How can we tell who is the winner of the invisible primary? Money, for one. The candidate who raises the most money is also the one who likely has the strongest support among the well-heeled party elite. Another strong indication is endorsements from public officials, which are an outward sign of how strongly a candidate is performing in this behind the scenes conversation.

Every cycle, we see a few candidates run without regard to the invisible primary. Lacking money, endorsements, or local organizations, they soldier on anyway, hoping against hope that something will break their way. In that category this year, we can place Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum – and potentially Jon Huntsman. Ron Paul similarly lacks support from the traditional sectors that participate in the invisible primary, and instead relies on his group of hard-core believers for funds and boots on the ground. Ultimately his lack of establishment bona fides will – when push comes to shove – keep him in the second tier.

That leaves Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney. Perry and Romney are both clearly on track at this point to dominate the invisible primary, which means that the Republican electorate will likely get to choose between these two next winter.
2. Ryan's preparing to run ?

Stephen Hayes tells us that 'GOP Bigs Push Paul Ryan to Run : Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, John Boehner, Jim Jordan, and Bill Bennett encourage Ryan to run for president.'

As Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan comes to a final decision about running for president, several top national conservatives are encouraging him to join the race. Ryan, who has been seriously but quietly considering a presidential bid for several months, is expected to decide on a run in the next two weeks.

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels hopes he runs. “If there were a Paul Ryan fan club, I'd be a national officer,” Daniels said in a phone interview Wednesday morning.

“I don't think it's a secret that he was strongly encouraging me to try. I've been strongly encouraging him to run as well. He has all the qualities our party needs to be emphasizing in these elections. He can explain—and is willing to explain—in plain English why today's policies are a disaster for the middle class, and he has the smarts to go toe-to-toe with the people who are saying misleading things about the proposals that he’s put out there.”

That’s a view that is likely to matter. Ryan has said that his decision to reconsider a presidential bid came only after Daniels called him to say that he had decided against a run. The two men share a belief that reducing our national debt—and reforming the entitlements that are growing it—must be at the center of the presidential debate in 2012. Ryan told a Milwaukee radio station on Friday that he is unsatisfied with the current Republican field and disappointed the current crop of candidates has not gotten specific with their proposals.
3. Buffett Slams Today's GOP Prez Hopefuls.

Congressman Ryan isn't isn't the only one dissatisfied with the "current crop".  Add Warren Buffet to that growing list (though with all due respect to some commentators, the Oracle of Omaha did not literally call the GOP candidates "pathetic" on Charlie Rose last Monday).

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