Paths to the White House

The idea here is to argue a plausible case for how a specific candidate is planning (IYO) to get through the nomination and general election process. You must supply specific choices and barriers: for example, it’s not enough to say “Romney will win.” You want to say, instead, that Romney will outspend the competition massively in Iowa and New Hampshire and fight hard for the remaining “liberal” Republican voters in those two states, while Bachmann, Tim-Paw, et al. divide the Tea Party vote between them, making a 24% finish in Iowa and a 36% finish in NH stand up for third and first respectively. His strategy is to paint Obama as in over his head economically while keeping away from personal attacks, and to be perceived as a gentleman in this crowd of mouth-breathing hater morons who collectively win over 60% of the pubbie primary votes. Romney’s fighting for a majority of the other 40%. With over 30% of the total delegates going into the convention, he convinces a rival who is probably not up to the job anyway (Bachmann) to be his running mate and this is sufficient to nail down the nomination. In the general, the Tea Party is alienated but Bachmann wins a few votes back for him, while Obama is unable to get the economy back on track and his core voter base is apathetic. In a low voter-turnout election, Romney-Bachmann squeak out a narrow victory.

Your go.

Hmm, no one? OK, I’ll use my free bump here, to speculate on Huntsman’s strategy, as suggested here: I agree Huntsman at this point is shooting for 2016, but he may also be hoping for a VP slot on some Tea Party candidate’s ticket, either Perry or Bachmann. This would give publicity for a 2016 run, raise his public profile, make him look good in contrast to the Presidential nominee, give him cred as a good Party guy who helped make a 2012 run more viable, and offset the damage he did to himself by serving as Obama’s ambassador (he can then say, “I do what I think will do my country and my party the most good, without regard to ideology–I do what’s asked of me,” etc.) It’s not a bad strategy, and of course if he’s elected VP, he’s got a leg up for 2020, which isn’t bad for someone who was virtually unknown nationally in 2010.

There is, IMO, an extremely low liklihood of Huntsman getting a VP nod from any TP candidate. Romney might look his way, but he’s more likely to need to swing the other way (get a more TP-friendly ticket-mate).

As to the OP, I’d say that Perry’s path to the White House is to shut up (no more talk of lynching the Fed Chairman, for example), win Iowa on his mo, write off NH, and hope that big wins in the Southern states is enough to force Romney out (or at least dry up his support enough that the king-makers force him out).

Bachmann’s path is to out-debate Perry, win Iowa, and beat Perry in NH. With a little assist from Perry himself (maybe he actually embraces his book and calls to eliminate SS and Medicare), she wins in SC and out-duels Romney on Super Tuesday. With a lead going into the winner-take-all states the party rallies behind her. OK, so it’s a bit far-fetched…

Romney’s path is the same as it ever was. Count on the fundamental unelectability of the rest of the candidates (Perry, Bachmann, and Palin in particular) and his position as heir-apparent. Win NH, win Nevada, and rack up some delegates on Super Tuesday. Then win all the more moderate winner-take-all states after March 1.

You’re too caught up in the moment of Republican primaries…the second any TP candidate has clinched the nod, problem 1A is going to be convincing independents and moderates that he/she is NOT the dangerous right-wing nutjob he/she has been posing as for months and months. Solution to problem 1A is VP Huntsman.

Since when has any TP candidate ever cared about not looking like a nutjob?

They’ll care when the Presidency is within sniffing distance. Remember… crazy, not stupid.

I buy this. Do you suppose that if Perry or Bachmann somehow (I don’t quite see how yet) get the nomination they’ll pick each other as VP and try to make the country TP supporters? Much likelier they’ll go for a moderate and try to downplay that choice to their base.

Bachmann is a complete wild card in that I don’t think her staff knows what she’s going to say most of the time. But I think Perry’s too crafty to choose another TPer. He’ll pick somebody like Hunstman and tell his supporters that he’s doing it to bring all view points into his administration. Then he’ll make some crack like “But, I’ll be the one in charge.”

Exactly–so that’s going to be Huntsman in 2012–as a possible VP candidate, with an eye towards building his name-recognition for future elections, enabling him to seem smart, honest, open, especially in contrast to this crowd of fundy-loving pols who wouldn’t say shit if they had a mouthful.

But how do the others see a path to the nomination? What’s Perry’s plan, for example, beyond just picking a more moderate VP, if he gets that far. Does he keep insisting that he stands by the loopy things he says his book (I love the title “F’ed up”) or does he start backtracking? Is he going to say WHAT he would do to fix social security, or is going to continue double-talking around the subject, demagoging it endlessly? Can he sustain that strategy into the general election?

They didn’t care when several Senate seats were within sniffing distance. I fail to see how the Presidency will be any different.

Perry will probably tone it down, admittedly, but he’s not a TPer, he just plays one on TV. I’m not convinced he has any political convictions at all beyond “maximize the power held personally by Rick Perry”.

Perry and Bachmann have a dance to perform. On one hand they have to act crazy enough to win the tea baggers. On the other hand they have to seem sane enough to appeal to mainstream Republican voters. It requires a wink telling them they really don’t want to enact the wild bagger mandates . They are saying what they have to say to keep them on board. But once elected ,they will use their power like a sane adult.
Romney has to convince the party that he is the only one that can oust Obama. If he can not, he can’t play crazy enough to get the nomination.
The rest don’t matter.

If a Tea Partier is the nominee and get routed, will the GOP soul search the ways Dems did post Dukakis?

It’s hard to say. Their reaction to getting thumped in 2006 and 2008 was to double down, and that pretty well worked. I don’t know if one bad cycle coming off of the good 2010 cycle will convince them to move back to the middle or not.