•Cain’s performance at last night’s debate (about which I tweeted) was all right, but even better was his (real) singing performance, doing John Lennon’s “Imagine” years ago, with lyrics rewritten to laud pizza. A friend of mine thinks that instead of being embarrassing, this performance may be the Cain equivalent of Clinton’s legendary sax performance. The moderate view would be that it is like a sax performance but risks being seen by voters as less like Clinton and more like Homer Simpson going “Sax-a-ma-phone...sax-a-ma-phooooone.” But that beats socialism.
•Another friend of mine says he’s now rooting for Romney on the grounds that “generic Republican” fares well against Obama in surveys, and Romney is the most generic Republican we’ve got. That may be true – sadly, though, that means that for all the ideological tumult of the past three years, we’re somehow pretty much back in 2008, which Republicans all seemed keen not to repeat.
I think the libertarian grassroots are backing Paul, the social conservatives briefly loved Perry, the GOP establishment’s backing Romney, the Koch brothers are purportedly pro-Cain, I think the Reason staffers (and after his visit to Occupy Wall Street yesterday, perhaps some protesters) are mostly pro-Johnson, and last I knew John Fund (sometimes) of Wall Street Journal liked Bachmann. And, like Palin, I still have a weird soft spot for Gingrich, even if he’s not libertarian and treats his wives like disposables.
But I’m going to cross Santorum and Huntsman off the list, I think. So now we’re getting somewhere. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t be as nuts as some of the others, really. And so the churning continues.
(My real prediction: by the end of January, we’re down to a three-man race between Romney, Cain, and Paul, with the likely ticket being Romney/Cain.)
•If you’re the kind of (annoying) person who insists that people who fail to take an extreme position to your liking must secretly hold the exact opposite extreme position (he’s not a pacifist, so he must love death and mayhem, etc.), please take note that I am probably sincere in my claims to be moderate/indifferent on abortion if the only two Republican candidates I really like are (very pro-life) Ron Paul and (very pro-choice) Gary Johnson.
And any leftists (or for that matter, rightists) who claim they understand the right but have a hard time wrapping their heads around that should not speak or write in public.
•Though frickin’ Iowa is planning a Jan. 3 caucus, frickin’ New Hampshire might rush to a Dec. 6 primary – giving New England’s Romney a super-blowout primary victory (polling at like 40% there now vs. roughly single digits for all others) before people have had time to get sick of him or witness someone else possibly beating him in a primary (whereas Cain was leading in Iowa and South Carolina last time I checked).
Then again, if they hold the New Hampshire primary earlyenough, maybe people will actually have time to forget about Romney conquering there, in which case, 2012 could be like a brand new year.
•Alas, I, like Grover Norquist and Mark Steyn, am sufficiently frightened of Cain introducing a national sales tax – and perhaps failing to reduce other taxes – that in truth I’m not even sure I should be rooting for Cain to beat Romney. Absent some evidence of Romney, Cain, or Perry being near-perfect, I see no strategic reason yet to abandon my quixotic intention to root for (and vote for) Ron Paul. This is sort of what happened in 2008. Here I sit, fairly moderate and pragmatic, I swear, but the GOP fails to give me any reason to prefer the non-radicals in the race. So I stick to principle, in my compromising pragmatic way.
•I think most people have forgotten about the Libertarian Party this year, but I notice one candidate for their prez nomination makes an unusual vow (there had to be at least one): If he becomes commander in chief, he will lead the troops from the front lines to prove that he would not ask any of the men to do something he would not do himself. I don’t think that would end well.
•In other radical news, down at Occupy Wall Street, NR’s Kevin Williamson finds little aside from hardcore Marxists, a Clintonian moderate-Democrat pollster finds pretty much the same, Gary Johnson at least has a nice friendly conversation with an MSNBC contributor, people in high places help the rebellious rabble, and a friend of mine suggests printing out and distributing this flyer to educate the protesters.