Republican candidates are slower than usual getting their presidential campaign ticket punched. This column will help you decide who to support, or oppose. Or not. Will their neighbors vote for them? How do they stand on issues such as domestic energy, defense, efficiency in government, and social and economic issues?
Can they satisfy both traditional Repubs and those to the far right? The national news media will continue to harp on a split between those two factions.
Here is an early look as they prepare to "board" for the biggest flight of their lives;
In the COCKPIT, the driver's seat for now; Mitt Romney (63 years old, from Massachusetts and yes, he has written a book). FIRST CLASS -- Tim Pawlenty (50, MN, yes). They both have "baggage," but who doesn't? Some small minded people opposed Romney's last effort merely because he is a Mormon. Pawlenty wasn't the best Governor in Minnesota's history, but he seems to be establishing a first class operation in Iowa.
COACH -- Herman Cain (65, FL, yes); Rick Santorum (52, PA, yes).
BAGGAGE (too much) -- Newt Gingrich (67, GA, has written 24 books!); Sarah Palin (46, AK, yes); Michelle Bachmann (54, MN, she is planning a book, but there already is a comic book about her); Haley Barbour (63, MS, yes); Roy Moore (64, AL, yes); Donald Trump (64, NY, yes) - he aborted his "hair-brained, ego trip.
On STANDBY --Chris Christie (48, NJ, none); Jon Huntsman (51, UT, none); John Bolton, of the "milk" mustache (62, MD, yes); Gary Johnson (58, NM, yes).
These might just as well take the BUS - Ron Paul (75, TX, yes), although he will have a following of those who want to throw away their vote; Fred Karger (61, CA, yes); Charles "Buddy" Roemer (67, LA, yes).
Might catch a later flight; Bobby Jindal (39, LA, yes); Mike Huckabee (55, AR, yes); John Thune (50, SD, no); Mike Pence (51, IN, no); Jeb Bush (57, FL, no); Mitch Daniels (61, IN, none).
Some very influential (in Iowa) Repubs have a date next week with Governor Christie of New Jersey to try to convince him to throw his hat in the ring. Some of them are those who were not satisfied with the candidates for governor and convinced Terry Branstad to run again, thereby ending 12 years of Democrat control.
I would like to see Christie enter the race, learn more about Huntsman, and hear much less about those with so much baggage they couldn't beat Obama even if they get the nomination.
Don't count Al Queada out just because the "head of the snake" has been chopped off. When you pull your hand out of a bucket of water (or in this case excrement) it always fills in quickly.
U.S. automakers are having a banner year in 2011, but not in San Francisco, the fourth largest city in California. On April 29, the last domestic car dealership within city limits, San Francisco Ford and Lincoln, closed its showroom doors and began winding down its repair and service operations, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Business had fallen off so much over the past few years that Ford Motor Co. itself had taken over the operation from its previous owner, but even support from the mother ship couldn't keep it afloat.
Foreign automakers, including BMW, Honda, Scion and Smart, all continue to run what appear to be thriving dealerships in the area, as San Franciscans increasingly pledge their allegiance to import brands. Even the site of the last General Motors dealership to shut down in the city -- Ellis Brooks Chevrolet -- is soon to be the home of a new mega-showroom for Nissan/Infiniti.
Some residents of an Iowa City street are upset because they could soon be caught between the Iowa River and a proposed 10-foot-high levee. Those owners have been offered buyouts, for the city's priority is to remove people from flood-prone areas and to try to protect as many people as possible. It is called triage, folks. It's like cutting off your leg to save your life.
When the Corps of Engineers blew up a section of the levee near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, from the Mississippi River it flooded thousands of acres, much of it rich farmland. Sacrifice a few to save many, but it is a temporary fix. For the long term, these and many similar acres should be purchased and put into permanent preserves. And, homes along flood prone rivers should be bought up, too. Spend a bunch now to save a bigger bunch later.
It is called PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.
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