This is an admittedly silly exercise. But everyone is doing it, so screw it. Here's my take on the GOP presidential candidates. Most of my thoughts will probably sound like what the rest of the media is saying but I can't help it if some of what is said is true.
Michele Bachmann-- Has proven herself as more than Palin-lite. Of course, I never liked Palin and I don't much care for Bachmann either. Her limited government rhetoric would probably only go so far as spending if she were president, probably has more standard issue hawkish Republican views and would probably not care much for civil liberties she didn't like. Also can't admit when she misspeaks. Assigns blame to media when she makes a mistake, rather than admit it and move on. A very Palin trait.
Mitt Romney-- Romneycare would be far less of a liability in the general election than the primary. He looks presidential and doesn't come across as too batty (sorry Bachmann). His coming from the business world would probably be a strength if the economy and unemployment rate stay dire. Not so sure it should be though since most of his business experience was with streamlining and firing rather than hiring. Not that I really believe that government can create private sector jobs anyway...
Ron Paul--- Has certainly had an impact on the past few years. Libertarian ideas would play very well with the public in a general election if Republicans would get behind them. Still, Paul is very clumsy in his speaking and, as much as I respect him, goes very off track during some lines of questioning. It would be much better if libertarian ideas were presented by someone more like...
Gary Johnson--Has been royally screwed in this process so far, as with his exclusion from the most recent debate. Did admittedly come across as very squirrely in the first debate but could improve. Too bad the media narrative has in essence put up a ceiling for him. Built up a construction business from practically nothing to one that employed over 1,000 people. Also an athlete who has climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Two term governor of New Mexico so he's a libertarian with executive experience, and a record that matches with his beliefs. He is also more popular in his state than most of the other former governors running are in their states. With a story and credentials like that, only a Republican party still clinging to the last vestiges of its social conservative element would write him off like this.
Jon Huntsman-- Would be a great general election candidate. Not angry enough for most primary voters but the right temperament for the office. Ambassador to China is a nice bit of experience and so what if it was under Obama? It wasn't like he was a cabinet member or something. Seems to have had a decent record of policies in Utah that promoted growth. As far as cap and trade and civil unions, I doubt this election is going to be decided on those things and I doubt either of those are high on the average American's list of concerns. Too bad I can't say that for the average GOP primary voter with any certainty.
Rick Perry -- Probably does stand a good chance for the nomination if he enters the race. Could appease several disparate parts of the party. The specter of Cameron Todd Willingham should be something that is brought up, but appearing tough on crime seems more important than justice to many on the right. Doubt any Republican campaigns will bring it up if he runs. If he won, would Obama's campaign bring it up?
Herman Cain-- Probably one of the best candidates running as far as delivery. A wonderful voice. As far as what that voice says on policy... well...seems like he's still working on that at times.
Tim Pawlenty-- An Esquire profile of Jon Huntsman featured a quote by his chief strategist about Pawlenty. Might be the most accurate description I've heard of him so far: "There's nothing worse than seeing a nice guy pretend that he's angry."
Rick Santorum-- Even in a GOP primary race, this election isn't going to be decided by who is the most pro-life, anti-gay rights candidate. So Santorum needs to calm down before his veins explode.