Casey Stengel set the standard of excellence for Major League baseball managers when he was the skipper of the New York Yankees. DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and company would have made anybody look good. When Stengel took a job across town, managing the expansion team, the New York Mets, his team set a standard for losing that has seldom been surpassed -- causing Casey to throw up his hands in dismay and ask the rhetorical question, "Can't anybody here play this game?"People who are closely following the race to see which Republican candidate will challenge Barack "We've just been unlucky!" Obama in next year's presidential race are probably asking a similar question about the slate of candidates from which they are being asked to choose.
Polls show that any unnamed candidate could unseat the current POTUS. The problem the Republicans face is that they can't use an anonymous candidate. They have to name one. Consider the current list at their disposal.
Newt Gingrich. If we can have a Barack for president I suppose we could have a Newt, but this one simply has too much baggage. No doubt, the former speaker of the House has a brilliant political mind, but Americans have shown time after time after time that they don't vote for a candidate because of his political mind. In the most recent Gallup Poll, Newt failed to even cut paper. Sarah Palin pulled 11 percent and she isn't even in the race. I think most of the people polled thought that Sarah Palin was actually Tina Fey in disguise, however, which might account for her continued popularity.
The bottom line is that Newt -- and Sarah -- are both unelectable.
Herman Cain is a local favorite with great name recognition in Georgia -- primarily because he spent so much time filling in for Neal Boortz on WSB radio that he got his own show for a while. Herman is popular on the campaign trail, primarily because he speaks from the heart and wants to apply logic and common sense to politics. If people won't cast a vote based on the intelligence of the candidate they sure as heck won't cast one based on common sense. Herman is polling at a paltry 5 percent and is, quite frankly, already relegated to also-ran status. And let's face it -- nobody who has substituted for Neal Boortz is ever going to be president of the United States.
Michele Bachmann is the darling of the Tea Party movement, but the national media has hijacked the message of the Tea Party and has painted the entire group with the same brush. In doing so they have convinced a large percentage of the uninformed that the whole group -- and by association, anybody they support -- must be a part of the right wing lunatic fringe. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bachmann on the Republican ticket, however, as someone's running mate.
Ron Paul continues to pull in the same 9 or 10 percent of former Ross Perot supporters, but he is a one-trick pony with no chance, whatsoever, of being nominated or elected. There are a couple of other candidates whose names no one outside their respective families would recognize -- Santorum and Huntsman -- but they are just running for the exercise.
Which leaves us with two hats left in the ring. One is actually a Boston Red Sox baseball cap, the other a 10 gallon Stetson.
Mitt Romney, runner-up to John McCain in the 2008 Republican sweepstakes, had been the front runner in the polls for much of the spring and summer and most political pundits seem to think that once the dust has settled and all of the skeletons are out of all the closets, Romney will be the last man standing and will face President Obama in November 2012.
The cowboy hat belongs to Rick Perry, current Texas governor, who has surged, over the past couple of weeks, to a nine-point lead over Romney in the most recent Gallup Poll listing possible Republican candidates. Perry was preferred by 25 percent of those polled. Romney drew support from 14 percent. Keep in mind, this was a list of possible candidates and included names like Palin and that of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, neither of whom has announced as a candidate.
But at this stage of the game it looks like either Romney or Perry will carry the Republican banner into battle next year. Romney is polished and button-downed and, to be brutally honest, boring. But he's been through the wars before and learned a lot of lessons the hard way and will be a formidable opponent.
Perry has yet to be exposed to the scrutiny of the public eye and it remains to be seen if he will flourish or wilt under the harsh limelight.
I don't know whether the Republicans and independent voters will embrace Perry or not, but I know what the Democrats will say. "He is just what we don't need -- another Texan who will ruin the economy, destabilize the government and get us bogged down in an endless foreign war."
But don't worry y'all. I've studied Rick Perry, and despite what the Democrats might say, he is no LBJ.
I believe the Republic would be safe in his care. I've always said that politics is one of my favorite spectator sports. I can't wait to see how the next 14 months play out.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.