“Who’s Next: The Cowboy or the Thug?”

It’s not a very impressive Republican field for President for 2012.

Even Republicans are less than enamored by the current slate of candidates hopeful of becoming President.

And for good reason. Though things have changed, they’ve remained the same since I wrote the first article in the “Is That All You’ve Got?” Series.

Front runner, Mitt Romney, the apparent heir to the nomination in normal Republican politics, struggles to retain 30% even with this weak field.

There have been over 20 Republican presidential aspirant’s. Over half have either fallen off or declined to run. It has become a comedy of sorts and those remaining are doing stand-up.

But there is still hope among Republican powerbrokers. Several factions of the party have been actively courting two rising GOP stars trying to get them to throw their proverbial hats into the ring.

So, who’s next?

Will it be the Cowboy or the Thug that saves the Republican party from total chaos?

The praying goat-roper from Texas announced his run for the presidency on Saturday in South Carolina before heading to New Hampshire. He’ll miss the Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, but will be in Waterloo on Sunday.

Despite the coaxing of several groups urging him to run, the overweight, undisciplined thug from New Jersey, has not yet succumbed to any of their entreaties. Efforts to recruit either of these individuals is further evidence of the overall weakness of Republican politics.

Most of the current field of announced presidential candidates participated in the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa on Saturday — the first step in the race for the nomination. But only two of those candidates possess any presidential qualifications and, unfortunately, the one that is most presidential is getting very little press. Jon Huntsman is certainly capable of being the president but can gain no traction in this crazy primary season. In fact, he only got 69 votes in the Straw Poll.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney, who seems credible, believes corporations are people and engaged in a debate with the audience at an afternoon speaking engagement at the Iowa State Fair. Mitt was only able to place seventh in the Straw Poll vote with only 567 votes.

Michelle Bachmann won the vote receiving 29% of the vote. Ron Paul was just 152 votes behind with 28%. Bachmann received 4,823 votes to Paul’s 4,671. Tim Pawlenty was third with 2,293 votes.

Straw poll aside, Bachmann and the rest are unequivocally unqualified and have no business being in the race.

In the debate Thursday night only Jon Huntsman, of the eight participants, has not signed the Norquist No Tax Pledge. But all eight indicated their inflexibility regarding tax increases when asked by Bret Baier if they would accept a deal with a ratio of 10 spending cuts to one revenue increase, to which they all said no! That position is totally irresponsible and cause for disqualification.

The qualifications of both Rick Perry and Chris Christie are also questionable. They lack the tools, common-sense, and self-control to be the leader of the free world. Neither understand the needs of citizens in their own states, let alone the nation.

Perry’s decision to host a prayer meeting — A Call to Prayer — and his choice of evangelical endorsers and speakers was ill-conceived, especially for a politician who claims to understand the needs of all Americans. His weekend dance with the devil — his journey to the fringe — was a clear indication of a religious zealotry Americans cannot condone.

And the electorate cannot ignore his incitement to secession. He made it seem like a joke, but other comments made by Perry tell a different story. Such disdain for government cannot be tolerated from a potential presidential candidate.

Nor can Christie’s thuggery be acceptable — not even for a Governor. His recent rude and angry attack on a concerned mother when confronted with an education question is proof that he is incapable of understanding the problems the American people are facing or what it takes to be presidential.

Both Perry and Christie may be acceptable to the Republican base but are incapable and likely unable to ‘provide for the general welfare’ of the national electorate.

The next president will have to be flexible, tough, compassionate, understanding, smart, and respected. And, above all, the next president must be presidential.

So the question for Republican’s remains — is that all you’ve got? And the search continues with little success.

If the cowboy or the thug are the newest hope for a Republican party in disarray, hope will be a very long and grinding road.

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