Ironically Richard Nixon enjoyed his greatest, and most unlikely triumph, just before he commenced the infamous political death spiral that culminated in his 1974 resignation.
The year was 1972, and the Watergate Scandal was still just a local story covered by then unknown Metro reporters Woodward and Bernstein - still Richard Nixon was in trouble. He was grasping at straws trying to find a solution to a deep recession that just wouldn't go away. He had blown through three economic stimulus programs named Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III and failed to move the needle.
Democrats smelled blood. Sound familiar?
Fast-forward 40 years and the situation is reversed. Republicans have President Obama on the ropes and the economy appears to be cooperating with the Grand Old Party.
The anti-Nixon crowd would credit Nixon's '72 landslide re-election to his raising millions in illegal campaign contributions from big business folks, including a then unknown Midwest shipping line owner named George Steinbrenner. Most political historians would disagree and pin Nixon's win on one person: George McGovern, his Democratic opponent in 1972. On paper a great candidate - in reality, not so much. McGovern managed to win a grand total of one state - Massachusetts. (Not his home state)
If the Tea Partiers have their way - I will be able to write an almost identical column to this one 15 months from today. In that column Barack Obama will have one person to thank for his re-election in the face of a terrible recession. Republican Nominee Michele Bachman.
Bachmann is enjoying a resounding win in this weekend's Iowa straw poll. A win that sent fellow Presidential aspirant and recent sparring partner Tim "I'm Serious I can Win" Pawlenty to the showers within hours of the last straw being cast.
The question remains - will the GOP's money get behind Bachmann or any other current GOP candidates? A New York Times' analysis published last week showed that 4 out of 5 of George W. Bush's largest donors/bundlers had yet to make a contribution to any candidate. Instead, a good deal of that money is going to a new super PACs run by Bush's former operative, which he created in response to the recent gutting of federal campaign laws by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Vegas Has Romney at 3-1 as the 2012 Republican favorite. At this point the race looks a lot like the fourth race at Pimlico. My attempt at being Jimmy "The Greek."
Not Close To A Serious Candidate
Newt Gingrich: sadly Newty converted to Catholicism and married a third time as part of an Extreme Political Makeover. All to no avail. Hope this guy has a pre-nuptial agreement. $500,000 Tiffany bills are a bad sign...
Michele Bachmann: Her most recent wacky idea - locking out all EPA workers from federal buildings until she finds a way to shut the Agency down. She is non-Tea Party Republicans greatest fear. Her nomination would guarantee an Obama Second Term.
Sarah Palin: Not since Jesse Jackson used his Operation Push political organization to line his pockets and pay off mistresses has a politician so effectively cashed in for doing little more than repeating the same catch-phrase. "Up with Hope, Down With Dope" has been replaced by "Re-load". Palin is better off as an author and C-list reality TV star than Presidential candidate.
Ron Paul: Funny thing about Ron Paul - he has a knack of making perfect sense for weeks at a time and then suddenly he'll veer off into crazy land. Fun to watch - no shot.
Folks Who Might Actually Win the General Election But Will Never See It
John Huntsman: his affable demeanor and grasp of the issues makes him electable to Independents, the voting block crucial to winning in November 2012. His support of civil unions for gays and in-state college tuition for illegal aliens put the nail in his political coffin long ago with the Tea Party - which appears to control two of the three early Republican Primary contest this go around.
The Two Who Look Like They Can Survive the First Five Primaries and Win the Nomination
Willard "Mitt" Romney: this week Romney's wealth was estimated at $250 Million. That guarantees he'll be around when the GOP rolls into our neck of the woods for the pivotal Sunshine State Primary. Romney has two major weak spots. He is one of the worst retail politicians of his generation. Romney makes Al Gore look like Jay Leno. More importantly, Romney still hasn't figured out how to explain away his role in 2006 as head cheerleader for passage of RomneyCare in Massachusetts - a mandate that requires all residents of the Bay State to purchase healthcare or pay a penalty tax. Isn't that what Republicans have pilloried Obama doing?
Rick Perry: You know the field is weak when Republicans are excited about a guy who walks, talks and squawks like George W. Bush. The fact that Florida Governor Rick Scott is in the midst of a Bromance with this Bush doppelganger makes anything possible. Perry thinks Church and State is a corner near Cowboys Stadium and the Cultural Warriors in the Republican Party lap that up. As long as he remains the apple of Karl Rove's cash-filled eye, Perry should have the money to hang around for a while.
The Guy Who Could Win With Another Name
Although Jeb Bush is no longer the powerful force in Florida he was a decade ago, his ability to understand and articulate major issues would have made him the front-runner in this race if it weren't for his pesky last name. Of course if he didn't have that pesky last name - he more than likely never would have become Florida Governor. 2016 is right around the corner.
Farrell Files Long-Shot Pick
John Thune: Why? Because Vegas has him at 6 to 1. Still - Full disclosure - Thune holds George McGovern's old U.S. Senate Seat in South Dakota.
Remember Politics and Wall Street are in the gambling business - Vegas is in the winning business...
Have a Great Week - Dare To Be Great!
Scott Farrell, 10 News Contributor