Quigley’s Grading Scale for Presidential Viability in 2012
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 2/25/11
In 2008 I devised a system of choosing Presidential candidates similar to that which they use to grade cheese at county fairs, hoping to avoid the Ahab Syndrome here in New Hampshire (“I’d just like young people to see a Zoroastrian fire worshiper up there running for President.”) and the Day Trader Syndrome (“My wife is rich and I need something to do in the daytime.”) Here are seven categories. I’ve entered an eighth category this year, Sarah Palin. She gets her own category.
1. Governor of a big state: Rick Perry has been a consistently great public servant and a great governor in Texas. He should be drafted. But Bob McDonnell in Virginia is a great innovator, a great manager and Virginia is a remarkably well-run state. Of course, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is likewise well prepared. But can he win Iowa, South Carolina and the South? I think he understands that he might be running for Vice President.
2. Top Military Commander: General David Petraeus. Every historic period ends/begins with a general (Nelson/Washington/Grant/Eisenhower). Ours will as well. He might get picked for VP as our historic period is scheduled to end in a few years.
3. Governor of a small state: Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. He could take Iowa again and South Carolina but if Sarah Palin enters she will and Huckabee will be left with a one-way ticket to Palookaville. Jon Huntsman, Jr.: Most smart, most competent as Governor of Utah and Romney has already absorbed the hit on Mormons. Should be in the first rank but there are not enough people in Utah. Possibly we should have all Mormon presidents for the next 30 years or so to restore our work ethic.
4. Senator (or representative): Ron Paul of Texas shook the world. If Tea Party in Congress yields to the Bush/Cheney axis he should enter again. Or Gary Johnson of New Mexico could take up this mantle. Would be nice to see Carly Fiorina consider a run. She lost her contest in California but is supremely talented and prepared for the task through her work experience.
5. Relative of a former politician: Rand Paul. In my opinion Rand Paul substantively adds to the conversation. He is Kentucky’s Casius M.Clay incarnate and much like the brave, creative and eccentric scholars and genius folk preachers who peopled the Kentucky hills before the New Man of the South sold it back to New York.
6. Stand up comedian, professional wrestler, TV personality and the simply rich: Glenn Beck. Just say no. To Donald Trump as well.
7. Just anybody: Charlie Sheen.
8. Sarah Palin. The unpredictable, archetypal figure; the mythic she bear who pushes the world out of hibernation. Those already entrenched and justified feel it shattering and falling around them. She is a political genius who came to dominate the zeitgeist in two years without a dime. The first question about 2012 remains, “Will Sarah Palin run?”
Useful VP match ups: Palin/Perry, Palin/Romney, Palin/McDonnell, Palin/Huntsman, Palin/Petraeus. If Perry is drafted: Perry/Rob Portman, senator from Ohio. This would substantively ascend the issues of Constitutional Conservatism and state rights and anchor the party back to the tradition. Perry/McDonnell, Perry/Huntsman. My favorite: Perry and Carly Fiorina, bringing California back home to Texas.
When deciding to run for president the real question should be that which the Master gave to the two Irish angels, Veritas and Aequitas: “The question should be do you possess the constitution and the depth of faith for what is needed?”