Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Dartmouth Presidential Debate begins the season

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/5/11

In all likelihood, the President of the United States in 2013 will be Barack Obama, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney. This is a historic moment and it begins at Dartmouth College next Tuesday in their Presidential Debate. That is where the Republican contest begins. Potentially, that is where the century will begin.

It is still too early to say with conviction that Sarah Palin will not enter. My guess is that she is holding out with an eye on Herman Cain, who has caught up with Mitt Romney in a recent poll. Like Ron Paul, Cain represents a part of the Tea Party. But although Paul’s analysis and perspective is mature and reliable, his numbers have gone down and very likely so will Cain’s by the first primaries. But Palin brings a spirit to the conversation which no one else has until now and without her rising cry Tea Party – including Paul, Bachmann, Cain and possibly Perry - would have remained in the margins. But at the moment, I do not see Palin finding the need to enter. If she does enter without the need; if Perry and now Romney can metabolize and mature Tea Party karma between them, she will not rise. But the pattern of her professional life suggests she will not make that error.

What is historically significant about this race is that the eastern establishment and the Bush/Cheney/Rove faction does not have a horse in this race. If President Obama wins a second term they will be back in 2012 unless something happens in the interim; third party and there is a strong likelihood now that the Massachusetts liberals (Kennedy) and Massachusetts conservatives (Bush) form by 2012 or 2016 to a third party in opposition to the converging Perry/Romney/Tea Party force and the heartland rising ascending now to the mainstream.

But this new lineup is a strong force. In effect, Romney has been pushed out of the establishment by the Christie effort and camps now with Perry and the Tea Party. Good to have. Herm Cain will have a good week as he will spend a lot of time on Cavuto and elsewhere. But summer is over. The field is likely set. And the first real contest is next Tuesday at Dartmouth.

Proposed here in October, 2008, that we face a Jacksonian age ahead; an indigenous rise of political influence in the heartland and the west following post-war demographics. That, I think, is panning out. It was Gingrich who said at least a decade ago that the commentators and politicos in the northeast were like the Chinese Mandarins, still thinking they held sway long after they had become irrelevant.

They will not go quiet into the night. But he was right.

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