Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
|Not a conventional presidential race|
If you're in the same boat I'm in, you need to pay a visit to your local Registrar of Voters office by Feb. 22 to register as a Republican, assuming you desire to participate in the March 24 Republican presidential primary in Louisiana.
That's the price we conservative independent voters must pay if we want to have a say in which Republican presidential candidate gets a leg up in securing the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention scheduled for later this year.
Thanks to the convoluted process that the state Republican party ginned up to award delegates to a presidential candidate, the winner of the GOP primary in March won't walk away with every Louisiana delegate in his pocket. No, the primary winner gets 20 delegates while the remainder of the delegates are either controlled by the party hierarchy or divvied up at the state convention in June or are awarded by the party's executive committee.
Don't ask me how the state party came up with the formula it employs in awarding delegates. You can rest assured it was contrived to firmly control which candidate receives the party's delegates, or to put it more bluntly, to keep the lunatic fringe of the party at bay.
From a birds-eye view, it appears Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in the driver seat to capture the GOP nomination. In Louisiana, well-heeled Republicans are backing Romney while the grass-roots activists are fractured. Some of them support former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Some of them are backing former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Then there's the faction that believes in U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
Gingrich is the only legitimate candidate standing between Romney and the nomination.
If we listened to the political handicappers long enough – Democrats and Republicans alike – it may be irrelevant whether the Republicans nominate Gingrich or Romney. Either candidate, according to those experts, will lose to President Barack Obama in the November general election. They say Obama has the distinct advantage for a number of reasons, including a rock-solid base of support and ample money to spend on the campaign trail. More importantly, though, Obama has a big-time advantage because the field of Republican candidates is terribly weak.
All of that may be true but I am reminded that it is a long time between now and November. About nine months if anyone's counting. And nine months is a lifetime in politics.
But I'm also reminded that the hill Obama must climb to secure a second term in office isn't very steep. If he holds on to the states he won in 2008, he can still capture the election even if he loses two of the big states he won four years ago. That means whomever the GOP nominates must sweep Florida, Virginia and Ohio.
Don't get disgruntled, though. Much can happen between now and November that could dramatically alter the political landscape. The economy could tank further thanks to rising energy prices or the Obama administration could (highly likely) play the wrong hand in dealing with the latest crisis in the Mid East.
But before we can think about what may or may not occur in the coming months as the presidential race unfolds, Republicans must settle on a candidate. Conventional wisdom says Romney may be the only candidate who could possibly unseat Obama.
Conventional wisdom has been wrong before.
And there's nothing conventional about this year's presidential race.