Ruth Dudley Edwards: Liberal media play judge in ultimate reality show
The 'oops' factor is ever present in the competition for the US Republican nomination, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00
IT'S the ultimate reality show, the race for the US Republican nomination. One by one, the hopeful candidates arrive on the scene, all groomed and prepped and optimistic, they win the affection or admiration of the public by a stellar performance on the stump or in a debate, they try not to gloat too obviously as they soar up the polls, see others being nominated for eviction, and then, finally, after a gaffe or an embarrassing revelation, they're up for eviction themselves.
What they have in common is that they're all challenging bland Mitt Romney, the contender most likely to succeed, for he's been around a long time and doesn't frighten the horses. Governor of Massachusetts between 2002 and 2006, Romney lost the 2008 nomination to John McCain. Among his handicaps are his religion, for most Americans thinks Mormonism weird, and being so anxious to please everyone that the Tea Partiers distrust him and think him a 'flip-flopper' in policy terms.
Ex-governor of Alaska and vice-presidential candidate in 2008 Sarah Palin, Romney's chief rival for so long, went first -- in October she finally declared she was quitting the race. Her core supporters still love her, but ridicule and vicious intrusiveness into her private life had so undermined her that she hesitated to declare her formal candidature and was over-taken by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, another tough, attractive right-winger who became the August pin-up.