Steyn gauges 2012 GOP field: ‘Happy to go with the Pawlenty-Bachmann ticket’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Imagine an all-Minnesota GOP ticket on Election Day in 2012. Although it’s not likely happen because it wouldn’t bring a good geographic mix to the ticket, Mark Steyn’s two favorite candidates come from the North Star State.

On Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” on Thursday night, Steyn offered his views on a handful of the Republican contenders — some complimentary, and others less so.

Newt Gingrich:

Newt isn’t going to be president and I assume he’s in this campaign for the kind of reason Alan Keyes used to get into it 10 years ago – that it’s a way of boosting his speaking fees and other gigs. But Newt Gingrich is not going to be president and I don’t see the rationale for his candidacy.

Mitt Romney:

Well obviously his big weakness is RomneyCare. And he’s come up with an argument that sounds too clever by half — that he wants a federal approach to health care, so that you can — 50 different flowers can bloom across the land. The problem is the flower he planted in Massachusetts is toxic and I think the rationale for his candidacy last time was this guy is a technocrat, this is a guy who knows how to get things done. The problem is, is what happened in Massachusetts after he got things done is really the tragedy of the United States in a nutshell – that he passed this big technocratic solution to the problem and then the massive bureaucracy and an opportunistic legislative class destroyed all the accomplishments and made the situation worse. And really RomneyCare is what has happened to America in a nutshell. He not going to be able to crawl out from under that.

Well, I think if you look at the title of his book “No Apologies,” basically that acknowledges that he’s on the defensive right from the word go and I don’t think people are going to go with that.


Donald Trump:

Well, you know what do people like about Donald Trump? I think they like the way he came out swinging and decided to basically sock the president in the jaw. I think there was a sort of sense of relief that somebody was prepared to do that. I don’t think Donald Trump is a conservative. I think Donald Trump’s line on China for example, that he’s going to talk tough to China. China didn’t create Social Security. China didn’t create Medicare. China isn’t spending a fifth of a billion dollars every hour that it doesn’t have. We are the source of our problems, not mysterious sinister foreigners overseas. But what I liked about Donald Trump and what I think more people responded to, is that he didn’t buy the media narrative.

Tim Pawlenty:

I’ve got a soft spot for Tim Pawlenty. I think the last time I saw him was when he and I were on your show together a couple of weeks ago and I think this is a guy who is more likely to wind up with the nomination. He hasn’t got an albatross like Obamacare and he hasn’t got the personal baggage that Newt Gingrich has. He’s got a good record that is flawed. But everybody is flawed. But I think he’s closer to someone who is at ease with himself, is authentic and conservative enough. And, I think someone like Tim Pawlenty could be the last guy standing.

Mitch Daniels:

Well, you know I like Mitch Daniels on the fiscal conservative issues. I disagree with him on this idea that social issues, you take off the table. I do that for two reasons. One, because I think the fiscal issues in a sense are a symptom of a lot of the deeper cultural issues in America. So, I don’t think they are as disconnected as he thinks. And secondly, I don’t think in this particular campaign season it is absurd to concede half the turf right away and actually say we’re going to fight on — only on what the media approve as the ground that’s safe and responsible to fight on.

Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee:

I think I would caution against either of them getting in. I think Gov. Palin actually can do a much better job as a kingmaker. And again, with Mike Huckabee, has a great show on Fox and I think he’s actually carved out a niche for himself. I’m not sure he could withstand the scrutiny and I think if you look at his success in Iowa last time around and the big deflation in New Hampshire a couple weeks later, he’s not going to be any more appealing to New Hampshire this time around.

Ron Paul:

Well, you know Ron Paul, a lot of people thought he was a nut four years ago. But actually Ron Paul’s crazy talk about the Federal Reserve actually makes a lot more sense these days. Right now at the moment, every — all this debt that’s being issued by the United States – people assume the Chinese are buying – no they don’t want any more American debt.  Seventy percent of the debt is being bought by the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul has a point there.

No, he has a shriveled view of America’s role in the world, which I think he has to get onboard with. I mean he basically thinks that America, 19th century isolationist Republic. America can’t even keep two relatively benign neighbors at bay short of building Obama’s moat with alligators that he wants. The idea that we can hold the planet at bay is ridiculous.

Michele Bachmann:

I do like Michele Bachmann. And I think her instincts are good. Whether you can go from a short congressional career to the presidency, I don’t know. But Michele Bachmann is a terrific campaigner and just adorable to watch in that sense.

The field overall:

I don’t — all I ask is I don’t want a candidate we have to drag across the finishing line. I want one we can get behind and cheer all the way.

No, I’m happy to go with the Pawlenty-Bachmann ticket if it comes to that, Sean.