Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin don’t realize running for president takes a lot of hard work

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Running for president is hard. You have to set up a campaign, hire a staff, have smaller well-organized units in every state, and have people do a lot of minutiae to have the opportunity to have a successful presidential campaign.

While the process is more elaborate than it was when powdered wigs were all the rage, presidential candidates — successful or otherwise — pull this off. However, for the Republicans in 2012, organization isn’t one of their strong suits.

Mitt Romney may not have the most organized campaign in the history of the primaries. By comparison, Romney is the person helping the hoarders on reality TV and his competitors are the ones still looking for their house keys.

To paraphrase a well-known political slogan, “It’s the delegates, stupid.”

Newt Gingrich didn’t make every state ballot. Virginia was particularly an embarrassing moment for someone who is supposed to be the “Southern candidate.”

Our star pupil in how to not run a presidential campaign is Rick Santorum. Paperwork issues prevented Santorum from filing delegates in every Congressional district in Ohio. Santorum also has that problem in Illinois. And his attempts to blame it on a volunteer backfired badly.

Santorum choose voluntarily to not be on the ballot in the District of Columbia.

We elect presidents based on what they envision in the big picture. But running for president, like running government, involves lots and lots of minutiae. And how a presidential candidate runs a campaign reflects on how an administration would go.

Barack Obama, the candidate, ran one of the best elections in modern times. Minutiae was one of his strengths in the campaign. In office as president, Obama hasn’t always been up to the task. Federal judgeships don’t get filled fast enough; certain priorities get thrown to the side (Guantanamo).

The race in the primary is about delegates. Romney understands that better than Santorum or Gingrich. Obama understood this better than Hillary Clinton in 2008. When you don’t have a setup that is designed to get as many delegates as you can, then why are you running for president?

Sarah Palin wants to be president, but doesn’t want to run for president. Palin wanted to be vice president in 2008, but didn’t want to work that hard to get there.

As we relived in “Game Change” on HBO, the John McCain team realized that Palin’s knowledge wasn’t that strong. Yet what did Palin do to strengthen her knowledge? Knowing what we know now, Katie Couric’s job wasn’t that tough.

Palin didn’t know what the Fed was, why North Korea and South Korea are separate countries, and thought the Queen of England ran military policy.

But if the 2012 GOP convention is brokered, and no candidate has the magical 1144 delegate mark, Palin would consider being named the GOP 2012 presidential candidate.

Hey, Couric is headed toward syndication. Palin does appeal to the base. Imagine who she would vet for her vice presidential candidate?

Palin wouldn’t have to worry about building a state-by-state structure for a primary. She wouldn’t have to spend multiple weeks in Iowa, and campaigning furiously in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and points beyond. She wouldn’t have to spend 6 weeks in Pennsylvania, like Obama and Clinton did in 2008.

She already has done an 8-week adventure in 2008. And she wouldn’t have to worry about getting on the ballot since the national party structure is already built for her.

Going into this week, Romney has won delegates in every binding contest. Romney hasn’t lost any delegates that he could have earned. If Romney ends up as the presidential nominee with enough delegates, or some switch in Tampa, organization will be a solid ingredient in that success. While Obama the president may not be as organized as his supporters would hope, Romney will find out that Obama is not Santorum and Gingrich when it comes to being organized.

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