Hopeless and Floundering, Republicans Examine CPAC Straw Poll

Republican presidential primary voters like the tried-and-true. This should be comforting for Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee as they gear up to 2012.

The winner of the GOP presidential nomination is almost always a candidate who has run for high office before. Reagan lost in 1968 and 1976 but won the nod in 1980. George H. W. Bush did not win in 1980 but won the nomination in 1988. Having lost in 1980 and 1988, Bob Dole came back to claim the prize in 1996. Despite a bitter experience losing to George W. Bush in 2000, John McCain won the nomination in 2008. The only recent exception to the rule was in 2000 when W. beat the field, including vanquished 1996 candidates Steve Forbes and Lamar Alexander.

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have both announced they have their eyes on the prize in three years, but neither man can be happy with the results of last Saturday's CPAC straw poll. Romney won with 20% of the vote. It was his third victory but worst showing. In 2007, he did slightly better with 21%, and, despite dropping out of last year's race, he took home 35%. For Huckabee, the news was even worse. The preacher came in a distant sixth behind Romney, Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

We should note that a CPAC poll usually means nothing. After all, Phil Gramm and George Allen have both won the darn thing twice. But if the poll has any value, it is as a snapshot of the national conservative mood. In 1999, nobody would have thought the winner, the evangelical neoconservative Gary Bauer, would have survived longer in the 2000 primary fight than Dan Quayle, Elizabeth Dole, and Orrin Hatch, but he did and ushered in another evangelical neoconservative to eight years of office.

This year's CPAC seems to indicate conservatives are looking for fresh faces after being routed in 2008. This helps the spunky Palin, who has been on the national scene for a little over half a year, as well as the thirty-eight year old Jindal, who came in second in the poll despite his dreadful response to Obama's speech last week. At this point, history is all Romney and Huckabee have to be hopeful about.

This year's poll also signals that a Republican resurgence will not come from party hacks. None of the potential 2012 hopefuls seem to be uniting the conservative machine and a steady chorus of grumbles from Republican ranks is growing louder concerning RNC chairman Michael Steele.

If the Republicans are going to bounce back in the short term, it will not be on their own merits but because the Democrats botch things up. This could happen at the state level, with New Jersey one of the few blue states to watch. No wonder Rush Limbaugh hopes Obama fails; it's the only path to Republican recovery open for the moment.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less