Daniels out. Pawlenty officially in. Daniels is out apparently because he and his family simply did not want the scrutiny and constant criticism. He and his wife have had some difficulties which really shouldn't be anyone's business, but it is. And here I am on a visit to California where the recent Governator proves that point. Maybe Pawlenty is in because he is so boring there is nothing to worry about.
Christie still swears he's not going to run. Same for Jeb Bush. (If you ever saw the movie "W," which was really pretty good and even somewhat sympathetic to ol' W, there was a theme there that the "wrong brother" became president).
Romney is sure working hard trying to become President. He is up in the polls in New Hampshire, which he is expected to win and would be disastrous for him if he doesn't. Not sure how he's doing in South Carolina or Iowa, and those could be trouble. One smart thing he has done, well, some of it couldn't be avoided, was to get his negatives all out before the race heats up. We all know about the "religion" thing (negative for some, like some of those that share it - does that make any sense?). And now he's made his case on Romneycare and will likely stick to it and our response when it comes up with the other candidates or in debates is supposed to be, "Oh, we heard all that. He's still the best guy." Well, we'll see about that.
Interestingly, Huntsman, while still relatively unknown, is working hard too. And he seems to be doing all the right things. He had dinner with none other than HW "Papa" Bush, who would be the one to court for establishment Republican support. In fact, Huntsman reminds me of the kind of Republican HW used to be until he became Reagan's VP candidate and had to eat his words on "Voodoo Economics" and join the "all taxes are evil" crowd.
Which brings me to another point I'm thinking about and would like any input. On the drive in to California through the unpretty parts around Barstow, I was thinking about the disaster that now is California state finances (although I have to say, San Diego is still looking mighty fine - and the weather's great!) And I wonder if this whole trouble with modern America, economic, anti-government, political divides, didn't start with the Prop 13 anti-tax movement of the 70s. California used to be the dream of everybody in America - great lifestyle, good schools, progressive government, etc. Then they stopped paying for the infrastructure. Driving down I-15 through the abandoned trailer junk in the desert, my wife asked me if anyone still wants to move to California. I responded, "not so much."