It’s funny watching the Sunday political programs and the sheer frustration among the MSM that the GOP presidential field isn’t set. They are so accustomed to a certain field that they don’t know how to cover something this fluid.
Some of them dismissed the potential of a Texas Gov. Rick Perry candidacy because he “hasn’t done the things you need to do.” Well, in this nomination process, you don’t need to do what you need to do. Perry could wait another two months and if he picks his spots right, be a legitimate contender. He has a strong record in Texas on job creation and is a trusted conservative and if his message resonates and he positions himself credibly, donors and organization will develop around him.
The first binding process is still over six months away, even while numerous debates, straw polls, caucuses and assorted non-binding beauty contests occur. But the current field is so fluid that candidates can afford to skip a few and determine the best place to make their play.
To wit, both Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have publicly declared that they will not participate in the Iowa Caucuses, historically a must for any candidate for president. The Iowa intramurals have increasingly been dominated by social issues which are not strengths for either man and so they made a strategic decision not to compete there. It saves them money, avoids a loss, and changes the process for everyone.
There is some speculation that Jon Huntsman will not compete in New Hampshire due to him skipping tomorrow’s debate. He may, in fact, decide that Mitt Romney can’t lose and pass on New Hampshire. But skipping one debate, which will have national coverage, is hardly an indicator of his intentions and he can afford to wait to decide.
Huntsman has based his campaign in Orlando, Florida, a sign that he plans to make Florida a defining benchmark of his campaign. What if Huntsman won Florida, Romney won New Hampshire, and Pawlenty won Iowa? This race would only be starting.