As the Republican candidates for president go from one debate in New Hampshire to another in Las Vegas, and along the way continue to bash President Obama's health care reform, it's a good time to do a candidate health diagnosis and see where things are.
Let's take a look at some of the candidates running for president and do a health assessment on where their campaigns and candidacies stand, and in what shape they are in, and what their prospects for continued health are. We have enough data points from tests and procedures done in this campaign, including debates, performance on the trail, and fundraising.
His candidacy is in serious jeopardy even though he can afford to pay for the best doctors and check himself into the most prestigious clinics in the country. He seemed when he first got in to be in perfect health and his history seemed to show he had the best ability to rise to the occasion in this race. But the debates showed him to be a flawed candidate, and he inflicted wounds upon himself by poor performances that will be tough to recover from. The question remains whether his defect was congenital and whether it happened to surface under the stress of a presidential race.
He is a very unlikely leading candidate for president at this point who has tremendous momentum and movement upon the political landscape. He seems to me to be somebody who was wandering through the emergency ward and was mistaken for a serious player, and a doctor gave him a tremendous adrenalin shot. Will he burn out and will the body of his candidacy and campaign structure survive this jolt? This question will be answered soon enough.
His candidacy seems to be in decent shape, has passed all its tests, and continues to perform well through the election cycle, but for some reason doesn't get the love of the doctors, nurses, and staff of this process. They seem reluctant to give him a clean bill of health and allow him to enter the big general election game because they are worried that his "gut" may be compromised. In the end, if the other candidates fall away, he will be given the go despite those doubts.
Her campaign seems to be on its last legs. Early on, it seemed she was in it for the long haul, and had great possibility, but she just didn't have all the elements needed to survive. Her last chance is a hope and prayer that by spending all her time in a regional clinic in Iowa she will get the go-ahead and be able to move on to be judged healthy by other parts of the country. It just may be the diagnosis is terminal for her and we may have to wait for that Iowa clinic to give the final say on what many already believe.
His candidacy was given up for dead months ago, but he has gotten some transfusions and benefited from the failed health of other candidates to give himself an outside possibility of surviving. He doesn't have the resources other campaigns have, but he performs well at the high-level events of this campaign. He just may be the next candidate to rise and claim the large free f-oating anti-Romney vote that has moved from candidate to candidate if Cain doesn't survive his adrenalin shot.
He is a doctor himself and doesn't seem to care if the other health professionals in the process judge him unfit. He will continue to be a player in this process, but the health prospects of his candidacy are that while he will likely give himself a clean bill of health, the voters will not. He is in it for the long haul, but will not make it to the big game next November.
Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum
These two are Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense. They are dead; they just don't know it yet. Huntsman seems more cognizant that something is off and looks to be realistic, but Santorum, I think, still sees dead people.
On to Vegas, with hope and expectations one of these candidates will rise to the occasion and finally take control in this race, but my guess is that many Republicans will again leave feeling only fear and loathing.
This post originally appeared at National Journal.