According to CNN.com, Republican leaders in the Senate having been passing around a list of names for possible Presidential candidates in 2012. The names alleged to appear on this list are Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah. Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John McCain, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Not that I'm exactly an unbiased source here, but this list blows. On the bright side, I don't see Limbaugh's name on there, so the world is safe from an L. Ron Hubbard like rule where our President sits around and gets hand fed pills by young girls in hot pants.
Barbour's term limit of Guv'na is up in 2011 so he'll definitely be looking for work. He's been criticized for profiting from Hurricane Katrina. He also has no federal experience, a problem with a lot of people on this list and one that will come back to bite the GOP after all their claims against Obama's experience. Jeb Bush is, well, a Bush. There's no way someone with that name makes a ballot in 2012 if the Republicans have half a brain between all of them. Mitch Daniels used to work on George W's Office of Management and Budget. Regardless of what that actually means, seeing W and Budget together under one of his previous job titles is going to cripple him. But its moot because he's denied running anyway.
Newt Gingrich has experience and properly portrays the idiocy of the far right. If Gingrich runs, you're going to see another situation where the GOP splinters and the Powell-ites will vote Obama, third party, or not at all. Gingrich has made himself too polarizing with his criticisms of Sotomayor and has dug himself into a hole committing so strongly to declaring Obama a failure. If Obama succeeds at all, Gingrich will be dead in the water.
Huntsman is a pretty decent human being who also happens to be Obama's Ambassador to China. He's progressive about certain things like the environment and favoring civil unions and just conservative enough about other things like abortion that he could probably cut the mustard for a lot of hardliners. But he's a Mormon. I could care less if he's a Mormon, but how will the religious right, who are mostly WASP, react to that specific denomination? Hard to say, but my gut tells me it'll hurt him.
Huckabee is the classic southern Christian gentleman...and that made him too easy a target in the last election's primaries. Huckabee appeals to the religious conservatives, but he lacked the charisma and buzz words to rise above the rest. But that's a double edged sword. If Huckabee toughens up to try to stand up to his competition, he might alienate his original base. However, in the long run, his Christian roots would lock up a lot of votes.
Bobby Jindal is the hot rookie of the GOP right now. He has the "it" factor, which to the GOP means he's exotic cause his skin color isn't white. Many in the GOP view him as the antidote to Obama. It would sure make an interesting election to see him running against Obama. Unfortunately he claims he's not going to run, so he may be out. I also have the uneasy feeling that there are too many racists in the GOP right now to give him a fighting chance at winning his own primary, much less an election.
John McCain will be old as dirt by the next election and it sounds like he probably won't run, but we can't rule it out. However, his odds of winning a primary are nil; he had his shot at Obama and got soundly beaten. The GOP won't take a chance at running that horse again. McCain's Frankenstein monster, Sarah Palin, then comes to mind. Palin would have been interesting if nothing else. She was already too polarizing to win an election as the head of a ticket in my opinion, but her resignation is going to be a huge blemish on her record. Its going to be hard to take her seriously, but on the other hand there are still a lot of people in love with her...for some reason.
Ron Paul is probably the smartest person on the list. He's also too much of a libertarian. The GOP won't let him win, but he'd make a hell of a splash in the Libertarian party. Tim Pawlenty doesn't have nearly as much support as many of the others on this list. He also doesn't have a lot of stuff on his resume, which should be a deal breaker for all Republicans who are not hypocrites. He's a long shot. Mitt Romney fell just short of McCain in the last primary, so there's a lot of reason to assume he could do well in the next one. Romney's politics fall somewhere between McCain's and Huckabee's and he's got enough charisma to inspire some support.
I don't think the GOP is ready to put anyone but a white male at the top of their ticket, especially because there will be continued backlash to Obama among the base. I think Romney is going to take the nomination and I think his pick for running mate will be Jindal or maybe Hunstman. Palin will still be political poison. Look for Paul to run independent or as a Libertarian. Palin may run independent too. McCain will ultimately not run. Huckabee will be the runner up in the primary. The rest will either not run or not garner enough votes to be worth noting. Whether or not Romney takes the White House will depend on how well Obama does between now and then. The Republicans remain the least favorite party in the nation and they cannot win an election on their own merits. They need ammunition so its up to Obama to not give it to them.
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