Earlier today, I asked people to let me know who they thought had a chance of winning the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee. I promised to call the primary early in order to maximize my chance of completely embarrassing myself in hopes that you will recommend my blog.
Tumblr users proposed the following names.
- Chris Christie
- Jeb Bush
- Tim Pawlenty
- Rick Perry
- Wu Tang Clan1
I’m also going to add a few of the usual suspects that other people toss around:
- Mike Huckabee
- Mitt Romney
- Newt Gingrich
- Rudy Giuliani
- Ron Paul
- Bobby Jindal
- Mitch Daniels
- John Thune
- Haley Barbour
- Scott Brown
- Gary Johnson
And, for some reason, CNN’s 2012 contender article includes pictures of:
- Michele Bachmann
- Rick Santorum
Let’s start eliminating the easy ones.
Rick “Frothy Mixture” Santorum doesn’t stand a chance. First, Dan Savage forever tainted his name. Second, it looks like there will be some other far-right folks who will drink his milkshake.
Michele Bachmann? No way. She might run to consolidate attention and power—but she’s even less credible than Kucinich.
According to my 93-year-old Great Aunt, Newt Gingrich is a resurrected nightmare from the nineties. He had his chance.
Around this time last cycle, I predicted Giuliani would be the next President. I’m not going to make that mistake again. Giuliani not only lost last time—he lost in such an embarrassing manner that he’s going to have trouble even being taken seriously.
Ron Paul is a perennial favorite in some crowds. He could perhaps get 15% of the vote in the general election. He’s quirky. He’s fun. He’s unelectable. The Republicans know this.
Gary Johnson is sort of like Ron Paul—except with even less name recognition. A lot of libertarian-leaning conservatives are excited about him—but that’s not enough to secure a nomination.
Jim DeMint probably won’t run. He’s a power-behind-the-throne kind of guy. There are enough far-right conservatives in play already.
I’m also going to scratch Jeb Bush. I think we’ve had enough Bush for a while. I think even the Republicans are sick of Bush at this point.
New Jersey’s Chris Christie can also be scratched. He’s not hitting any home runs in New Jersey. He’ll need at least another cycle to consolidate power.
Scott Brown is also in the “too soon” category. He’s a Massachusetts Republican. The honeymoon with the tea party is over. Who would support him now?
At this point, we start getting into the candidates that could be more serious contenders.
Rick Perry (who I am adding via an edit upon terrillific's suggestion) would be an awfully interesting candidate. He from Texas. He's a big state's right kind of guy—and there's a good chance that this will be a huge issue in the Republican primary. I'm going to scratch him on the grounds that he's too Texas-focussed because it didn't occur to me to add him in time—and I really can't change my ultimate pick.
Haley Barbour is the platonic ideal of a Good ‘ole boy Republican. I can’t imagine him getting national support in the general election. And I don’t think he’s interesting enough to win the primary.
South Dakota’s John Thune is too much of an inside-the-beltway guy for 2012. His support for earmarks will hurt him. I think Jonah Goldberg’s take might be about right. “Thune is the GOP version of John Kerry: a candidate with very presidential hair who seems ‘electable’ despite not having done much of anything.” Still, a credible run by Thune isn’t out of the picture. If the Republicans decide to go the Milquetoast route, Thune could be a decent candidate.
Sarah Palin's negatives are too high. She gets a whole lot of support from about 25% of the country—but she polls terribly against Obama.
This leaves Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, and the Wu Tang Clan. I think Bobby Jindal will scratch himself. He’s very young. He has time. And the current rage-based environment won’t play to his strengths. Despite his disappointing State of the Union rebuttal, I think he still has good things ahead of him. But not the 2012 nomination.
Tim Pawlentey and Mitt Romney are both posers. They will lose for the same reason. They want it too much. They’ll pander to the far right when they need the far-right’s support. They’ll pander to the middle when they need to look centrist. In the end, they’ll lose because nobody trusts them. (Romney will also lose because Romneycare looks an awful lot like that constantly-lambasted Obamacare—and Romney’s “It wasn’t meant for other states” explanation isn’t going to convince anybody.)
Mitch Daniels is one of those smart and relatively moderate possibilities that political people tend to think are good candidates but voters tend to forget to turn out for. If he runs, perhaps he’ll stand out in the debate. Otherwise, he’ll probably go the way of Chris Dodd.
This leaves Huckabee and the Wu Tang Clan. By the flip of a coin—I’m going to guess the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee will be … Mike Huckabee.
Obama will handily defeat him.