Thursday, November 06, 2008

Republican Candidate, 2012

It's worth looking ahead to who the Republican presidential candidate might be in 2012.

You might ask, "This is so far away. It's a pointless exercise."

If we were talking about the Democrats, you'd be right. Who could have projected the Obama, Clinton, or Dukakis nominations 4 years before they happened? A few were talking up Obama, but it seemed like 2012 at the earliest. Even John Kerry was far from a given.

On the other hand, when have the Republicans nominated someone outside of their inner circle of expected candidates? McCain, W, Dole, Bush Sr., Reagan, Ford, Nixon, etc. All very expected candidates. I don't quite know enough about the Goldwater candidacy to know whether that is the last time someone came out of nowhere. If not Goldwater, we are looking back to Willikie or Landon. And that's a long time ago.

So who then are the top 5 candidates for the Republican nomination:

5. Bobby Jindal. Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease. The governor of Louisiana, Jindal is a real loon and is totally unelectable. Some Republicans think he's the answer to Obama. That's because he is not white. The similarities end there. This is a man who claimed to run exorcisms in college. Yes, he is the Exorcist. He is a real extremist. The fundies love him. I place him relatively low though because they love Palin more. If Palin really loses her credibility with the base, look for Jindal to rise to #2 on this list.

4. Jeb Bush. Don't count out Jeb. At this point, his name is his biggest negative. How that will play in 4 years remains to be seen. By all accounts, he's a lot smarter than W. He is also fluent in Spanish and has a Latina wife. This would likely bring his numbers up among Latinos, making him a much better candidate in the West than McCain. I'm sure there are those in the party apparatus who would like to see this. Still, the Bush name is a huge negative and although Americans have short memories, it's hard to see him overcoming this.

3. David Petraeus. I don't actually think this will happen, but Petraeus could potentially be the candidate to unite all wings of the party. I don't even know for sure that he is a Republican, though I can't imagine that he is not. Still, unless he really establishes himself as a social conservative, I don't think the evangelicals would go along at this point.

2. Sarah Palin. The base loves her. Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, and the punditry are in love with her. She has great appeal to the redneck side of the Republican electorate. On the other hand, her political reputation is almost beyond repair with everyone who doesn't love her. And that's like 80% of the nation. If she is the nominee, I fully expect a spate of Republican fundraisers and power brokers to openly support Obama and the electoral map to look like 1964. This is what Rob predicts but I don't think she's likely to win the nomination.

1. Mitt Romney. Romney is going to be the nominee. He's going to have support of all the money. The only way he is not the nominee is a full revolt from the base. Either way, Romney is not a scary candidate because the base is going to be dejected with Mittens and scared of his Mormonism. He is also as exciting as paste. What we are going to see in the next 4 years is a Republican civil war between Romney and Palin. It's going to be fun to watch.