How many of the Republican putatives are laying down markers for 2016?

Right now, from this side of the Atlantic, Obama’s looking a certainty for reelection. So why are so many Republicans stirring? Could it be that they’re more interested in getting exposure and recognition and less interested in beating Obama? IOW are they laying down markers for 2016?

Granted Romney’s in it for real, and Palin’s just making noise, but what about the rest?

It’s interesting, because from this side of the Atlantic, he doesn’t look like a certainty. I mean, I think he has a chance, but it’s not a certainty. The economy is still shaky, gas prices are high, and between the health care bill and the intervention in Libya, he’s pissed off a lot of people.

George W Bush signed a Medicare bill and invaded Iraq. He was reelected. Very tough to beat an incumbent.

I think that Romney’s the only one who is definitely running, but it’s hard to tell with the rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an under-the-table gentlemens’ agreement to avoid declaring for a long time in order to shorten the primary season; the common wisdom is that a long and combative primary process damages candidates for the general election. (The Obama-Clinton primary would argue against this, though.) I think Gingrich will run, as will Huckabee, though both would retain credibility. John McCain seems to have given up; he took heat for being so old in 2008, and I simply don’t think he’d be a very credible candidate for the simple fact of his age.

Palin, I think, will run for the sake of maintaining her credibility as someone important. A half-term governor of Alaska simply can’t be taken that seriously for that long unless she can keep herself in politics. Running will keep her in the public eye, which is what her job is now. Should she run for President, I suspect she’ll drop out early and keep getting her big checks from Fox News.

Right now, I’d put the odds on Obama winning at 3 to 2. I think he has an edge as the incumbent, but not a huge edge.

Don’t forget that some have no interest in winning the 2012 or 2016 election. It seems unusual to me (possibly because the Right Wing Media Juggernaut is still relatively/fairly young?), but many of the right’s candidates pandering for the spotlight are, save a miracle, unelectable–and I think most of them are smart/astute enough to know it.

That is, I don’t think Newt or Trump (for example) in their closed-door strategy sessions actually believe they have more than an absurd longshot at either the nomination or more importantly, the general election. But they do know that participating and rabble-rousing during the primary season will get them increased donations, more book sales, higher ratings, and more clout when commenting after the election.