McCain loses. Who's next?

It seems McCain is headed for a loss in a few weeks. Now I know it’s way early, but I’m given to wondering who the Republican contenders will be in 2012.

Palin: Hugely popular with super-conservatives, but thought of as a yutz by pretty much everyone else. Of course, the “everyone else” crowd doesn’t caucus and so forth. If she loses her re-election bid in Alaska she will be toast. I wonder though, is Palin really that popular with Republicans? If there were a male super-conservative running against her would he get the nod over her?

Huckabee: Speaking of which, here he is. Just as far to the right as Palin, but not a national punch line (yet). But he is not in office now and what will he do with himself for the next four years? If he couldn’t win this year can he ever?

Romney: Still a Mormon and still has the massive flip-flops on abortion and gay rights. Again, he is not in office so he will need to find something to keep him in the public eye for the next few years. His money and name recognition help him.

Portman: Up and comer. Going from the House to the White House is rare, but possible. It would make more sense for him to run for senate or governor, but he could bag all that and go right for the top. Has been linked to foreign lobbyists. He’s tall and good-looking.

Pawlenty: I wonder if T-Paw feels like going all Elvis on his TV set every time he sees Palin. He could cast himself as a new kind of Republican. Maybe lucked out in not being picked as McCain’s running mate so he won’t be seen as a loser. Young guy who can appeal to mega-Christians. He could get beat if he goes for a third term in Minnesota though so it may benefit him to not run for another term.

J.E.B.: Will three years time be enough to make America forget about how much we hate Bush? I’m sure Jeb would love to carry on the family tradition. America may hate Bush, but Republicans don’t. Even this year it seemed through the primaries that Republicans wanted a Bush clone, someone who unabashedly supported the invasion of Iraq and could appeal to both evangelical Christians and the Wall Street crowd, but couldn’t find him. The Obama years will be considered a disaster by the Republican base no matter what happens and after four years the party faithful will be looking to go back to the good old days when W was tappin’ phone lines and invading on a whim because he loved freedom. The Bush family has vast connections around the nation and could make a real run at it.

Giuliani: No.

Jindal: Another young (at 37, too young?) guy who could claim to be part of a new breed of GOP. He’s from the south, which is a plus. Could he be too ethnic for Republicans? He’s Catholic, which could hurt him with Christian voters who think speaking in tongues is natural while exorcisms are crazy papist stuff.

Petraeus: What does the GOP love more than a war hero (unless that hero is John Kerry)? Patraeus has said he has no political ambitions, but that could change fast. His lack of political experience would be an obstacle.

If I were a Republican strategist, this is who I want. I strongly suspect they’ll put up a general of some sort in '12 - if not Petraeus, then the “my god is bigger than your god” guy (Boykin?).

I think Huckabee and Jindal would be formidable candidates.

My guess is they will pick someone who isn’t being thought about much now. Clinton,Bush, and Obama will have all won with not having much of a national resume until suddenly they were winning their party’s primaries. The more there is on the record, the bigger the handicap these days.

The base will talk themselves into believing that McCain lost because he wasn’t conservative enough. They will actually believe that the right wing represents “true American values” and that if they return to their roots and nominate a social conservative the rest of the country will come to its senses.

Huckabee will be the Republican nominee in 2012. He will get stomped by Obama. And only then will the long slow task of taking the Republican Party back from the loons will begin.

We can’t judge this by who would be appealing to the Republicans as they are now. Obama is likely to win by a very strong margin, which is likely to cause considerable reorganization in the Republican party. Which way that reorganization is going to go, I don’t think we can tell yet, and until we know, I don’t think we can see who the likely candidates would be. For instance, if they decide to concede ground on some of the social party planks and emphasize fiscal conservatism, the next Republican presidential candidate might be someone who currently leans or even identifies as a Libertarian.

Bush was the party front-runner well before the 2000 race. (So was Kerry in 2004, though of course he had a bunch of ups and downs before he got the nomination).

Palin is drawing massive crowds. Some people don’t care if she has the mindset/engagement/awareness of issues; it’s enough that she has common sense and the right political instincts.

In four years she’ll be able to hone her media skills and become familiar enough with the broader issues to know which speech goes where.

Given the crowds she’s pulling in there is a high likelihood that Candidate X in State Y is going to ask her to campaign/stump for them, keeping her in the public mind. This will also help her start building a network of supporters (both those who saw her speak on behalf of a candidate and the now favor-owing candidate him/herself).

While analysts and Dopers may attribute her selection as a crippling factor in the McCain bid, the loss will ultimately rest on him.

Four years may be an eon politically, it isn’t that long economically. Obama is inheriting an ugly mess, and thinking that we’ll be out of it and in sunshine in a few years is wishful thinking. But that doesn’t mean she can’t make speeches to that effect.

I’m not a hundred percent sure she’ll have that strong of a chance to clinch the nomination, but it’s fairly easy to see how she will use four years to build her base, build her awareness/credentials, and gear up for a run.

Palin is a disaster for the right, precisely because she has been so sucessful. She has fired up the base and propelled the campaign to their only lead since the primaries ended (short-lived as it was.) She is the darling of the far right, and she’s only going to be 48 in '12 and 52 in '16. Does anyone really believe that a dark-skinned man of Indian descent or a Mormon will get the support of the right over Sarah Palin?

The choice of Palin has essentially turned over the reins of the Republican Party to the social conservatives and it is going to be hard for the Country-Clubbers to get them back. Their best bet would be to sabotage her reelection in Alaska, and I wouldn’t put it past them.

Obama was being heavily thought about in 2004. When he spoke at the convention, most people I talked to afterwards couldn’t WAIT for him to run for president. (More than a few wished he were running in place of Kerry.)

This incidentally is one of the reasons I see the country-clubbers going for a general to try and take her out.

I don’t really know anything about the guy’s personal life. Has he even endorsed the Republican party?

I think it’s going to be the Huckster next time, but ten months ago, I thought it would be the Huckster this time, and we can see how that prediction panned out. :slight_smile:

But I’m rooting for Palin to be the 2012 nominee, you betcha! You can’t call me a concern troll.

People actually think Palin will outlive her 15 minute lifespan and be a long-term political player? Really?

I think it’ll be Romney, especially if the economy is as much of an issue as it is now. As a running mate, I think Jindal would be a good choice. If it is Huckabee, I think he might choose a woman from outside Washington/politics. Carly Fiorina, maybe.

I doubt it. If McCain loses, she’s done for the big ticket. Though she might easily wind up a Senator.

What a horrible list. You better hope a new star arrives.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and don’t write McCain’s obit just yet! Please. We still have the small matter of an election to win on Nov. 4.

That said… I think Palin definitely could have an enduring appeal for the GOP right wing through the next election cycle. In '12 it might come down to her, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, and some other relatively-obscure pol who hardly anyone knows now.

Is Petraeus a Republican?

Nope. I think that if her ticket loses she will fade into ignominy like Quayle.