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.
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.