Tonight is the first (real) Republican debate for the 2012 candidates for the GOP nomination. [There was a previous debate, but given that no one with a chance showed up it doesn’t really count] In any case, tonight New Hampshire will host the first of what could be many Republican debates. And all the big names are there:
– Mitt Romney: Barring a Gingrich-esque meltdown, Romney will win the New Hampshire primary in early 2012. His job tonight is to look and sound like the adult in the room, which really shouldn’t be too much trouble given the rest of the field.
– Tim Pawlenty: Probably the second most adult person in the room, though no one seems to be noticing. Perhaps because he’s trying too hard to be the conservative alternative to Romney, thus eliminating any chance he’ll have of getting moderates. Which is ironic.
– Newt Gingrich: He should make the debate interesting. I actually hope he manages to un-implode his campaign long enough to contribute his flowery rhetoric (which is often contradictory, but always pretty).
– Michele Bachmann: Though technically she hasn’t announced that she is running (ssshhhh, it’s a secret), she should be good for some entertainment. Likely she will say something that will make the lead sound bite on tomorrow’s news. In fact, she’ll probably plan on it. [PGH will explain shortly why Bachmann may very well win the Iowa straw poll in August]
– Rick Santorum: Likely he will work hard to violate the Reagan 11th commandment just to get attention.
– Ron Paul: See “Rand Paul,” only older. Paul has a following and usually says something interesting, if not viable.
– Herman Cain: The former Godfather’s pizza magnate “won” the earlier non-debate, which is both a credit to him and a discredit to the other participants. It will be interesting to see if debate moderator John King will ask Cain to elaborate on his recent anti-Muslim bigotry. That should be fun.
Not participating in person but likely on the mind of several of the participants (especially Mitt Romney) is Jon Huntsman. Huntsman hasn’t formally announced his candidacy yet but unlike Bachmann, who just wants to be seen and heard, Huntsman has chosen not to play his hand until he has to. Huntsman could give Romney a run for his money in the adult department. Ironically, both Romney and Huntsman face the same hurdles to get the Republican nomination – they are both Mormon, both have perfect hair, both are positively associated with the Obama administration, and both appeal to the same type of campaign funders. They could conceivably cancel each other out.
So with the tea party actively working against their most likely nominees, the Republican party has to a choice to make. Do they go more mainstream, or shift so far out to the right wing that they ensure that Obama wins in a landslide next year?
PGH will do a postmortem after the debate.
Considering that we have about one and a half years before election day, it might seem odd to be saying that time is running out for getting into the 2012 presidential
sweepstakes election. But it is. And the Republican party is about to finalize its roster of horses candidates for the Belmont nomination. Within the next few weeks we’ll know who will be making a serious, and not so serious, run for the roses. [Okay, I think I’ve played out the Triple Crown references, so I’ll stop now.]
Next week will see the formal announcements for two contenders who we already knew were in the race – Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney has already pre-announced that he will make the official announcement (didn’t he do this already?) in New Hampshire (hmmm) on June 2nd, with Santorum making his announcement from his home state of Pennsylvania on the 6th. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann looks very likely to announce her candidacy for
Vice-president in the next week or two as well.
And here’s an interesting development (maybe) – Sarah Palin is starting a bus tour this weekend from Washington DC up I-95 to New England. All the media pundits are abuzz that this might be the kickoff of her own presidential candidacy. A propaganda film about Palin is also set to open shortly in, of all places, Iowa. Hmmm, I wonder why Iowa? PGH has previously predicted that Sarah Palin won’t be entering the race, so if she does that either means PGH needs a new line of work or is just like every other self-described pundit (i.e., wrong most of the time). Since PGH hasn’t been wrong yet in his predictions (it’s early), he’s
pretty confident hopeful that Palin is just trying to rekindle her recently failing marketing brand.
Notwithstanding what Palin ends up doing, and with the possible entry of Jon Huntsman, the Republican cortege is ready for its
death walk run for the White House. PGH has previously evaluated the potential Republican field, and will continue to give up-to-date occasional expert analysis on key issues, prospects, and who might still be around by the time the triad is completed. [By triad I mean the traditional first states – Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That said, this year will be different and there are at least two more states that can be added to the all-important “first out of the gate” states that are “must” wins.]
Stay tuned. To terribly misquote Bette Davis, this may be a bumpy ride.
The Republican Potential Presidential Candidates – Who is in, who is out, and who is going to be standing in the end?
So who’s in and who’s out? It’s been a busy week, and the next few weeks will be even busier. But essentially we know who will be in the race for the Republican nomination.
First, those who have already said they are NOT going to run:
Donald Trump – Doesn’t matter, since he was just “in” as a really long and obnoxious ad campaign for his reality show. The scary part is that the tea party in droves took him seriously. Which pretty much shows how seriously we should take the tea party.
Haley Barbour – After titillating the GOP establishment by visiting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Barbour surprised everyone by opting out. He wouldn’t have gotten the nomination anyway, but most thought he would run. Nope.
Mike Huckabee – Huckabee decided his heart wasn’t in it and opted out. He may have actually had a shot at the nomination (or, maybe not), but we’ll never know if he would be taken seriously or end up an also-ran.
John Thune – A potential rising star and giant killer (he knocked out former minority and majority leader Tom Daschle). Thune rightly decided his time will come…in the future. PGH predicts you’ll see more of Thune, eventually.
Mike Pence – Pence wisely realized he has no chance at president, but a heckuva good shot at getting the Governorship of Indiana. This could be important because President Obama barely squeaked out an electoral win in Indiana and Pence being on the ballot might be enough to swing the state the other way.
Now, those who have not yet said anything but in the end are NOT going to run:
Sarah Palin – Okay, most sentient folks already knew this long ago, but it appears the rest of the tea party and GOP are finally figuring it out. PGH has written about why she won’t run before, so you can just read it there.
Okay, that was a short list. Mostly because there are a bunch of people that others are trying to draft into running. They include Jim DeMint (no, really), John Bolton (no, really), Rick Perry, General David Petraeus, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie. All have said repeatedly that they aren’t jumping into the race. The fact that people are still trying to get them into the race tells you something about the people already in the race.
Okay, let’s hop to those who have either officially announced they will run for the Republican nomination or will be doing so within the next few weeks.
Mitt Romney – By far the front runner for the 2012 nomination, and the heir-apparent for the GOP. As most people know, the Republican party tends to simply anoint the next one in line, and for 2012 that would be Mitt. Unfortunately for Mitt, 2012 may actually be a bad year for “the anointed” as the GOP seeks someone from the promised land.
Newt Gingrich – Newt has visualized himself in the President’s
throne room Oval Office ever since he was speaker. He thinks that highly of himself, and seems to sometimes forget what is real and what is his own magnificent marketing. PGH has already given the odds of Gingrich getting the nomination, and the last few days have pretty much borne that out big time.
Tim Pawlenty – Pawlenty has been running for President for at least the last two years, and still his Q-Factor is epitimized by the phrase “Tim who?” Some actually give him a shot, but PGH thinks he might have to eat his words…the ones where he said he was running for President, not Vice-President. More on Tim in future posts.
Rick Santorum – Who? [Actually, that’s being a bit facetious. Santorum has some serious conservative cred, but it won’t get him even a minor showing in any of the primaries.]
Ron Paul – PGH has written on Paul already. Paul did well in Iowa last time, but barely registered after that. He could do better this time with tea party support. But he won’t.
Gary Johnson – Who? [Okay, I’m not being facetious this time.] Johnson will be out faster than anyone can figure out who he is.
Herman Cain – Former pizza magnate and talk radio host made quite a showing in the first non-debate of five unknowns (including Pawlenty). If he does well in future debates it means the front runners aren’t connecting with the primary voters, which means big trouble right here in River City (and everywhere else). Still, he could liven up the place a bit. Good for ratings.
Michele Bachmann – Talk about good for ratings. Bachmann is a sought after interview on TV, especially shows that need a bump during sweeps month. Bachmann hasn’t said she’ll run yet, but it’s a pretty good bet she will. Even she knows that she doesn’t have a shot at President, but I betcha she’ll jump at the chance to take the VP job if offered. Ironically, if the electorate picks someone more mainstream there is no chance in that really hot place that the eventual nominee will pick another Palinite for VP. The GOP may be slow, but it ain’t that dumb.
Okay, astute readers will be thinking about now that there are at least a couple of names missing. I purposely kept these two separate for reasons that will become apparent. They are the maybe/probably pair, and both could spell big problems for Mitt Romney:
Mitch Daniels – The Republican establishment is desperate for Mitch Daniels to jump into the race. That should scare Mitt. Daniel’s will probably run, though it isn’t guaranteed. If he does, he’s a bit of a wild card. Will the tea party like him? Is he too moderate? Can he defund enough social programs in time to get the extremist wing of the Republican party to fall in love with him? Stay tuned for more PGH analysis.
Jon Huntsman – Huntsman has it all. He’s good looking, has perfect hair, is Mormon, has executive experience. Accomplished things that the Obama Administration is touting. Wait. Sounds a lot like Mitt Romney? BTW, did you hear the news that Mitt raised more than $10 million dollars in one night? That wasn’t a coincidence. Huntsman is even more of a wild card than Daniels. I suspect PGH will talk more about Huntsman very soon.
Did I forget anyone?