Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will the GOP 2012 Presidential Primary Look Like the GOP 2008 Primary?

Who’s on the 2012 “Naughty or Nice List” So Far?

Photo Credit - Flickr Creative

With the mid-term elections over less than a month ago, speculation on the GOP 2012 presidential primary candidates has already begun. It reminds me of stores putting up holiday decorations the day after Halloween. What ever happened to Thanksgiving decorations? Those who sell political opinion, like those who sell potential Christmas and Hanukah gifts, want to sell early and often.

I wish politicians and the media would concentrate only on addressing why it’s acceptable for Congress to have had a year to pass a budget and decide on raising taxes in a recession, and they haven’t done either yet. I’d like a pine tree wooded ranch in Montana or Nevada with lots of horses for Christmas too. I’m guessing I’m not going to get either this year. Santa can be tone deaf that way.

So, as the “in the spirit” political reindeer that I am, I’m dreaming of 2012 candidates dancing above my head. Will the GOP 2012 presidential primary look just like the GOP 2008 presidential primary? Will there be a challenger to President Obama in the Democrat 2012 primary?

Just like major stores poll long before the holidays to know what toys to stock for holiday buying, the polls have already begun to determine which GOP presidential candidates the public wants to buy. These political polls like to compare the buy choice to the 2008 most popular buy – President Obama.

The most recent poll was conducted on November 22 by Quinnipiac University. The poll most notably summarizes, “President Barack Obama does not deserve a second term, American voters say 49 - 43 percent, and he is in a statistical dead heat with possible Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Obama leads Sarah Palin 48 - 40 percent.”

Apparently Independent voting Santa has President Obama on the naughty list this Christmas. But, the Democratic working elves don’t as reflected in the poll, “Democratic voters say 64 - 27 percent they do not want anyone to challenge President Obama for their party's nomination in 2012.”

Quinnipiac notes former GOP Governors Mitt Romney (MA), Mike Huckabee (AR), and current Governor Mitch Daniels (IN) are on the nice list. “In trial heats for 2012, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney receives 45 percent to 44 percent for Obama, while the president gets 46 percent to 44 percent for Mr. Huckabee. Matched against Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a virtual unknown to most voters, the president leads 45 - 36 percent.”

Voters may put a lump of coal in Governor Sarah Palin’s primary stocking according to Quinnipiac. “Ms. Palin is viewed the most negatively by the American people of the possible Republican candidates in 2012. She is viewed unfavorable by 51 percent of voters and favorably by 36 percent. Among independents, the key swing voting bloc, she has a negative 54 - 33 percent favorability rating.”

I’m the political commentary reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh navigating through the political storms. I know, I’m not in any of the storybooks, for Santa likes to appear nonpolitical. He agreed to let me share my 2012 GOP potential primary thoughts under an assumed identity. Here are the quick “nice” and “naughty” that I see:

GOP 2012 CANDIDATE (Current Position) - NICE / NAUGHTY LIST:

*Mitt Romney (Former MA Gov)–WH needs business acumen, looks presidential, smart / Romneycare, 2008 primary loss, abortion flip flop
*Mike Huckabee (Former AR Gov) – fair tax, conservative, sensible, experienced, likeable / too religious as a Baptist minister, too willing to compromise with left
*Sarah Palin (Former AK Gov) – conservative, Tea Party darling, DC outsider / too conservative, polarizing, “say it often enough lies becomes fact” media campaign, left governor term early
*Mitch Daniels (Current IN Gov) - conservative, very tough on spending cuts, honest / not supportive of conservative position necessarily on social issues
*Bobby Jindal (Current LA Gov) – young, likeable, handled BP oil spill and hurricane Gustav well / soft spoken, too likeable can appear too compromising
*Tim Pawlenty (Leaving MN Gov) – young, likeable, smart / soft spoken, can seem wishy-washy at times
*Jeb Bush (Former FL Gov) – young, very smart, experienced / brother of President G.W. Bush
*John Kasich (Current OH Gov) – conservative, leadership, tough, smart / some see as Wall Street darling
*Chris Christie (Current NJ Gov) – tough, smart, honest, unafraid / unions will mount huge offensive
*John McCain (Current AZ Senator) – war hero / old, been there-done that and lost big, flip flop on illegal immigration for AZ 2010 senate primary
*Lindsey Graham (Current SC Senator) – young, Iraq-Afghanistan expert / seen as Republican in Name Only (RINO), DC insider
* Jim DeMint (Current SC Senator) – conservative, smart, leadership / too conservative, DC insider
*John Thune (Current SD Senator) – young, conservative, smart, honest / low name recognition
*John Boehner (Speaker Elect OH) – smart, politically experienced / plays golf a lot, can seem wishy-washy from too many years in DC at times, too emotional at times
*Mike Pence (Current IN Rep) – conservative, smart, leadership / strong anti-abortion funding position
*Ron Paul (Current TX Rep) – libertarian bend timing, honest / old, polarizing, too radical
*Newt Gingrich (Former Speaker GA) – very smart, tough, experienced / old, lots of baggage, mean spirited
*Rudy Giuliani (Former Mayer NYC) – tough, smart, leadership, honest / not conservative enough, 2008 primary loss
*General David Petraeus – smart, leadership, correct on Iraq / political inexperience, no economy experience
*Donald Trump (Current Business Tycoon) – smart, tough, leadership, business experience / political inexperience, could be seen as in the “evil rich that caused the economic mess” category

It will be interesting to see if like President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, President Obama has a primary challenger for 2012. Obama, like Johnson may end up being a never ending war president with a strong anti-war Democrat base. President Obama, like President Johnson did, may end up with a primary challenger that is stronger anti war like Johnson’s challenger MN Senator Eugene McCarthy. And then, once a challenger comes in to take the initial heat, President Obama may end up with a challenger that could take the primary from him – think Hillary – or like Johnson’s Robert Kennedy.

On my 2012 Christmas list is “I’d like to see President Obama run a strong reelection in 2012 against a strong challenge from Governor Chris Christie with the Vice President candidate being Florida Senator Marco Rubio or Florida Representative Retired Lt. Colonel Allen West. And if current Vice President Joe Biden decides to retire, I hope current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be President Obama’s Vice President candidate.”

Could you imagine the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates with that line-up? We would have a true “light the tree” excitement level all year. A reindeer can dream, right?


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