Pay attention to the news, blogs, political websites and you’ll notice the GOP has no shortage of potential candidates to race against Obama in 2012. What could possibly go wrong? A recent article from the Daily Caller shows there are at least 17 Republicans who have either expressed interest or are being urged to run. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great we’ve been given such a large field to choose from. However, there is huge potential for having far too many cooks in the kitchen.
Here’s the issue we are in danger of facing: take a look at the list and you’ll notice that there are what people would consider “real conservatives,” “establishment republicans,” I hate using the term but people use it; “RINO’s,” and then the miscellaneous. Sounds nice, a little something for everyone on the Right, right? Wrong. All one has to do is spend an hour on Twitter to learn that it’s either Sarah Palin or bust or that John Thune isn’t Republican enough or Mitt Romney just says what you want to hear that day or Ron Paul is crazy (which, he is). You’ve also got Newt Gingrich who has been around FOREVER and for some people they like that because they think he has the smarts to do the job. They may be right. Twitter tends to get all a twitter when discussing 2012 and it usually leaves people with a nasty taste in their mouth about one another; which is all part of politics. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. But, let’s have a looksee at who we’ve got for 2012.
The Palin Factor – It’s literally impossible to talk about 2012 without mentioning Sarah Palin. It’s no secret Sarah Palin has been at the front of the fight for conservatism. And she’s done a pretty good job. She understands the core values that made America great and she’s great at connecting with people. I’m afraid that’s where it ends. Listen to one Sarah Palin interview and you’ve listened to them all. She never seems to dig deeper and give real policy questions. On top of that she also has TONS of baggage that will no doubt mean for a huge uphill battle. The media will want to eat her, spit her back up and eat her all over again if she runs. Possibly the most harmful factor when considering a Palin run for the Presidency; she’s polarizing. Not just between the Right and Left but within the right. Spend a few minutes talking to 10 Republicans and you’ll probably have 5 that absolutely adore her and the other 5 who truthfully don’t care for her. Her strongest fans refuse to be told she can’t win and her strongest opponents within the right see a lot of harm in her entering the 2012 race.
John Thune – Perhaps the Republican equivalent to Obama in terms of looks. In the past year John Thune has been raising his national profile giving hint to a 2012 bid. His main problem, no one really knows who he is. Then again, who knew who Barack Obama was? He has also been slammed by several conservatives for being a “RINO” because he supports ethanol, he voted for TARP, etc. Those who like Thune see him as a fresh face, a smooth talker and a savvy mind. He knows how to win a tough race; he defeated Tom Daschle in 2004. He’s a solid Christian who sides with even the rightest of the right on social issues and has a fiscal brain that could potentially help us solve our problems. Thune’s biggest obstacle to overcome will be becoming a household name and defending his reasons for supporting TARP; which he has layed out the problems with how it’s been used. He’ll still have to convince some conservatives of why he even voted for it in the first place.
Everyone’s Dream, Chris Christie – Do I really need to say much? This man has taken on New Jersey by storm and has wasted no time kicking butt and taking names. Though, he’s made it extremely clear he has no intentions on running it’s nice to dream a little.
The Donald – A lot of people have a hard time taking a Donald Trump run for office seriously. But, if anyone knows the business behind making something successful; it’s the Don. But… that hair?
Newt the Brain – If there’s one potential 2012 candidate who knows the ins and outs of politics, it’s Gingrich. Whether you want him to run or not the guy knows the business backwards and forwards. It’d be fatal to ignore him.
Mitt Romney – Perhaps his rallying cry can be “If at first you don’t succeed…” I’d be surprised if Romey didn’t give it another try at the White House. In fact, I’m pretty confident he will. His biggest obstacle will be convincing people there’s a difference between “Romneycare” in Massachusetts and Obamacare. He’s tried making the case for it but a good portion of conservatives still don’t buy
it. Counting Mitt Romney out could prove to be a mistake. Romney’s business background is something to be envied and he brings with him the executive experience of governing a state. He also just has that Presidential look about him and he’s no stranger to presidential campaigns.
Mike Pence – He just needs to announce he’s running for Governor of Indiana.
The Leftovers – Tim Pawlenty is definitely going to run. I see him as too nice. He’s a great fiscal conservative but I don’t know if he has the fight. Mitch Daniels, he has worked miracles in the state of Indiana and that executive experience is something a lot of conservatives love. I also love his dry sense of humor. John Bolton is pretty hardcore. He knows his foreign policy. Rick Perry – he’s from Texas, do I need to say more? Texans know how to get work done.
It would appear we’re going to have a lot of fun in 2012. But, I worry about the infighting that there is potential for because there’s always that potential. What we all need to understand is that the 2012 race is far too critical to throw people into just because we want them to run. The race for the White House needs to be taken extremely seriously by the GOP. We must win this election and we are at risk of throwing either too many people in or throwing in people who have huge potential to divide the party. Sure, we need a true conservative who is going to stand on principle and govern in a way that is best for America’s future; but we also need someone who can win. That’s politics. That means some of us (myself included) will have to say goodbye to that man or woman we want to see run. For others, we may get the joy of seeing our man or woman at the front. We must be willing to set aside personal “fandom” in order to do what’s best for our country. I’m confident the Republican Party can pull together and pick a great candidate who can beat Obama. I say we start putting our heads together now. I for one don’t want to media to get the joy of seeing us Republicans turn on one another during the race. They’re going to try and do it no matter what but we can’t let it happen.