The GOP Presidential candidates are charging out like clowns from a clown-car. Of course, getting in to The Show early, or even just announcing, is pretty cheap. And it increases your cash flow, your paid trips, marketability, and even perceived gravitas. Democrats on the other hand are holding back. To declare against a sitting President is generally an exercise in futility and, at times, a near-suicidal political act. However, strong candidates have pulled it off (most notably Bobby Kennedy, whom we did not get to see go the distance) and won roles at the convention, and promises of plum diplomatic jobs or cabinet positions.
Politico reports the House Republican Conference Chairman from Indiana is considering stepping down from his GOP leadership post to prepare for a possible presidential run in 2012. 'Though the 2010 mid-term election is just barely over, the pressure is on Pence and other GOP hopefuls to state their intentions.
Mitt Romney has already been running for a couple of years, really ever since the night he conceded to John McCain during the primaries. He seems to us like one of the more plausible candidates to whom Democrats might defect (maybe his biggest appeal to Dems and most horrifying to GOP/Tea Party members is the pretty excellent health care system that he pushed for in Mass.). We think his religion is no roadblock. Yeah, we don't think a Hari Krishna will become president soon, but a Mormon? Sure, why not? We are fine with a Jewish or Moslem president, but don't think that happens anytime soon.
Ex-Governor Mike Huckabee won the Iowa primaries last time around, had a huge buzz...and for a few weeks, he was the "It Guy," appearing on the cover of Newsweek, and was the focus of numerous political talk shows. He may or may not run. He seems to like his current FOX news gig. [Ed's Note: nearly half of the GOP hopefuls and toe-dippers are on the FOX payroll in some form or another.]
Ex-Speaker (and architect of the Contract On America) Gingrich
Newt Gingrich, another FOX hack. . .who knows? We guess he will indeed run. Newt is a guy who craves the limelight.
Tim Pawlenty could be running...he is visiting several key, early primary states. He has a book out. He was maybe Number Two on McCain's VP list. But alas, he has a personality like shirt cardboard. His Q factor is virtually zero.
John Bolton, the neocon diplomat (and former undersecretary of state) has publicly toyed with the idea. He may jump in for a primary or two if he can get enough of his fat cat friends to pony up enough cash to make a short, respectable run.
Haley Barbour, the (once) well-thought of Governor may have killed his changes recently with racially insensitive--no, inflammatory--remarks on how nice the south was back in "the good old days."
John Thune, who, a few years ago, stomped Democratic powerhouse Tom Daschle in South Dakota, is textbook politically handsome. And like Tim Pawlenty. . .about as exciting as yesterday's oatmeal.
Mitch Daniels (Governor of Indiana) dismissed a presidential run in June 2009, saying "I've only ever run for or held one office. It's the last one I'm going to hold." In February 2010 he told a Washington Post reporter that he was open to the idea of running in 2012.
Donald Trump has made some noise about making a Presidential run. It's hard to see how a national joke could get much traction in Iowa or New Hampshire.
Ex-Governor Palin (painting by Jack Brummet)
Sarah Palin. She's certainly open to the idea--if not the reality--of running for President. If she does make a go of it, it will be fascinating watching her in those early primaries.
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator who was obliterated in the 2006 election, may just be tempted to run. Another FOX guy. He is almost in the national joke category, along with Trump. He is probably best known for his positions on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Social Security, intelligent design, homosexuality, and the long-forgotten Terri Schiavo case.
Chris Christie--a guy we think could go all the way. He's a Republican who is seen by his own party as soft on immigration; is against gay marriage, but in favor of civil unions (just like President Obama!); is not strong with the pro-gun lobby; favors medical marijuana; and while opposed to it, is soft on abortion and doesn't believe it is the state's duty to ram it down the throats of the people. However, the Tea Party wing of the party does not take a blue dog approach. You're either with them, or against them. With all the other neo-con and tea-party alternatives, it's hard to see how Christie could ever garner much support within his own party.