Sights set on 2012

We’re just getting into full-swing campaigning for the 2012 Presidential Elections, so now’s a good time to take a look at the potential matchups.  For all the chatter about Obama facing a primary challenge from the left, I think we all know that’s not going to happen.  Let’s set him in the Blue Corner.

Where things really ARE going to be interesting is in the Red Corner.  Conservatives – tired of being asked to compromise after ‘their’ candidate loses a primary – may or may not turn out for a squishy RINO, but the moderates may choose to stay home on election day if a full-fledged conservative (Cain, West, et al.) is nominated.  If the GOP elite want to pick our candidate, this dichotomy poses a problem.  To which end of the party should they pander?  Of course, this could all be avoided by simply staying out of the process and allowing the voters to speak.

One giant difference between the Democrat and Republican nomination thought process is that the right tend to nominate the ‘next in line,’ while the left nominate ‘the person who can win.’  Would anyone argue that it was Obama’s ‘turn’ in 2008?  We, on the other hand, have Dole and McCain to point to as perfect examples.  It will be interesting to see whether or not Republican primary voters allow the elites to make our choice for us by undercutting those who aren’t deemed ‘next in line.’

The reason I say the ‘next in line’ issue may not pose a problem for GOP elites is because the mindset should be ‘Anyone Who Can Beat Obama.’  If that turns out to be a Palin or a Bachmann, so be it.  If it turns out to be a Romney… well, that’ll have to do.

With that, let’s recap the serious (announced) contenders for the Red Corner.  I’ll go alphabetically, so don’t read these as any sort of preferential order:

Bachmann:  (R-MN) Bachmann surprised a lot of people with her performance in the GOP ‘debate’ the other night.  She was generally direct and came off less as a bomb-thrower and more as a serious candidate.

Cain:  He’s been the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and served in the Navy.  His intelligence is without question, and his fiscal policies seem well-grounded in reality.

Gingrich:  I included Gingrich on this list because he has formally announced and has high name recognition, but his campaign seems to be going nowhere but Davey Jones’ Locker.  His staff have abandoned him in droves and his ‘couch session’ with Pelosi have done what looks to be massive and permanent damage to his Republican credentials.  It looks like 1994 was it for Newt.

Paul:  Everyone has a hobby.  His seems to be running for President.

Pawlenty:  Also from Minnesota, Pawlenty brings executive experience to the GOP corner.  In a head-to-head matchup with Obama, that should help him an extreme amount.  Getting through the primary with low name recognition won’t be easy, and he passed up a glorious chance to hammer Romney in the last debate.  He has admitted  he missed an opportunity, but in politics, sometimes one shot is all you get.

Romney:  If you had to pick a front-runner, it’s Romney.  It’s his turn (see above) and the elite think he’s centrist enough to win.  The giant albatross around his neck is RomneyCare, which makes his attacks on Obama ring rather hollow.  It’s sort of difficult to criticize someone for doing with the nation precisely what you did with a state when  you were a governor.  Falling back on the 10th Amendment as a way to split hairs and wiggle out won’t help him with conservative voters, and his recent global warming comments didn’t help him.  Again though, it is his turn, and I have a hard time seeing Romney losing the nomination.

Who knows how the nomination process will play out.  I think the only question that matters is whether or not Republican voters will unite behind their nominee – whoever it is – and drive Obama out of office.

Who wins the nomination?  A candidate already listed, or someone else?  Does Palin get into the mix?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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