BY Ian McInerney
With Obama’s recent announcement that he will seek a second term as President of the United States, it seems only necessary that I should take a look at who will be sacrificed to the election Gods 579 days from now. For those of you that just cannot wait until that fateful day, here is a list of potential Republican candidates that will hopefully whet your political appetites (in no particular order):
Her ability to raise money and her confirmation that she will form an exploratory committee have all but guaranteed that she will decide to run. However, her ties to tea party organizations and her Christian right leanings will not help her come primary season. With her political views, she will need the support of moderates to win the nomination, and she will not get them. It is my firm belief that she is running in order to boost her Congressional stock.
Take everything I said about Bachmann, but take away political experience and add a recent downturn in popularity. If Palin does decide to run, she will not be a serious force come Convention time.
He has no problem raising money and has name recognition from his primary run in 2008. Romney’s Mormonism might hurt him amongst the evangelical vote but his business and financial backgrounds are his strenghts. As the current GOP frontrunner in many polls across the country, his chances for candidacy seem strong and his ability to appeal to moderate Republicans makes it easy to believe that he has a serious chance of getting the nomination.
When he decided not to seek a third term as Governor of Minnesota, it seemed likely that he was going to run for President. Now that he has formed an exploratory committee, it is almost certain. Pawlenty’s solidarity with the Family Research Council will give him a boost amongst the far right conservative base. However, it will be difficult to tell just how viable a candidate he will be until he actually decides to run. Should he announce, look for Pawlenty to attract some of the voters that might have supported Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee.
Newt has the money and the political support to be considered a pretty serious contender if he decides to run. However, he will need to find a way to deter the hordes of people that will attack him for his past Congressional ethics violations and his string of unsuccessful marriages. While these should not tarnish his candidacy too much, it will be difficult for many Republicans to look past them. Gingrich will need to demonstrate his ability to address important issues of the times, such as the wars in the Middle East and the economy, if he is going to make a serious impact this election season.
Any talk of Donald Trump as an actual political candidate is absurd. Trump is too personally invested in his business interests to seriously contemplate leaving them behind in order to pursue the office of the President. His goal here is much like that of Sarah Palin’s, get noticed on the political scene and hopefully build up enough money in order to remain “socially relevant” for a few more years. Were Trump actually to run, his support of the “birther” movement and his complete lack of political experience will hinder his chances of being selected as the GOP’s 2012 candidate.
He has stated that he has no intention of running in 2012. Despite efforts to raise millions of dollars for him by several conservative groups, similar to what happened in 2008, it’s not clear that if Ron Paul decides to run he will garner any widespread support. While I don’t personally believe much of what Ron Paul believes in, he is one of the most genuine politicians of our time and many of the potential candidates could learn a lot from the way he conducts himself.
There you have it. These are the only candidates that I believe will have any sort of viable chance or visibility during the election. While several others have shown signs of possibly announcing their candidacy, for many of them, it will be as difficult a campaign season we have seen for some time.