I know that you, dear reader, together with the Republican Party higher-ups, have been clamoring for my thoughts on the 2012 presidential race. At long last, I’m happy to oblige. Here’s my quick take on some of the big names.
Palin: No. She’s useful for the movement, but not as a candidate. Also, my one-year-old is more presidential. (Was that out loud?)
Romney: Maybe. He was my preference in 2008, out of a pretty lousy field. Romney debating Obama on the economy was probably the only shot the Republicans had that year. But now he’s got Obamacare to deal with, and he oversaw a very similar program in Massachusetts. That could neutralize him in the primaries.
Huckabee: No. Not a conservative. Not electable. Makes evangelicals look stupid. Just no.
Gingrich: No. Would probably be a good president, but he’s a relic from nearly 20 years ago, with a serious image problem, who’s not going to make any new fans. Also, his (plural) extramarital affairs are a deal-breaker, both in terms of fitness and electability.
Mitch Daniels: Maybe. He’s a solid conservative with a good track record. But he’s been on this thing about a “truce” on social issues, and that’s no good. First of all, the other side’s not going to honor a truce. Second, there’s a huge part of the base that cares a lot about social issues. Third, they matter. We need somebody who’s dependable on all three legs of the stool: economic, social, and defense.
Tim Pawlenty: Maybe. He’s a serious long-shot. But he’s also a blue-collar type, which will make Tea Party folks happy, he’s got a good record, and if he can put out more stuff like this video, he could go somewhere.
Hailey Barbour: He might be the best candidate we have. The contrast between Mississippi’s Republican government and Louisiana’s Democratic one was very apparent after Katrina, and he’s done pretty amazing things (like cut a $700-billion deficit in half without raising taxes) working with a Democratic legislature. Unfortunately, he’ll be 65 in 2012, and he sounds like, well, the governor of Mississippi. A white-haired Southerner against a young, cool, black incumbent President? Not a recipe for success. (Now, I happen to inherently trust people who talk like that. But I only get one vote.)
As you might have gathered, I’m not especially optimistic. That will be even more clear in the next post, when I tell you about my favorite and why he shouldn’t run.