GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Even before Obama’s inauguration, there was already quite a lot of speculation as to whom the GOP will run in 2012.

Up to now, it’s still up in the air. While certainly no front-runner has really stuck out, last month, Gallup published a poll which asked Republicans who they’d like to see as the Republican nominee. Here are the results:

  1. Sarah Palin— 76% favorable, 20% unfavorable, 4% don’t know
  2. Mike Huckabee—65% , 10%, 25%
  3. Newt Gingrich—64% , 17%, 20%
  4. Mitt Romney—54%, 19%, 27%
  5. Bobby Jindal—45%, 9%, 46%

So, being the good, flag-waving American that I am (and you are), let’s look at the pros and cons of each presidential hopeful.

Sarah Palin

Pros

1.  Make no mistake, Sarah Palin is the new face of the GOP. She’s the reigning Prom Queen of the Republican Party, and she’s everywhere. And this may be hard to believe, but people really listen to her.

In a Rasmussen poll from last November, 59% of Republicans said  they share relatively the same values as Palin. Then, in a CNN poll taken a month later, eight of 10 Republicans said they viewed Palin favorably. And most recently, a February Gallup poll found that 11% of registered Republican voters already said they would vote for Sarah Palin, even though the Alaska’s former Gov. hasn’t announced that she would run in 2012.

And take a look at the book sales from her memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life. Of all first-week sales of memoirs from presidents, vice presidents and anyone who unsuccessfully ran for those offices, Sarah Palin’s is the second most successful in history (following Bill Clinton’s). According to HarperCollins, the memoir’s publisher, Going Rogue’s first-day sales were among the most successful of all nonfiction books.

Cons

1. Pick one: scribbling notes on her palm like she was cheating on a high school algebra test, “I can see Russia from my backyard”, or Katie Couric asking Momma Grizzly what newspapers or magazines she follows. They’ve all been publicized beyond conception, and they’ve all had their impact.

That’s precisely why she isn’t the #1 pick among Tea Party voters, even though she has endorsed the Tea Party with every other breath in the past few months.

According to CNN republican consultant Leslie Sanchez, “They’re ultimately looking for solutions beyond the rhetoric,” says Sanchez. “There is no doubt Palin engages the base, she amplifies their message. But in the long run, it’s going to be who has the best solutions and can sustain a common sense approach to fixing government.”

Actually,Palin is losing popularity throughout the GOP, Tea Party aside. Besides the Gallup results from last month, Palin isn’t a top pick among possible republican presidential hopefuls in any poll. According to prnewswire.com, a poll released by Clarus, a D.C. public relations firm, “… Republican voters finds that support for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to win the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination has fallen by one-third since March, sliding from 18 points to 12 points.”

Mike Huckabee

Pros

1. Mike’s a dream incarnate for evangelicals. He’s an ordained pastor, preaching from pulpits from Texarkana to Pine Bluff, AR from 1980 to 1992. And for Huckabee, there’s no watering down anything from the Good Book.  He believes in biblical inerrancy (i.e. the Bible is infallible) and has stated, “Politics are totally directed by worldview. That’s why when people say, ‘We ought to separate politics from religion,’ I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible”.

2. Iowa apparently loves bass players.  In a poll hosted by theIowaRepublican.com, Huck came in first with 22% (Romney received 18%, Newt had 14%, and mama grizzly came in fourth with 11%).  The poll results were published on August 16, 2010, but even with the Iowa caucuses still quite a ways away, that still bodes very well for this diabetic marathon runner.

3. The former governor of Arkansas is more of a household name than ever, especially his last name.  Huckabee’s syndicated Fox News program (wittily named Huckabee) is not only a hit, it has the highest number of viewers— regardless of age— for any Saturday cable news show.

Cons

1.  He’s a loser. Huckabee went the distance in ’08, but he lost the GOP presidential nominee to the Maverick. And many are already speculating Huckabee’s possible 2012 run to be nothing more than a rerun.  As previously mentioned, even though Mike is already a favorite in Iowa, that changes very little in this and the last case.  Keep in mind, he won the Iowa caucuses the last time around, but Iowa was the only state he carried (although he picked up a few southern states before he accepted defeat).

What killed Huck’s chances in the last election were his shallow pockets.  He was drastically outspent by the competition, like Romney (who will probably run again in 2012).  If history isn’t going to repeat itself for this possible candidate, then he’s going to have to ask for more financial backing, and by using his prominence on television—or, according to his viewers, “the box with the movin’ pictures”—that might be easier done than said.

Newt Gingrich

Pros

1. Even though he’s a little less of a public figure than he was in the 90’s (presently, 74% of Americans know who he was, or used to be, as opposed to 90% back in his prime) and Pat Buchanan thinks he’s a “political opportunist”, he’s still Newt Gingrich. From ‘95-’99, he was the Speaker of the House, loathing everything that was Bill Clinton.

In 1995, Time named Newt their “Person of the Year” for his work in the so-called Republican Revolution, where an astounding 54 seats in the House, with 8 seats in the Senate, changed over to the GOP.  So, in looking forward, if Newt ran in 2012, he’d have a lot to brag about on the campaign trail and in the debates.

2. If anyone is going to be a dark horse in this upcoming election, it’ll be Newt. In the poll taken by theIowaRepublican.com, which surveyed 399 likely GOP voters, he placed third with 14% of the vote.  According to Gallup, opinions of Newt are mixed, but “…are relatively more positive than the generally negative ratings he received throughout the 1990s and, in particular, in 2007, when he was considered a possible contender for the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nomination.”

And sure, why not? Not only does he share the same opinions as most mainstream republicans on current issues (like immigration and torturing terrorists, for instance), but he also voices them loudly and bluntly. Take the Ground Zero mosque, for example. Newt recently said of it, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington.”

Cons

1. If there’s one thing a Republican can’t stand, it’s immorality. That duly noted, this September’s Esquire ran an exposé which rummaged around in Newt’s closet, finding not a few skeletons but an entire cemetary. In John H. Richardson’s piece, not only does Gingrich make borderline racist jokes about Obama’s athletic abilities (“The more angry we get, the worse it is for Obama. I don’t care how many three-point jump shots he makes.” and “Shooting three-point shots is clever but doesn’t put anyone back to work. We need a president, not an athlete.”), but his married life makes Clinton look like he should be canonized. Here’s a summary from the Ostroy Report:

  • That he met his first wife Jackie when she was his high-school geometry teacher. They married when he was 19 and she 26.
  • He later dumped Jackie, while she was recovering from cancer, to marry then-mistress Marianne.
  • He later dumped Marianne, for mistress and eventual third wife Callista, while she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (apparently Newt has huge issues with the marital vow “in sickness and in health”). While married to Marianne, Newt wanted her to “tolerate” his affair with Callista, who is 23 years his junior.
  • In answering an incredulous Marianne who questioned his hypocritical public family-values grandstanding while cheating on her with his much younger aide Callista, Gingrich arrogantly replied: “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I say. It doesn’t matter what I live.” Talk about delusions of grandeur.

Mitt Romney

Pros

1. The Tea Party can’t get enough Mitt Romney. Even though it would seem likely—at least at first glance—that Sarah Palin would be the sweetheart of the Tea Party, according to a CNN Poll released on August 13th, Mitt is their #1 candidate with 22 percent of Tea Partiers supporting him (surprisingly Palin has the No.3 spot, behind Newt, with 17 percent).

2. Our economy is not only down the toilet, it’s floating around in the septic tank. More than any issue, Americans are most interested in having this dilapidated economy put back on its feet. And, out of all the republican presidential hopefuls, Mitt looks like the guy with the right stuff. After all, he was a former businessman and a good one at that (he’s known as the man who saved the 2002 winter Olympics and his children and grandchildren are worth between $70-$110 million).

Of course, Mitt knows this. In fact, he’s already talking about it publicly.  In an op-ed piece published by the Boston Globe on Aug. 18th, Mitt ranted about what should be done to get us back on the right path, economically speaking.

Yes, it was more Reaganomics (benefiting the rich by preserving the Bush Tax cuts), but then again, to this day if you want to make a republican teary-eyed, all you have to do is mention Ronald Reagan. In other words, Romney is cramming himself into a mold that Republicans have been looking for since 1988: the second coming of the Gipper, trickling down from on high.

Cons

1.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s right, that Mormon heart of his beats fast when there’s talk of Joseph Smith. According to Amy Sullivan, of Washingtonmonthly.com, back in Sept. 2005:

“His obstacle is the evangelical base–a voting bloc that now makes up 30 percent of the Republican electorate and that wields particular influence in primary states like South Carolina and Virginia. Just as it is hard to overestimate the importance of evangelicalism in the modern Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to overemphasize the problem evangelicals have with Mormonism… To evangelicals, Mormonism isn’t just another religion. It’s a cult.”

Anything short of Romney renouncing his faith probably will amount to trouble if he decided to run for president…well, it certainly did in the last election.

2.  OH NO, ROMNEY IS A SOCIALIST!  As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt signed “Mass Health” into law, mandating all residents of the state to sign up for a state-government-regulated minimum level of health care insurance coverage.  The bill provides free health care for any resident earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level.

So, keeping in mind that most (if not all) Republicans are dizzy from shouting about how this country is turning red because of Obamacare, that will certainly cause migraines for any “Romney for President” campaign.

And last but certainly least…

Bobby Jindal

Pros

1. The 55th and current governor of Louisiana is your textbook definition of a Neo-Conservative. He’s your standard pro-lifer, vehemently opposed to stem-cell research, and he’s against same-sex marriage. He was also endorsed by the NRA and received an A rating from Gun owners of America while in congress. So he’s got all that going for him.

He’s also the first elected non-white Louisiana governor and the first Indian-American governor of the country.  Bobby, Congratulations.

Cons

1. Nope. In the theIowaRepublican.com poll, where everyone I’ve discussed received a decent percent of the vote, Jindal didn’t even receive 1%. So unless it’s revealed that he’s Superman, or maybe George Washington (mind you, the first Indian-American George Washington), then Bobby Jindal has less of a shot at being president than Mitt Romney has in going to an evangelical’s Christian heaven.

2. And who could forget Hurricane Katrina? If Jindal ran, naturally he’d have to mention it like it was a nervous tick.  But according to political analyst David Johnson, “The one thing Republicans want to forget is Katrina.” So what does that leave in Jindal’s deck? How about his official republican response to President Obama’s joint address to Congress in 2009? That went well. Even republican TV analysts called the speech “a disaster for the Republican Party”.

3.  But at least he’s a realist. In a speech given to the SCLC last April, Bobby told the crowd that he won’t be seeking the GOP nomination. Therefore, there’s no sense in any non-Louisianan talking about Bobby Jindal whatsoever.

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One thought on “GOP Presidential Hopefuls

  1. Excellent article man! Great writing and well researched – I feel smarter for having read that and That’s the sign of great journalism.

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