Campaign consultant Mark McKinnon give his two cents, followed by mine in italics:
1. Mitt Romney “… if he runs his race like he did the last month of the last campaign, true to who he really is, he should be the nominee.” Lots opposition by tea party types, but those folks also disliked McCain in 2008 and he won.
2. Sarah Palin “… alleged cop-killer Maurice Clemmons, granted clemency in 2000 by Mike Huckabee, might have just given her [an open door] to walk through for 2012 … Republicans primary voters are notoriously law- and order-obsessed, so Palin has virtually an open field in Iowa, South Carolina, and other primary states dominated by Christian conservatives.” Huckabee really gave a boost to Sarah America who has improved her favorability. But the competence issue remains, though less so with conservatives.
3. Tim Pawlenty “He could end up everyone’s second choice (assuming Romney and Palin both run) and that’s a heck of a place to be in a crowed and wild primary.” A few early missteps but could be the David Cameron of the GOP.
4. John Thune “If he would run, John Thune could be the Bob McDonnell of the 2012 GOP field. … The senator from South Dakota’s got central-casting good looks and comes across as humble and quiet; he has a Gary Cooper sensibility about him.” Brief lobbying career could be a negative, but he does fit the suit. If it was certain he was running, he and Pawlenty would switch spots.
5. Mike Huckabee “Maybe he can create a serious conversation about the notions of redemption and forgiveness in our criminal justice system. Or not. In which case, he’ll probably always have a home at Fox News.” The trend is not in the right direction
6. Joe Scarborough “The host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough, would be a terrific candidate. He’s young, articulate, and telegenic.” A little high on the list, I think. But it might be a good year for an unconventional candidate.
7. Haley Barbour “Sure he’s a caricature of the classic Southern politician: old, large, white, honey-lipped, and a former lobbyist to boot. But if voters are really tired of Obama, they’ll be looking for the mirror opposite of the man occupying the Oval Office. And that would clearly be Haley.” I think the caricature speaks for itself.
8. Newt Gingrich “But our bet is that while he may contribute in many ways and continue to tease, in the end he probably won’t go for the Full Monty.” I think that’s right.
9. Mitch Daniels “Daniels has been an extraordinarily successful and effective governor in Indiana, a state that has been recently more blue than red. A no-nonsense, tell-it-like-is conservative, Daniels cruised to re-election by 18 points last year when Obama was winning the state.” Probably should be much higher on list. Both Daniels and Thune are really the anti-Obama’s on the list. Former WH folks love the guy.
10. Rick Perry “He’s already the longest-serving governor in Texas history and may be headed for his third term next fall.”
in 2012.” McKinnon wonders why he doesn’t usually land on these sorts of lists. Maybe there is a reason for that.