Friday, November 21, 2008

In the year 2012, the Republicans...

By Michael J.W. Stickings

If you're already thinking ahead to 2012 -- and, honestly, who isn't? -- check out Chris Cillizza's post at The Fix on "ten Republicans to watch."

The big names, of course, are Palin, Romney, and Huckabee, but only Romney makes the list, and rightly so. As I have said before, I think Palin's star will fade markedly over the next few years. Huckabee will continue to be a leading figure among the theocrats, but I suspect Republicans will go for old-fashioned pro-market economics in 2012, not radical social conservatism. Romney has the business-oriented bona fides, but of course he just isn't all that trusted among Republicans, and certainly not among conservatives, as we saw in the primaries. He'll have the will, the money, and the organization, not to mention the Mormon Church, which proved its influence in the Prop. 8 vote in California, but I think both the party establishment and grassroots activists will look elsewhere.

There are some interesting names on the list, but, to me, the stand-outs are Eric Cantor, Mark Sanford, and John Thune. Jindal, a party celebrity, is at the top of the list, and conservatives certainly seem to like him, but he strikes me as one of those figures who will always be the future of the GOP, never the present (to borrow that fantastic line from The Contender: "You're the future of the Democratic Party, and you always will be," President Evans (Jeff Bridges) tells Governor Hathaway (William Petersen)). Given how Republicans like to scare up public fear of the Other (e.g., Obama as somehow un-American), it would be interesting to see how they would respond to a serious run by Jindal, but they're likely to go with someone more typical, not a "new face."

Cantor, being Jewish, is an Other, too, but, as I wrote back in August, he's got a lot going for him. Meanwhile, Sanford and Thune are solid conservatives who have already made names for themselves on the national scene. Thune, like all senators, will suffer from being just one of 100, while Sanford is the new chair of the Republican Governors Association. (Note that Bush had the solid support of Republican governors for his 2000 run, as this 1999 article by Margaret Carlson at shows. It helps to have them behind you, and, in a few years, if not already, they may prefer Sanford to Palin.)

Others will emerge, of course, but, as of right now, I'd say Cantor, Sanford, and Thune are the ones to watch (with Sanford most of all). That is, when you're not still watching Palin.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • I think the solid South that was a huge advantage for the Republicans is going to become a huge problem for the party. They are becoming a regional party and candidates that run well in the South, with their social conservatism and ostentatious evangelical Christianity, are going to become less and less popular nationally.

    The country has had enough of Southerners like Gingrich, Gramm, Bush, DeLay, Huckabee, Lott and the rest. Mark Sanford is just another Southern right-winger who won't go over well outside the South.

    Jindal is a gimmick. Palin is a buffoon and Romney will always come off as a phony because he is. Thune may do well if everything goes to hell.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home