Top 25 For 2012 GOP Nod, Updated!

Mitt Romney is still the man, at least among the mostly young, mostly rabid conservatives at CPAC; he won the conference's straw poll for the next Republican Presidential nominee with 20 percent of the vote. That's three years in a row for Mitt.

As CPAC closes out to the dulcet tones of the right's dear leader, Rush Limbaugh, I have decided to update my ranking of the 25 most likely people to win the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, made two months ago. I'll get to that below.

Just to wrap up for now about CPAC, however... The message from what I've seen is: Republicans -- and particularly George W. Bush -- blew it by deviating from true conservatism, thus handing the country over to the socialist Hollywood deviants, who are now going to destroy this country and all of Western civilization. But not to worry, because if Republicans return to true conservative principles, America will vote them back in and they'll fix everything and all will be well again.

I get that conferences like this are really pep rallies, to keep up the spirits of the true believers, and that's fine. But they really should keep it away from the press and not let the cameras in, because it's just really, really bad PR for them. You've got some of the biggest, most serious names in the party participating in a conference where, for example, the mention of Katie Couric's name, or her image on screen, is greeted with lusty boos. This is not how to mainstream yourself.

However, those Couric-haters might be fairly indicative of the shrinking GOP base who will show up to vote for a nominee in 2012. With that in mind, here's my new rankings -- with some shake-ups in the order near the top, and three new names joining the list. Previous ranking is in parentheses. Enjoy, and discuss!

1) Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina. Still the most likely, after straddling the stimulus issue, boldly declined a small amount of the money. (1)

2) Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota. Still has no strikes against him, and conservatives are taking him more seriously every day – hey, they put him on the CPAC straw poll, even if they didn’t actually choose him. (3)3) Jim DeMint, US Senator from South Carolina. Has heroically led the charge against the non-existent threat against conservative talk radio. You better believe those talk-radio hosts love him for it. (6)4) Mike Pence, US Representative from Indiana. I’m dropping him a couple of spots, but don’t take your eye off this guy. (2)5) John Thune, US Senator from South Dakota. Keeping quiet, voting conservative, opposing stimulus, and staying handsome. (7)6) Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts. Still has to be high on the list, thanks to money and name-recognition, although I don’t think he’ll run in 2012. (5)7) Kay Bailey Hutchison, US Senator from Texas. Good news: she’s crushing Rick Perry in the polls for Texas governor. Bad news: Perry will now spend 18 months claiming she’s pro-choice, seriously hurting her Presidential hopes. (9)8) Rick Perry, Governor of Texas. Bad news: getting crushed by Hutchison in the polls. Good news: if he comes back to win re-election, he looks even stronger. (4)9) Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. They’re making fun of him, but at least they’re talking about him. (8)10) Jon Huntsman Jr., Governor of Utah. Insulting Congressional Republicans -- good. Forging a moderate conservative path -- questionable. (12)11) Eric Cantor, US Representative from Virginia. Really, really, really hates the stimulus bill, and is willing to say so anywhere, any time. (17)12) Jon Kyl, US Senator from Arizona. Just missed the list before, but has gotten some buzz – and is arguably the most conservative senator. (--)13) Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana. No new buzz, but still viable and ambitious. (10)14) Bill Frist, former Senator from Tennessee. I still say so, although his choice for RNC chair was rejected. (11)15) Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House from Georgia. Hardest-working conservative in show business. (13)16) Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi. His pitch: well, who else have we got who won’t completely embarrass the party? (14)17) Dick Kempthorne, former Interior Secretary. Staking an early claim as the Tommy Thompson of 2012. (--)18) Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida. Poll sez he coasts to re-election or US Senate in 2010. I sez the gay rumors remain. (16)19) Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska. You know who else was popular in 2008? Katy Perry. I don’t see her topping the charts in 2012 either. (15)20) Bob Corker, US Senator from Tennessee. He’s been trying to stick his nose into things and getting in the news; sounds to me like someone thinking of running! (--)21) John Ensign, US Senator from Nevada. His strategy seems to be: lay low until people stop despising Republicans on sight. (19)22) Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas. Looks less and less likely every day. (18)23) Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security. Still waiting for his pro-life conversion. (20)24) Lindsay Graham, Senator from South Carolina. Still the third most likely South Carolinian. (23)

25) Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. Passing on 2010 Florida Senate race: does it mean he’s done with politics, or has something bigger in mind? Nah, probably done with politics, for a while anyway. (21)

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Talking Politics Archives