Kevin Price
An overview of GOP candidates for 2012
By Kevin Price
March 6, 2011

Mediaite has noted that Fox News is doing a preview of the likely contenders for 2012. Fox News anchor Bret Baier will be doing the series.

Mediaite notes that "Those candidates includes: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, South Dakota Sen. John Thune (who has since announced he is not running), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal... A thirteenth story is also planned with long-shots such as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and others like Donald Trump." I know, it seems a little premature in light of the fact that we just completed the mid term elections, but we also know that candidates will be heading to New Hampshire and Iowa in no time in order to test the political waters.

I must admit, my first reaction to the list is that I was not impressed. Obama is largely considered as the worst president since Jimmy Carter. We all remember that Carter set the stage for a Ronald Reagan to rise to power. I do not see anything like a Reagan on this list.

Here are my observations about the list that I think will play a significant role in dismissing some of them:

  • There has only been one member of the US House of Representatives directly elected president. That was James Garfield in 1880. A House district is simply too small of a springboard for the White House. That eliminates Mike Pence and Ron Paul, in my opinion. Ron Paul has other policy and even personality issues that makes him a tough sell. Meanwhile, many conservatives believe Mike Pence was greatly needed in the US House in a leadership position. In my opinion he should have challenged John Boehner for Speaker of the House and not resigned his post as House Republican Conference Chairman.

  • Barack Obama was the first person elected from the US Senate to the White House since John F. Kennedy in 1960. I believe most voters think that the legislative branch is good for criticizing government, but not very potent for governing. I do not believe we will make the mistake of electing a Senator to the White House any time soon. This could pose a problem for Jim DeMint, in spite of his enormous popularity among conservatives and I believe the political right will be driving the GOP in 2012. The same is the case with John Thune.

  • I don't think there is anything about the 2008 contenders that will capture the voters imagination. With that, I have a difficult time taking Huckabee and Romney seriously. Romney, in particular, has proved himself unelectable nationwide by the GOP, spending a fortune for every vote he received. 2008 was a disaster for the GOP and I think that Republicans want to put that year behind them.

    That leaves Sarah Palin (yes, also a contender in 2008, but I believe she will be viewed differently), Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, and Bobby Jindal. There are also several minor contenders, but I believe they are largely inconsequential and will mainly be building their brand for a future race. It is no surprise that all (but one) of those that are left are former governors, which has long been the best place to find presidential talent. Here is a quick review of that group:

  • Newt Gingrich. This PhD in history is certainly the most brilliant in the lot, but he is also the GOPs answer to the "technocrat," the kind of "problem solving" politician who is more committed to creativity than principle. This will not go over well in 2012, in my opinion. Gingrich's philosophy can range from "leaning to the right" to more conservative than Reagan (like he sounds these days), which shows he is more likely to be one to measure the political temperature, then set it. We need real leadership and I do not believe Americans will find it in Gingrich. In spite threats of running before but doing nothing, Gingrich has put together an exploratory committee for 2012. We will have to wait and see.

  • I do not believe Sarah Palin can win in spite of the fact she is one of the best "three legged stool" Republicans since Ronald Reagan (strong defense, pro-family, and economic freedom). She has a sharper edge than Reagan and the media hates her like no other politician on the scene today. The media despises conservative women and minorities and will do all they can to keep such from the White House.

  • Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels are conservatives who have proved they can win in states that are not always easy for candidates that lean to the right. Of them though, Pawlenty is far more pragmatic and his close relationship to Sen. John McCain will likely hurt him. Daniels, on the other hand, is a true conservative who has made his state of Indiana the strongest in the Midwest in the worst economy in decades. I like him and will watch him closely.

  • Chris Christie lacks the experience to be taken seriously, but I hope he runs. He will make the race very exciting and make other candidates be stronger in their positions. I hope he runs, but doubt he will win.

  • Bobby Jindal has shown great leadership as governor. I was so impressed by his actions during the Gulf spill situation. However, he was seriously damaged by the GOP response to the State of the Union. He looked "lifeless" and even bored (and not only boring), plus he is a minority and the media hates minorities that are conservative. I think his best hope is as a vice presidential candidate in 2012, which would be great for conservatives in the breaking of the minority barrier.

So who do I like in 2012? It is early enough for me to discuss names, but not make pledges. I am hoping that someone breaks through and does it quickly to help make 2012 as good or better than 2010.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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