More on imperfect candidates
Readers chimed in to inquire about some names I did not discuss yesterday in analyzing the potential 2012 Republican candidates' weaknesses.
John Thune is an engaging, solid conservative who was one of John McCain's better surrogates during the 2008 presidential campaign. But, like Tim Pawlenty, his challenge is to define and distinguish himself from the crowd. In a profile this fall Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard wrote, " He has virtually no national profile. He worked briefly as a lobbyist. He voted for TARP. He is a defender of earmarks. He would be running against Washington from Washington." That said, he is the sort of earnest, likeable politician who might find his way on the short list for VP.
Jeb Bush to many conservatives is an ideal candidate -- a successful reformer, an experienced governor, a capable vote-getter. But he has two handicaps: his last name and his lack of interest in the job. As George W. Bush earns some well-deserved recognition for his accomplishments the Bush name has lost toxicity. That said, the possibility for three Bush presidents may still irk some voters. More seriously, Jeb Bush has said he doesn't want to run. He seems to mean it. But should he change his mind, or should other candidates drop like flies, it's not inconceivable he would be implored to change his mind.
Likewise, Rick Perry has disclaimed interest in the job. He is another solid Republican governor who has won election twice. He does, however, have a tendency to make controversial comments, a minor matter for a popular governor but a more serious problem for a presidential candidate.
And then there is Newt Gingrich. He is much on the minds of House Republicans as they seize the majority -- but this is not a positive sign. Gingrich, both for activists and insiders, is s symbol of hubris, lack of discipline and missed opportunities. They remember all too well the ethics scandal, the government shutdown and the opportunities he opened for Bill Clinton to regain his political mojo. He is in many respects one of the more creative and interesting politicians, but for every interesting idea that comes from his lips there are the gaffes and the wacky formulations (who can forget, "males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes"?!) In that regard he is perhaps the only Republican less disciplined than Sarah Palin and more prone to get himself into hot water.
So once again I come back to my original thesis. There is a reason why so many outsiders and currently lesser-known candidates are sizing up their 2012 chances: the race is anyone's to win. And those with the biggest names have some of the biggest problems.
| December 30, 2010; 9:40 AM ET
Categories: 2012 campaign
Save & Share: Previous: So much for bipartisanship -- a slew of recess appointments
Next: Boycotting as a political strategy
Posted by: battleground51 | December 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: chrisbrown12 | December 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Indy82 | December 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | December 30, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: danw1 | December 30, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | December 30, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 54465446 | December 30, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 54465446 | December 30, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | December 30, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: K2K2 | December 30, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.