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The Line: 10 Republicans To Watch

Out of power everywhere they look, Republicans are in the midst of, what they call in sports, a rebuilding year.

The first building block of any rebuilding is an infusion of new talent -- young, fresh faces who bubble up through the ranks to emerge on the national stage.

"You become a top-down party when you've had the White House for a long time," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) recently. "That has happened to us."

Friday Line

So, who are the new faces to watch over the next few years as Republicans rebuild? Our Line of the ten most influential voices in the party is below.

Remember that this Line is not meant to be taken as proxy handicapping for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination fight. Several of the people on this list are likely to run for that office, others almost certainly won't, others can't.

The number one ranked individual on the line is the Republican with the most control over the party's direction over the next several years.

As always, your kudos and critiques are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line!

10. Bobby Jindal: The Louisiana governor has virtually disappeared from the national scene after his less-than-well-received Republican response to President Obama's congressional address in February. And, as we have noted, it is almost logistically impossible for Jindal to run for reelection in 2011 and also pursue the presidency in 2012. Still, don't underestimate Jindal's power within the party -- he is one of the few politicians that activists and operatives alike get excited about. (Previous ranking: 10)

9. Tim Pawlenty: T-Paw, the governor of Minnesota, needs to decide sooner rather than later whether he is going to seek a third term or whether he will retire in 2010 to focus full time on running for president. (We argued in a recent post that the latter option makes far more sense.) Why? Because running for reelection in a Democratic-leaning state and running for the Republican presidential nomination are two very different things with different issue sets and focuses. Until Pawlenty decides, he will rise no higher on our Line. (Previous ranking: 7)

8. Jeb Bush: In our interview with Bush earlier this week, the former Florida governor made clear that he plans to help organize a national campaign around five critical policy issues over the coming few years. Bush, the younger brother of the former president, is something of a reluctant political warrior but his interest in influencing the policy conversation within the GOP coupled with the high esteem with which he is held within the party means that he has a significant role -- if he wants it. (Previous ranking: N/A)

7. Rush Limbaugh: El Rushbo hasn't been in the news as much over the past month as he was earlier in the Obama administration but he still commands as close to a bully pulpit as Republicans are likely to get for the next few years. At issue for Limbaugh: does he use his large, captive audience to help reorganize and rebuild the GOP grassroots and help elevate the future leaders of the party? Or does he spend most of his time attacking Obama? (Previous ranking: 6)

6. Sarah Palin: We've said it before and we'll say it again -- no prospective candidate for the 2012 nomination has more potential than the Alaska governor. Witness the estimated 3,000 people who showed up Thursday to hear Palin speak at a Right to Life banquet in Evansville, Ind. What other figure in the Republican party could command that size audience in that venue? Answer: no one. That said, Palin's press strategy -- typified by her bizarre back and forth with Levi Johnston -- is totally baffling and risks the diminution of her national profile. (Previous ranking: 5)

5. Eric Cantor: The Virginia Republican is rapidly emerging as the single most influential member of the Congress on the GOP side. Over the first 90 days of Obama's presidency, Cantor has quickly become his lead critic -- a not insignificant task given the number of ambitious GOP pols looking to claim that role. And, in conversations we have with any number of other politicians on this Line -- Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney -- they always mention that they are talking to Cantor on a semi-regular basis. Did we mention the guy raked in nearly $1 million in the first three months of the year? Impressive on all fronts. (Previous ranking: 8)

4. Newt Gingrich: Ask any Republican who they think needs a bigger role in the party over the next two years and to a person they will name the former speaker of the House. Gingrich is a man of ideas (not all of them good) for a party sorely lacking in them and also enjoys a national profile that allows him to advocate for where he believes the party needs to go. The big question surrounding Gingrich: will he spend the next several years using his policy smarts to fuel a potential presidential run or instead sublimate his own ambitions and dedicate his time to reshaping the Republican party in less public role. (Previous ranking: 3)

3. Mark Sanford: Whether or not you believe the anti-tax tea parties staged earlier this week were a success or a failure, they did reveal that there is a vocal segment within the conservative base of the GOP who is fed up with government spending. Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, is positioned perfectly to become the voice of that element of the party. (He told the Fix recently that he stayed up until 12:30 a.m. watching all of the tea party coverage; "I think something is going on out there," Sanford added.) If he can rally that populist rage behind him over the next few months, he becomes a very potent force in 2010 and beyond. (Previous ranking: 4)

2. Haley Barbour: Barbour has two great gifts that keep him ranked so high on the Line. First, he is beloved by almost everyone within the Republican party and regarded broadly as one of the leading strategic minds the GOP possesses. Second, as one of the creators of modern lobbying in Washington, Barbour knows he can't run for president -- a stance that makes him the perfect neutral arbiter in the near term and kingmaker in advance of 2012. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor is the complete package. A tremendous fundraiser, he also has the business credentials that allow him to speak intelligently and forcefully about the economy -- the only issue most Americans care about right now. Romney will move to seize the high ground (from a policy perspective) on health care within the party over the coming months and is likely to be Obama's leading critic when Congress takes up the legislation in the fall. Romney's Achilles heel: he is still a little too programmatic and stiff. He needs to find the common touch if he wants to stand against Obama in November 2012. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 17, 2009; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

Who is the most influential person within the GOP?

Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist. Just about all GOP candidates kowtow to these two.

It is telling that Steele's name isn't even anymore on the radar. Did anyone even mention him in this thread? Nobody takes him seriously anymore after his rapid meltdown.

I should say that Palin and Jindal have suffered similar meltdowns, but they do have some potential for a comeback. Though I don't ever see Palin being on a presidential ticket (Republicans might be ideological zealots, but at least the establishment is smart enough to realise that she's a non-starter outside the GOP base).

As to the second question, who might be nominated as presidential candidate (which is distinct from being the most influential member of the party), here's my take.

Jeb Bush won't ever win the nomination. I think even Republicans realise that his family name is utterly toxic.

As for an evangelical standard-bearer, Huckabee seems better positioned than Palin in terms of presidential ambitions. The Christian Right might love Palin, but Huckabee has far less baggage as far as the wider public goes. Not that he's presidential material either, but hey, I would have said the same about Reagan had I been around in 1980...

Pawlenty. Won't excite anyone, but for lack of anyone else compelling, he might get traction.

Sanford. I think he could be big in a nomination race.

Romney. Perhaps the default candidate. Not that he has a prayer against Obama (short of some major scandal). But hey, that goes for all Republicans.

Huntsman. The Utah gov seems well-positioned. Not that I would advise any GOPer to enter a losing race like 2012.

Quite frankly, the GOP needs a David Cameron. The British tories were in the political wilderness until they found a fresh face willing to take the party back towards the centre.

But given the rabid nature of the GOP base, I don't see 'em allowing a move towards the centre. That's why I think the GOP might well lose its status as America's second major party.

Imagine a Schwarzenegger-Bloomberg-Powell type of party emerging. It might well usurp the GOP's position.

But really, I think we're looking at an era of Democratic dominance, as from 1932 to 1980.

Posted by: charlesf1 | April 22, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Grover Norquist!
This is the second running of this Line and still no props for Grover. "The 10 most influential voices" in the Republican Party, and no mention of Norquist? Chris -- wake up! Because of Norquist "172 U.S. Representatives and 34 U.S. Senators have taken the Pledge never to raise income taxes" according the Americans for Tax Reform website. Just about every Republican state legislator in the nation takes the Pledge. If Norquist is not one of the 10 most influential voices nobody is!

Posted by: cybridge | April 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

You can watch the stars all you want, but for the most part these people all hold the same position on every issue. So long as those positions are unpopular the Republican party will never drag itself out of the pit it dug for itself.

Posted by: thecorinthian | April 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"I'm surprised that Huckabee is not on this list. Since the last election a lot conservatives have coalesced around him and apologized for not supporting him."

Huckabee is like a reverse George Bush. He is serious about the religious stuff, but only pays lip service to the idea of helping the wealthy. The major Republican power brokers don't really care about the religion. They use it in order to gain votes, but they are more interested in upper class tax cuts. That's why they like Bush. I mean, they don't like the fact that his unpopularity cost them power, but make no mistake, they love what he did.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 19, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Huckabee is not on this list. Since the last election a lot conservatives have coalesced around him and apologized for not supporting him. For the life of me I cannot understand the belt way obsession with Mitt. He has changed his positions more then Kerry and evangelicals will never ever vote for a Mormon. The reality is that Pres. Obama will have One Billion plus dollars in 2012, the economy will be in recovery. Republicans will need money, message, and a leader who's message, money, persona combined can compete with the new President.

Posted by: metacome | April 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a GOP lead (I thought that was the subject) by someone who is inclusive--especially someone with no ax to grind for political office. I think Newt is smart enough to know that his personal life eliminates him from elected office. But does it also mean he can't lead the party?

Romney isn't likely to lead the party, since his positions ebb and flow like the ocean tides. Candidate, maybe. Party leader, no.

So long as the party relies on the religious right (anti-abortion, anti-tax, anti-gun-control, anti-gay-rights, anti-stemcell-research, etc.) to win primaries, candidates take strong positions that hurt them in the general, where those positions hurt them with moderates and independents and even right-leaning democrats.

Moderate Republicans like Hagel, Lugar, Huntsman and maybe Pawlenty are unlikely to get past the primary, even though they'd be more attractive in the general. Not exactly a plan for victory.

Posted by: bulldog6 | April 19, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If this selection of lunatics, bigots, and nut jobs is the cream of the crop, the future looks bright for the Democrats.

And the Fix is deluding himself if he thinks evangelical primary voters will be any more willing to vote for a Mormon in 2012 than they were in 2008. Never gonna happen.

Posted by: uh_huhh | April 19, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

drivl-the deadbeats who won't pay their taxes ARE the lib administration and congress.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 19, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Jeb Bush is the one that will run. I thought he was always daddys aspiration to run for president unlike W. But its feared W has ruined it. I can only see Jeb running 8 years from now not 4--Bush is too freshly hated and no one is going to want to hear that name again and maybe not ever.

Palin if far to wishy-washy to run for anything.

Posted by: mac7 | April 19, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I fail to see everyone's fascination with the Mittster. Didn't we learn anything in the last election? The man is an empty suit. I might hire him as a model for Brooks Brothers but I have too much respect for Brooks Brothers.

He wouldn't know a principled stance if he fell over one. He has no real interest in healthcare reform. He tried to ride it to national prominence and then disavowed it the moment he got into the primaries. He can go from pro-choice to pro-life in the blink of an eye. He's not even sure what state he's from. If you liked the "New Nixon" I'm sure there will be a "New Romney" in 2012. His father was a good guy. He's a phoney!

Posted by: pmbakid | April 19, 2009 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you say "We've said it before and we'll say it again -- no prospective candidate for the 2012 nomination has more potential than the Alaska governor"-

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you completely leave her off your "Ten Republicans to Watch" just three months ago, and state then that the GOP establishment regarded her "lightly"?

What changed?

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | April 18, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"For the past few days, the right wing has been going after a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report warning that “rightwing extremists…may be gaining new recruits” because of Barack Obama’s election and the “economic downtown.” Many conservatives have been claiming that it’s an attack on veterans, while others have declared that it was a politically motivated attempt to “smear” conservatives and their tea parties.

Televangelist Pat Robertson went even further on the 700 Club yesterday. Not only did he echo the belief that the report was produced by liberal DHS officials, but he claimed that their “sexual orientation is somewhat in question.” He offered no proof for his remark:

ROBERTSON: It shows somebody down in the bowels of that organization is either a convinced left winger or somebody whose sexual orientation is somewhat in question. But it’s that kind of thing, somebody who doesn’t think that we should have abortion on demand, is labeled a terrorist! It’s outrageous!

Crooks and Liars also points out that Robertson urged his viewers to “jam up” the homeland security phone lines."

Posted by: drindl | April 18, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

More:

"Former Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), a speaker at the Lynchburg rally, launched into a tirade against “illegal immigrants.” Goode declared, “The next thing Obama and his followers in the House and the Senate want to do is tell the illegals ‘come on, we’re going to give you another amnesty.’”

George Caylor, a radio show host on local ESPN and Lynchburg talk radio, said:

CAYLOR: The next American revolution begins here and begins tonight. […] Yesterday a friend of mine gave me a report from Homeland Security telling the FBI that people who are unhappy with government spending, the tax code, the general dismantling of our country, with supporting illegal immigrants with tens of millions of tax dollars, that you may be dangerous people. [audience cheers]

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We might be!

CAYLOR: I pray to God you are."

He prays to God that the crowd is 'dangerous.' How long before there's a massacre in a shopping mall, in a schoolhouse, in a state capital? It will happen.

Posted by: drindl | April 18, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse


How long before some psycho winger egged on by Sean Hannity and the rest of the neo-fascists in Fox medialand takes a shot at President Obama? You know these people in the rightwing media WANT something like that to happen. They are inciting violence on a daily basis. Somewhere another Timothy McVeigh is stockpiling ammo, just like Glenn Beck tells him to, somewhere another nut like that guy in Philly who last week murdered 4 cops [a big fan of Hannity's] is getting ready to act. And every single day they hear on TV and radio that their president is their enemy, is in fact, a terrorist.

These frothing media clowns are making the nuts feel like it is their DUTY to kill the president. And you know eventually someone will try it. It's inevitable.

"Last night on Fox News, host Sean Hannity and his guest RNC Chairman Michael Steele ranted and raved about a Department of Homeland Security report “requested by the Bush administration” which warned of increasing incidents of “rightwing radicalization and recruitment.”

Hannity responded by implying that President Obama is a possible terrorist threat. “If you’re pro-life, you’re viewed as the potential extremist,” he complained, but “you can start your career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist and hang out with a guy named Jeremiah Wright.” “I don’t want to beat an old horse here,” said Hannity, who incessantly harps on Obama’s affiliations. “But I’m telling you if anyone hung out with radicals that needs to be investigated by Homeland Security,” he said, cutting himself off before explicitly stating that the President of the United States is a terrorist threat."

Posted by: drindl | April 18, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"It looks like obambi and Hugo have a lot
In common. Both socialist, both hate America"

Typical inanity from the king of fools. It looks like he and bush have a lot in common -- both unemployed, both ignorant and not too bright, both failures, both have too much time on their hands.

The people who really hate america are the deadbeats who won't pay their taxes -- the ones waving American flags and calling themselves patriots while talking about secession. and they're too dumb to even understand the irony in that.

I wish they would all 'secede' and get the hell of my country because, like Rush Limbaugh, they are a boil on the butt of this great country.

Posted by: drindl | April 18, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 18, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

It looks like obambi and Hugo have a lot
In common. Both socialist, both hate America, both blame bush for thier own ineptitude, both taking over industry, both love rock stars, both give long boring speeches, both want to be good friends with bad guys. A perfect match.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 18, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

This is a joke, right?

Posted by: NotBubba | April 18, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

There is NO Republican to lead this party of misfits.

Posted by: mainetimes | April 18, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Threadjack for Duffman - I do not think a 14th A challenge to selective visa grants to Cuba would succeed, after thinking about it, but without benefit of any heavy duty reading.

I am guessing that since the right to travel overseas can be restricted on any number of grounds a "rational basis" test would be applied, and that the low threshold would be satisfied, assuming that the petitioner had standing.

"Right to travel" cases were often challenges to state residency requirements as I recall. This is a very different matter. I am having difficulty with imagining the person who wants to visit Cuba who is not of Cuban ancestry having standing to challenge her visa denial to a country with which we have no diplomatic relations. That challenge would, if successful, allow an individual to circumvent the entire FP toward Cuba.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 18, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

And the Huckster?

How could you forget him, Chris?

He was the last man standing against John McCain, won Iowa as well as several other Southern states, and remains the darling of the Religious Right.

It would be interesting to hear what he's been up to and what the thoughts are on his plans for his future in the party, as he is arguably more popular than anyone you have on that list.

Another noteworthy "omission": Bush.

Seriously, the outgoing President doesn't even place in the top ten of most influential members of his party?

I'd imagine that Bill Clinton has never been lower than #3 since he left office for his party.

Leadership vacuum indeed.

Posted by: verasoie | April 18, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

You need to think outside the blog. The next Republican leader is not among these people. It is Jesus Christ. Yes, he is coming back--as a Republican. What, you thought he would be a liberal? Oh puhleeze!

Posted by: ohmygod | April 18, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Unless high inflation, similar to late 1970's to early 1980's, returns by 2012, no Republican is likely to win more than 45% of popular vote against President Obama in 2012.
The GOP represents only about one-third of the population, conservatives and right wingers, most of its agenda has no relevance to the majority of people in this country.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 18, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Miss_Hogynist, GOOD ONE!!!

Posted by: JohnBrown08 | April 17, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Certainly keep an eye on them, they are all treacherous!!! Remember, the Republicans don't do anything FOR this country only do things TO this country!! whiteagle38

Posted by: whiteagle38 | April 17, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow. There isn't a single individual on that list with even minimal crossover appeal, and even whatever few moderate Republicans are left would have reservations. Now that's a fringe party.

Posted by: micron26 | April 17, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The truth is, the Republican Party has been hijacked by libertarians who don't want ANY government. That's what the Bush Administration was trying to do, and very nearly succeeded in doing. That was the whole point of Grover Norquist’s infamous quote of shrinking government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Their mission isn’t just to shrink the federal government, it’s to do away with all government. Of course they can't gain control as libertarians, since libertarians only get about 2% of the vote. Republicans on the other hand, get around 43.5%. They have successfully body-snatched the Republican Party and by pushing those core values that don't cost them anything monetarily like anti-abortion and anti-gay issues, they have tricked the Republican base into thinking that's who they are. But they're not. In the end libertarians are really just anarchists, who believe in non-rule. A libertarian variant of socialism, the ideals of anarchy date back at least as far as the eighteenth century.

The name "Republican" has become a Trojan Horse that has brought in a libertarian monster without us even knowing it.

Posted by: crlchs1 | April 17, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Kase - perhaps you'd like to go have a beer with JakeD. Such behavior is unacceptable, amongst Republicans, Democrats or other.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 17, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

kase wrote, "I believe Gov. Jindal's name is actually Pyrush."

Then went on to suggest, if I may read between the lines, that if Limbaugh listeners knew that, they'd never vote for him.

This is an example of a Democrat making an argument that were better left unmade, and making it for no good reason except to score a partisan point.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 17, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I believe Gov. Jindal's name is actually Pyrush...use it.
(then watch his stock drop amoung the barbarians!
LOL LOL LOL

If this list is any indicator of what the Knuckledraggers have on the horizon as far as standard-bearers...the Democrats will be in power for a generation...
Amen to that!

Posted by: kase | April 17, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time Newt, Man Of Ideas, had an idea? All I ever hear is cut taxes and cut spending. Yet still.... Everyone calls him the GOP's man of ideas.

Do some independent thinking once in a while.

Posted by: della1 | April 17, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, Sir Isaac Newt. He was quite a character himself.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 17, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"There's always been a whiff of the crackpot about the fellow named for a salamander."

He's more likely named for a physicist. The guy can be quite surprising at times, though. I'm still amazed at the Alsheimer's email I got from him. A friend of mine was at a science research convention recently and Gingrich was a keynote speaker. Like pretty much all scientists, she is pretty opposed to Gingrich's politics, but was taken aback at how...reasonable he came across.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 17, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Inspired by TheBabeNemo, I have come up with a cast of stand-ins who could ensure that the show goes on were any of our ten players to come down with laryngitis.

Without further ado, the list (in this form: politician/stand-in/where stand-in was a character).

Jindal: Jim the Substitute (Beavis & Butthead)

Pawlenty: Goon (Popeye)

Jeb: Augie Doggie (Yogi Bear)

Limbaugh: Peter Potamus (Peter Potamus)

Palin: Miss Piggy (Muppets)

Cantor: Ranger Smith (Yogi Bear)

Gingrich: Mister Peabody (Rocky & Bullwinkle)

Sanford: Maxwell Smart (Get Smart)

Barbour: Foghorn Leghorn (Warner Bros)

Romney: Dudley Do-Right (Rocky & Bullwinkle)


Which just goes to show that I have entirely too much time on my hands, I guess.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 17, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

mnteng, you forgot Goodhair...

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 17, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse


well, President Obama's auto czar is getting investigated.
will probably hear alot of bull on that.

The report from the Homeland Security Dept. that is raising eyebrows...is
"Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment"

Napilotano is already under the gun for releasing it.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Give us your poor, your tired, your restless yearning to be elected... or at least, in control.

Posted by: Spectator | April 17, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

blarg writes:
"Limbaugh, Romney, Newt, and Jeb Bush can't do anything but talk. Can someone explain how any of these people could take control of the Republican Party?"

I would argue that William Buckley did nothing but talk and he was an extremely influential conservative voice for decades. To my knowledge, he never held elected office.

Now, do any of the 10 on the list have the stuff to be the next Buckley? I think at some level, The Newt fancies himself the heir to the Buckley mantle. But even so, the times are different now -- lots of yelling and screaming and not much discussing. So, maybe the voice(s) which will "control" the GOP thought will end up being Rush and Fox News (O'Reilly and Hannity) more so than any elected leader.

Posted by: mnteng | April 17, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I loved this list!!! If this bunch of losers is the best the Republicans can field, then this is one happy Democrat.

Posted by: jpaulb | April 17, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse


tomcat:
it's those right-wing extremists....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I would bet on Romney.

He has all the bases covered with impeccable personal, professional and educational credentials but Chris is right on his Achilles heal. He is polished almost to a fault and needs to be a bit more real.

I'm not sure how he does that but I am reminded of Reagan's run in 1980 when the ever-polished former actor had a brief moment of televised anger. He was being told what to do at a debate which his campaign was paying for and Ronnie didn't take too kindly to the orders. He firmly and somewhat angrily reminded the moderator who was paying for the debate and asserted his right to do as he saw fit. He changed public opinion about himself in the process. Suddenly he had backbone and he was more authentic.
Perhaps Romney needs a moment like that.

Also, I would disagree with those who suggest a Romney/Palin ticket. Firstly, I don't think the GOP would try that again and secondly I would expect Romney to pick top notch people with great intellect to serve with him. I have heard him say that you don't reward loyal people from your campaign with a cabinet post; you go find the absolute best person for the respective job. I don't think Palin would fit the bill.

Posted by: Ci2Eye | April 17, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Obama and his security people are watching ALL republicans, as they seem to have developed a penchant for VIOLENCE and CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
They are lawless radicals, as Osama Tex Sessions said, they are like TALIBAN INSURGENTS.
Better keep those phone taps going, open their mail, and read their emails, just like the W administration did to US.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | April 17, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

yupper a whole bunch of republican corporate politicos to take on the democratic corporate politicos just what the country needs a hundred years of the corporate party isn't enough

Posted by: gary2547poh | April 17, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

bidalah writes
"I believe we will know the next Republican leader when he deigns to criticize Limbaugh without apology."


You know, I think you might be on to something here.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

guiliani....america's mayor.
probably doesn't have the money to run.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"My best bet for the mantle would be Jeb Bush (in full awareness of the irony). Regardless, I believe we will know the next Republican leader when he deigns to criticize Limbaugh without apology."

That's a good test. Limbaugh's ideology is even further right than most pols--he simply believes in guns for everyone and no government at all when you get right down to it. Yet he is capable of bending most of them to his will without much effort. And that, of course, makes them look weak.

So the first one to stand up against him will show himself to be a better man [or woman]. Heck, it could be Meghan McCain. She stood up to both Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham [Hydra and Medusa] so she's got something.

Posted by: drindl | April 17, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 wrote, "Perhaps [Romney] spent too much time appeasing the GOP bases to build momentum and demonstrate leadership. Of course, that says something about him too."

Agreed. I've watched him closely for years and I'm not sure what are the deepest commitments that motivate his political involvement. Probably a fairly non-ideological "good government" sort of commitment coupled with something just a little to the right of "Eastern Establishment" Republican economic values if I can pretend for a moment to read another person's unrevealed inmost self.

He sure did kowtow, though, to the ideologues in the '08 primaries, and that apparent willingness to adopt ideological positions as a matter of convenience rather than conviction is indeed as serious a problem for him as is his religion.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"So, who are the new faces to watch over the next few years as Republicans rebuild? Our Line of the ten most influential voices in the party is below."

I had to go back and reread that several times.

There isn't a "new" face in that lot, and BJ, SP, and EC are self destroyed already has beens. Mark Sanford has been around long enough to be part of the wall paper, but after agravating his state by "refusing" Federal stimulus funds he new the State Assembly would accept anyway, he has just a few too many more unfriends than he will be able to conveniently deal with should he actually try to run for anything but a bus after this term.

The rest of that bunch was old and tired and ran like it in 2008, except, of course, Newt, who has some Comgressional dirty laundry formally read into the Congressional record he might not like used against him in any future campaign, and Rush, who can't, let alone run for, to or after anything at all.

If toe totality of your list werent such bad advertisement for a failed party, they could be place holders, but as long as they are the leaders of the pack, expect the republican cache to be just so much Pepe le Pew.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I believe the next leader of the Republican party will be the first one willing to take on/take down the conservative "hissy-sissies"; the hysterical Limbaugh-Glenn Beck types willing to cry "FASCIST-SOCIALIST-I love my country-we need to secede!", at the drop of a hat. This vocal minority of the GOP has gotten way too much press lately.

America is eagerly awaiting the emergence of a Republican leader that offers a strong and responsible opposition and can promise a strong and responsible leadership if elected.

My best bet for the mantle would be Jeb Bush (in full awareness of the irony). Regardless, I believe we will know the next Republican leader when he deigns to criticize Limbaugh without apology.

Posted by: bidalah | April 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"if the economy is still the top concern in 2012, voters likely will care very little about the "IT" factor and look more towards the QUALIFIED factor."

Yes, but voters don't typically go for resume candidates for President. There's an intangible leadership quality that people look for (not necessarily knowlingly). Romney, on paper, should be a decent candidate. Yet he doesn't really seem to inspire or enthuse. Perhaps he spent too much time appeasing the GOP bases to build momentum and demonstrate leadership. Of course, that says something about him too.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the list ranks them about right. Romney seems head and shoulders above the rest but apparently his religion is more of an obstacle to success within today's national GOP than it would have been before the rise of the Christian right.

Palin is enjoying considerable success proving that she's unqualified to govern Alaska, let alone the entire USA.

There's always been a whiff of the crackpot about the fellow named for a salamander.

More generally, I'd say that the fate of the GOP's 2012 presidential aspirations is almost entirely in the hands of one man: President Barack Obama.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 17, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Rudy who???

Posted by: PamelaN | April 17, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

PamelaN writes:
"Palin is pathetic .. she should stay in Alaska and perhaps we'll get lucky and a moose will eat her ..."

TheBabeNemo writes:
"Bullwinkle and Rocket Jet to the rescue."

You two are very funny! One can only hope for a moose revenge! :o)

Posted by: Shelbysez | April 17, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse


i love it...
(very HEARTY laughs))

Palin is pathetic .. she should stay in Alaska and perhaps we'll get lucky and a moose will eat her ...

Bullwinkle and Rocket Jet to the rescue.

no one answered my question--
WHERE'S RUDY !!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1,

Romney may not have as much "IT" as some others do. However, if the economy is still the top concern in 2012, voters likely will care very little about the "IT" factor and look more towards the QUALIFIED factor.

Posted by: Shelbysez | April 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

They're all rather underwhelming choices ... and if Jeb Bush thinks the country is going to elect another Bush he certainly has delusions ...

Palin is pathetic .. she should stay in Alaska and perhaps we'll get lucky and a moose will eat her ...

Cantor has absolutely no sex appeal and no charisma ... not a good prescription for a leader ...

I think Pawlenty just blew it with the whole Coleman/Franken saga ...

Gingrich is yesterday's news ....

Jindal may be smart, but he comes across as rather creepy ...

Haley Barbour needs to lose about 150 pounds ... have we ever had a fat president???

Rush? You've got to be kidding ... the man is totally sick ...

Sanford has just made a real fool of himself on the whole tax tea party issue ... this is not a good start for future political ambitions ...

And Romney had his shot and blew it ... just too smarmy and too much of a snake-oil salesman for my taste ...

So there you have it ... if there is a real candidate for 2012 on the Republican side I don't think we've identified him or her as yet ...

Posted by: PamelaN | April 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse


by 2012, romney just may be OLD news.
conservatism --applied directly in our face- is dying.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Why should we watch them,to keel over with laughter every time they open their mouths?
I know when you loose an election it takes a while to get over it, but good heavens what world do these people live in. They need to get a grip and provide the country with some kind of leadership and not over reacting every time the president opens his mouth.
I am an independent voter and I am so sick of them. Enough already.

Posted by: clarendon67 | April 17, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Coloradem1 @ 3:29 writes:

"Where is Mike Huckabee?!?"


After huckabee's SICK joke last year about a gun pointed at Obama, how in the world do you think he could run against Pres Obama?! huckabee is done--stick a fork in him for good!

Watch video:
http://www.tmz.com/2008/05/17/huckabee-jokes-about-obama-assassination/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-yourgrau/mike-huckabee-minister-an_b_102193.html

Posted by: Shelbysez | April 17, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Shelbysez writes:
"Romney is in the top spot because he has got what it takes--smarts, executive Gov and business experience, no family skeletons, and it doesn't hurt that he's attractive and looks presidential."

But does he have 'IT'? Obama has IT. McCain had some IT in 2000, but Junior had more. Gore and Kerry did not. Bubba still has IT. Dole and Bush(41) not so much. Reagan had a lot of IT. Carter, Mondale & Dukakis, not so much.

Romney? I'm not so sure.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I like Newt well enough and he has some great ideas. But have you seen him on TV lately? Fifteen years ago, he used to communicate brusque earnestness. Now he communicates impatient, cranky old man. As a presidential candidate, he's a non-starter.

Posted by: anon99 | April 17, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This is a no brainer...Romney is in the top spot because he has got what it takes--smarts, executive Gov and business experience, no family skeletons, and it doesn't hurt that he's attractive and looks presidential. I would love to see these two handsome men-President Obama and Mitt Romney--duking it out in 2012!

Posted by: Shelbysez | April 17, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

ATTENTION TEAM OBAMA AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

It's time to take down the torturers -- ALL OF THEM.

Here's why:

http://nowpublic.com/world/its-time-obama-take-down-torturers-all-them

OR (if link is corrupted):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 17, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse


blarg--

keyword:
idealogical

in the paradiagm shift we are experiencing, idealism is passing into history.
IMHO

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

A previous post mistakenly mentioned that Romney’s business career was in investment banking. I think now would be a good time to clear this up. The majority of his career was spent as a business consultant (and later CEO) of a business consulting firm called Bain and Company from 1978-84 and 1990-93. True, 1984 he started a private equity investment spin off of Bain called Bain Capital. During this time he was a venture capitalist not an investment banker. His own money was on the line and he worked closely with Bain and Co. to get many of these companies on their feet. It wasn’t like he just threw money and companies and made the profits. It’s fair to say that his entire career revolved around analyzing, consulting and making bad businesses good and good businesses better. I think it is this experience and quality that makes him such a impressive and formidable candidate.

Posted by: wolverines03 | April 17, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to every single poster on this thread through TBN at 4:06P for civil discourse.

I have to say that to this indie Chris' list of Rs is not very encouraging.

Crist? Bloomberg? Mike is an R again, btw.
Meghan McCain? The IN gov? The UT gov?
MDH, as the most rational of the evangelical Rs? Olympia Snowe?
--------------------------
At one time I had high hopes for Jindal. He is smart enough. So are Portman and WMR. But I think the repeated mantra of cutting taxes, and when that does not work, cutting taxes more, is just silliness.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 17, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Good conversation in here. A welcome change.

This topic always confuses me. What does it mean to have ideological control of a party? Give me some examples. Obviously there's the President. Newt in the 90s and Pelosi today use the position of Speaker of the House. These are positions that come with a lot of visibility and power over other members of the party.

But nobody on this list holds that kind of position. (Maybe Cantor does, if Minority Whip counts.) So how can they exercise any control over anything? The sitting officeholders can try to lead by example, but that doesn't give them control. Limbaugh, Romney, Newt, and Jeb Bush can't do anything but talk. Can someone explain how any of these people could take control of the Republican Party?

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm slightly surprised that Paul Ryan isn't on your list. I know he flies under the radar of national politics but he is smart. The guys on this list, with the exception of Haley Barbour, do not concern me too much as a democrat but Paul Ryan could be the next Rahm or Newt.

Posted by: kristilj | April 17, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has no chance.. unless Obama beats himself.. it's his game to lose..

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 17, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

i wonder what romney is going to do when Patterson's same sex marriage bill in New York passes.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

(((babe falls off chair laughing))

the governator is not a natural born citizen.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

People forget that the rabid evangelical fundamentalists that drive a good portion of the Rebulican conservative base have been consistently taught since birth that Mormonism is a cult! I think if Romney gets the nomination you'll see a lack of interest in Romney by the religious right. And Bain (his investment experience) has a very long history of being successful by splitting up and downsizing companies, resulting in large job losses while 'paper pushers' made millions. Not exactly in tue with the times...

Posted by: ben16 | April 17, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:
3.5 years. piece of cake.
WaPo isn't the Rocky Mountain News...
((hearty laughs)))

I know Arnold can't do anything for the presidential run, but I like the Governator. I wonder what kind of force he will be, or if he will say bye bye to government?


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"I don't necessarily think that the GOP needs, or will be able, to make too many changes in the electoral map in the near future. They need to focus on holding what they have and maybe gaining back a few of the conservative districts which were won last time by Blue Dog Ds. Coherence and vision, I think, are more of a problem right now than trying to regain power."

I was jumping ahead to the presidential race in 2012! You're right about 2010. Their prospects there are going to hinge on 1) state of the economy and 2) whether they're solving problems or blocking change.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

babenemo writes
"okay, 10 bucks on the bet."

you're on. better stick around for 3.5 years & pay up!

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 says:
"My other thought, looking at the list & thinking of a conversation on another thread is: Which of these individuals can change the electoral map?"

I don't necessarily think that the GOP needs, or will be able, to make too many changes in the electoral map in the near future. They need to focus on holding what they have and maybe gaining back a few of the conservative districts which were won last time by Blue Dog Ds. Coherence and vision, I think, are more of a problem right now than trying to regain power. I assume that's why CC has rated Barbour and Gingrich so highly.

Finding their way out of the wilderness will take some time -- maybe even as long as it took them to put themselves into the wild.

Posted by: mnteng | April 17, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"there is a vocal segment within the conservative base of the GOP who is fed up with government spending"

I respectfully disagree. They're just fine with spending as long as the GOP is doing it. And they'd oppose the Dems if the budget were $10 a year and a bus pass. For the tea party crowd it's "We win and its proof we're a conservative nation; you win and it's an unholy abomination that leads to tyranny."

Posted by: MuskratNews | April 17, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

news bulletin:
bush 41 has it in his will that--after he is gone, the family must carry on and put Jeb in the White House.

Heaven help us all!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse


bsimon:

okay, 10 bucks on the bet.

romney and palin run against each other for the nomination.
palin gets it..
picks romney.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

How reassuring this is. Looks like Dems are going to run the show for quite a while. None of these folks does anything except repeat the same old failed rightwing ideology, not a new idea among them. No solutions, just slogans. No policy, just PR.

People know, and people remember, that it was 8 years of conservatives having a solid lock on all three branches of government that got us where we are today, trying to dig out of a very deep hole and rebuild the ruins of our financial system.

We won't get fooled again.

Posted by: drindl | April 17, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Jon Huntsman???

Posted by: BabbMTfan | April 17, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

BabeNemo writes
"Romney and Palin. I'm taking bets on what the GOP ticket will be."

Your money is on a Romney-Palin ticket? No way. Palin won't get offered the VP slot again; she'll either win the nomination (a long shot), or be on the sidelines.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

BabeNemo writes
"Romney and Palin. I'm taking bets on what the GOP ticket will be."

Your money is on a Romney-Palin ticket? No way. Palin won't get offered the VP slot again; she'll either win the nomination (a long shot), or be on the sidelines.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Like from my tweet! Chris How About Non of them. With President Obama's High approval ratings i don't see the Republicans back for a while. This reminds me of when President Clinton was President and the Republicans were going after him with the Monica Lewinsky "BS" Crap.
Clinton had high approval ratings and was reelected. President Obama will be reelected let's face it. Your list was ok, but may work better for the 2016 election after 8 years when President Obama is out of office. Republicans may be back in 8 years if they don't screw up. However If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016 forget it. Congress will also be filibuster proof by 2010.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | April 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

where's rudy?
and if mccain is still alive, he'll run.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Romney's strong point, a career in business, is also his weak point - his career in business was in investment banking. If his political opponents point out that the current recession is mainly the result of the decisions that banks (especially investment banks) made, many will look at him as 'tainted' and unworthy of their support.

Posted by: critter69 | April 17, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

My other thought, looking at the list & thinking of a conversation on another thread is: Which of these individuals can change the electoral map?

The GOP needs a candidate that can hold the traditional 'red' states - and stave off apparent Dem gains in places like AZ and MO, plus win back several of the following: Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania. I don't see that candidate on The Fix's list.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse


viable for the 2012 presidential race???
is this the question?

Romney and Palin. I'm taking bets on what the GOP ticket will be.

but then we have a Bush.
shades of joe kennedy.
41 is going to make sure Jeb is a contender.
Please America, don't vote another Bush in.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Where is Mike Huckabee?!?

Posted by: Coloradem1 | April 17, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"You become a top-down party when you've had the White House for a long time," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) recently. "That has happened to us."


Governor Barbour misreads. The GOP is suffering not because they held the White House for two terms, but because they governed with a focus on gaining partisan advantage. Voters want cost-effective government. Forget that, and you're in the wilderness.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 17, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

how about....

none of them!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 17, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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