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The Line: The Republican Influencers



Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge's no-go Senate decision on Thursday robbed Republicans of a potentially appealing face to lead their party back to relevancy in 2010.

Ridge, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first head of the Homeland Security department, has a deep resume both in Congress and as a governor and a moderate record that could appeal to the crucial independent voting bloc that President Obama so dominated in 2008.

Friday Line

But, it was not to be, leaving Republicans to continue searching for candidates running for statewide office in 2010 that can be poster boys (and girls) of their comeback. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is expected to run for Senate, could fill that role -- although he may too moderate for some in the party base. Former Ohio representative Rob Portman, a candidate for the open Ohio Senate seat, is also a fresh young face but may be weighed down from his service in the much-derided Bush administration.

Below you'll find our Line on the ten Republicans with the most influence over the current direction of the party. This should not be taken as a proxy for who will be the 2012 nominee as a number of the leading candidates on this list won't (or can't) be candidates in three years time.

The number one ranked Republican is the single most influential person within the party at the moment. Agree or disagree with our picks? The comments section awaits.

10. Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor's prominent involvement in the first event of the National Council for a New America last weekend speaks to the regard with which he is held in the party as a policy maven. But, with former state House Speaker Marco Rubio -- a Bush protege -- running for the Senate in 2010, Bush will likely have one eye (at least) on Florida. (Previous ranking: 8)

9. Jon Huntsman: Utah is not exactly a hotbed of politicians with national abilities (apologies Senator Hatch) but Huntsman, the state's governor, is starting to be cited on the national level as the leading edge of an attempt to re-shape (critics would say moderate) the Republican message. Huntsman's stances on healthcare, the environment and civil unions are far more progressive than might be expected from Utah's governor. And, Huntsman is clearly positioning for a 2012 run -- his travel schedule (a recent trip to Michigan) and his circle of advisers (John Weaver) are obvious examples of his aspirations. (Previous ranking: N/A)

8. Michael Steele: It's day 99 of Steele's tenure as the chairman of the Republican National Committee -- and he is still dealing with the fallout from his disastrous first few weeks in the office. Steele, smartly, has limited his media appearances recently but we would expect him to re-emerge soon because, despite all of his missteps, he is still potentially one of the Republican party's best spokesmen. (Previous ranking: N/A)

7. Bobby Jindal: The Louisiana governor's profile has dipped of late, which is a good thing. Jindal could never sustain the "Republican Barack Obama" moniker for the next three years. It's even possible that his not-good-at-all Republican response to Obama's congressional address earlier this year will ultimately be a good thing for Jindal as it effectively lowered expectations for how good he is and can be. We still believe talk of Jindal in 2012 is far-fetched and that he is far more likely as a 2016 candidate but time will tell. (Previous ranking: 10)

6. Mark Sanford: There's no Republican politician more in line with the anger among the party base toward the increases in government spending under Obama than Sanford. But, Sanford, who has never played well with others -- even those within his own party -- must find a way to make nice with some of the establishment if he wants to be considered more than a fringe candidate in 2012. (Previous ranking: 3)

5. Eric Cantor: Part of being influential is having the ambition to make yourself a national player. Cantor, the House Minority Whip, has shown ambition in spades over the past five months -- throwing himself into almost every political and policy discussion within the party over the first months of the Obama administration. While Cantor's National Council is derided by some conservatives -- and LOTS of Democrats -- it's a start and shows that rather than simply standing in opposition that some within the party are trying to move the policy agenda forward. The criticism we hear of Cantor is that he is moving too fast on too many fronts and might get tripped up as a result. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Haley Barbour: Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, is, without doubt, the most critical behind-the-scenes strategist in the Republican party at the moment. Barbour's experience as RNC Chairman during the early 1990s is seen as essential to bringing back the party once again. We've written before that one of Barbour's great strengths within the party is that because he has no further national aspirations he can be a neutral broker among the 2012 candidates. Now, we're not so sure that Barbour might not take a hard look at 2012 . . . . (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Newt Gingrich: Gingrich's presence at the White House earlier this week to talk education reform is a recognition that he is the de facto "ideas guy" within the Republican Party. In a party that is widely seen as devoid of any new ideas, that is a powerful place to be. Gingrich's smarts are unquestioned by strategists in both parties but will his sizable ego get in the way of the obvious good he can do for the GOP? (Previous ranking: 4)

2. Sarah Palin: We just don't know what to do with the Alaska governor. We've ranked her as high as number one on this list and as low as number six (in last month's Line). Looked at one way, Palin is a disaster -- a political team rife with divisions and miscommunication, faltering poll numbers in Alaska and a penchant for winding up on the cover of tabloids. Looked at another, Palin is the prime mover in Republican politics. An example: when Cantor unveiled the National Council for a New America, the first question asked by every reporter was whether Palin was involved and, if not, why not. (She, eventually, said she would be involved.) Palin remains an extremely powerful brand in Republican politics despite her (and her team's) unwitting attempts to devalue that brand. (Previous ranking: 6)

1. Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor claims the top spot for the third straight Line. Why? He is still the Republican that is the closest the party has to the complete package. Romney can -- and does -- speak from a position of authority on economic issues and has begun to broaden his criticism of Obama to include the sphere of foreign policy as well. On the political front, Romney is unmatched -- he has kept an active presence via his Free and Strong America PAC and continues to travel the country in support of candidates. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 8, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

Mitt Romney is only the perfect package if Republican perfection is represented by a flip-flopping Mormon from Massachusetts who can't even win in New Hampshire. Romney is the first Massachusetts politician ever to lose the New Hampshire primary, ever. Romney moved to Iowa for a year with his boys, spent $10 million of his own money, and still lost to Huckabee. Romney's speech at the GOP convention was universally panned for its ridiculous cliches.

If Mitt Romney is number 1, then Republicans are in deep deep trouble.

Posted by: cambridge-persistence | May 11, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Hard to parse past all the spelling and grammar mistakers but it sounds like your position is that anyone not on board with the currently floudering GOP is someone with no values.

At the very least that's ridiculous tautological, but of course it's a lot worse than that.

It's the GOP that has no values, unless you count the lust for power as a value. Good thing they don't have a clue about how to get there, unwilling to admit all their mistakes since 1980, unwilling to back down from their extreme positions, unwilling to open the tent to educated people.

War and bigotry and hate, them's some core values.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 10, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I guess you think if you tell a lie long enough and often enough people will think it's true. If you want to be like a Democrat, why not just join there party. Those that are in the Republican Party who think a change is necessary have no core values, you can't represent if you don't believed.

Posted by: xthat | May 10, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The leaders of the GOP: Piyush (the Exorcist) Jindal, Mikey Steele (ex brother in law of Iron Mike Tyson and the head of RNC recently stripped of budget authority), Newtron (Contract on America) Gingrich, Jeb, Charlie (Kenny Chesney) Crist, Phalin? This is sad.

We sensed the GOP was bankrupt when, last week, its de facto spokesman, Sean Hannity, asked his "All American Panel" about the Reverend Wright controversy. All three of the panelists looked at him like he was crazy, including "Fox analyst" Barbara (I Dream of Jeannie) Eden.

One of the panelists said something like, "Sean, Obama won the election. Move on, everybody else has." But Sean would have none of it and, as the panel sat in stunned silence, he blathered on, red-faced, about Reverend Wright and the nonsensical Fox-promoted "Day of Prayer" (that BHO refused to get caught up in). Intervention may be in order here.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | May 10, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And oh, what is Piyush Jindal doing on this list? Come on, Chris, he and Steele are both clearly GOP attempts to appear diverse, and wouldn't fool a medieval prince of Germans. Look, Obama has dark skin and he won, let's promote someone with dark skin and maybe we'll win too. So purportedly educated Jindal comes out against evolution and global warming and embraces all that nutty free-market crap and every idea that's fallen face-flat under the Bushes and Reagan. This is a mediocrity.

I disagree that an Indian can't win, at least if he doesn't speak with that irritating customer-service accent, but to win he needs to be more than a token non-white gooper, he needs to have some ideas and inspire confidence, and Jindal doesn't and can't. Same old tax-cutter crap we've been hearing since 1980. Nothing to see here.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 10, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama's authenticity and depth defeated electorially by Romney's phoniness and superficiality? Someone's dreaming.

Unless Mitt "what's the bottom line" Romney ignores the evident calculations and runs on his ambition alone, he will decide not to go for the nomination. Don't you see that shiny suit? He's a business-man, he works for rewards, not principles. If he can't win he won't run, and he can't win. Not against Obama, probably not against any Democrat.

Four years of temper tantrums, holding their breath till they turn blue, trying to thwart nominations, refusing to do the nation's business, offering ludicrous DOA policy alternatives to the Dems ("tax cut for the wealthy") ..by 2012 the Republicans will be lucky if their primaries don't dissolve in fistfights as they accuse each other of not toeing the line and everyone tries to out-conservative everyone else. The party of crybabies, and Mitt's abandoning his last primary fight was the biggest boo-hoo pof them all.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

But, I thought you said "don't go crazy with the money"? There will, hopefully, still be enough U.S. companies that Obama doesn't own yet in 2012 willing to fund Romney. Are you saying that Obama WON'T accept public financing limits again? What will be his excuse this time?

Posted by: JakeD | May 10, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Jake,
Even Romney doesn't have enough personal money to take on Obama..

He may be the can of corn candidate to take the fall..

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 10, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Day in and day out Eric Cantor proves himself to be the sleaziest liar in government since Nixon went west. The incredibly phony grin he plasters on his face doesn't help.


Posted by: FlownOver | May 10, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

lufrank1:

Did you mean Dr. CONDI Rice?

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Condoleeza Rice, Jake, the lady with the scary fable about a mushroom cloud, former Secretary of State, Bush apologist, accomplished pianist, the one with the quavering voice who always sounded like she was reading her speeches in a language she didn't actually speak very well.

Lately in the news still ginning up unitary executive BS.

Surely you haven't forgotten already?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that Delay or Robertson ever get a cabinet position, but who is this Connie [SIC] Rice person?!

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

It's not really a question of who the GOP will run in 2012, none of them differ in any substantial respect with respect to their chances; slim to none. None of them are stellar candidates and all of them have serious deficiencies, intelligence being a heavy hitter with this crowd.

No, the real question is whether or not the GOP goes through the next four years, and the 2012 campaign, with the same posture of oppositional belligerence they're showing now. If the answer is yes, they will be lucky to get 30% and a few Gulf Coast states.

If they show some signs of growing up, they will lose by a smaller margin.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a "line up" of Demagogs, but omitted some super charlatans like Limbaugh.

With 2012 success by any of these "leaders", their appointed cabinet members will probably include Tom Delay, Connie Rice, and Pat Robertson . . . or worse?

Posted by: lufrank1 | May 9, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Have you already forgotten that McCain-Palin got nearly 60 million votes,

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

You left out Cheney, Limbaugh, Bush II, Huckabee and McCain, all of whom have significant influence among conservatives, right-wingers.

Unless someone new comes along, Huckabee, Romney and Palin will be the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in three years. Unlikely any of them or any other Republican could win more than 40% of popular vote.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | May 9, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I have a feelling that Romney will spend his money wisely.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Jake..
wasn't saying don't run a GOP presidential candidate.. just saying.. spend the money wisely.. if you know you won't win.. don't go crazy with the money..

don't spend good money chasing bad, in other words.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 9, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Good night.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

One last thing. This is why I love Jon Stewart. His response to it all. Have a good eve.

tp://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=226608&title=Gaywatch---Marion-Barry

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | May 9, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Jake

No offense intended. But you may have noticed the last few elections, or Pat Robertson's comments last week, about gay marriage. You need to get better spokes people. I'm of for the nigh, but appreciate your feed back. Good night sir.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | May 9, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

JakeD shared:
"I'm a born again Evangelical Christian."

==

Hey I've always wanted to ask one of you guys .. what do you do if someone actually gets bitten by a rattlesnake during that part of the service?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I also think that the Christian Right would have voted for Romney in larger numbers than they did for McCain.

==

Typical low-information GOP voter.

(1) the religious right would vote for a Mormom more than for McCain? You do understand which religion the "Religious" refers to, don't you? And do you have any grasp of the extent of that group's tolerance? Their embrace of religious diversity? (snap snap) Hello?

(2) Romney as governor was nothing like Romney the candidate; he was in favor of gay civil unions and he was pro-choice. His gooper opinions were pure pandering opportunism and the Religious Right (whom you specified!) are if nothing else very conscious of having been pandered to by Republicans; they've gotten nothing they wanted from GOP leadership. Gays are still running around loose and unmurdered, abortion is as legal as ever. Yes they got a lot of Muslims set aflame in Shock and Awe but even Bush the Lesser turned out to be too "PC" to slaughter them wholesale.

Even on your own turf you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm a born again Evangelical Christian.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

JAKE D

I'll just agree to disagree. My brother is a born again minister and is a bigot against all who are not born again. Even my ultra devout Catholic family. If you are not Christian, you just don't get it.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | May 9, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The #1 Influencer of the GOP? Since Reagan slithered into office it's been Satan himself - looks like he continues to be their #1 poster child.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | May 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

After you guys are done nodding in agreement on the low-flying jet you can proceed to nod in agreement about Obama's elitism as reflected by using dijon and not ketchup.

After all, Decent Churchgoing Americans all use ketchup and dijon is for people who live on the coasts, and everyone knows they're all commies.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You missed the biggest Influenza in the GOP, Rush Limbaugh. I guess you say he's the 0. on your list.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | May 9, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

PatrickNYC1:

Thanks for that perspective. Many Obamaniacs are still trying to say it was no big deal. I also think that the Christian Right would have voted for Romney in larger numbers than they did for McCain.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I need to agree with the poster who wrote about Steele and Limbaugh. Nobody in the GOP dares criticize Fatty Daddy Rush, and if they are perceived as having done so they are required to grovel publicly, and grovel they do. Even Colin Powell, probably the most esteemed Republican outside the rural white Base. can be savaged by FD Rush without anyone raising an eyebrow, much less a finger.

Steele is a buffoon, and I can only wonder why Chris listed him here. He's an embarrassment and every knows he's a token. Since the column was about influence, not potential candidacy, Rush belongs here on the #1 slot and Steele not at all.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

JAKE D

The flight over the city was just not stupid, it put many people in a very bad state of mind, right back to that nightmare. It was right for him to resign but I think as usual he was a fall guy. Many new of this foolish idea. They needed a person to resign, and as usual they got it.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | May 9, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I was not the one saying we should kill Downs babies. Did you even read chrisfox8's posts about Trig Palin?

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey JakeD. This is a thread about influential Republicans. It's not a thread about abortion nor about JakeD's sodden preoccupation with chrisfox8.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Fiscal conservatism, small government, and individual freedoms seem like a basis on which to form a new platform. I hasten to add, competent government along with a need to enhance the middle class would help.

==

Wow you don't ask for too much, do you. Really, dude, while you can certainly count on a lot of people to forget how absurd it is for the GOP to make a claim to fiscal conservatism, the other two appeals won't work on their faces. Limited government no longer resonates and the GOP can't present individual freedom without sounding uncomfortably jerkful. All that sells magazines to RKBA nutbars but Obama has already changed the way we receive calls to civic service and the GOP won't be able to appeal to selfish conceit very broadly.

And a GOP that would be able to look out for the middle class, well, that's sort of like a fish that never goes into water. It's not a fish, it's a reptile. The GOP is as wedded to the idea that prosperity is a function of the upper 1% that they can't change any more than a trout can breathe air.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, EricC. Chris Fox would be the first to admit he declined to answer my questions. I will let others judge who has spewed hate on this thread at least.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

newbeeboy:

The GOP has to nominate someone for President. I doubt that these 10 would get together and agree at this point on who that should be.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:
Chris Fox doesn't answer questions, but just spews hate.

* * * *

Yes, just what Chris Fox is talking about. Chris obviously has a viewpoint. However, those who always seem to be talking about hate are those who use it in their own blogs.

As Jesus said, "Why try to get the speck out of your brother's eye when you have a plank in yours."

It has become all too obvious where the hatred originates. Those who may be described as bigoted, intolerant, and so forth fit the mold. Those who still claim that Obama is a Muslim and not born in the USA are the haters. Why? They refuse to accept truth. While proclaiming their intent to "save" our great nation, they tear it down. I do not hate these people. I pity them. I also pray that God will have mercy on us, especially those of us who worship the almighty dollar and who hate those less fortunate than ourselves.

Posted by: EarlC | May 9, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Oops, wrong thread .. damn thinkpad back-arrow ..

Hooty hooted:
"I would vote for Romney or Palin."

==

Thanks, we were all tiptoeing on eggshells waiting to learn who JakeD would vote for. Whew, I can go to sleep now.

(/sarcasm)

Nice to know you'd stick a knife between your country's ribs and vote for the woman who would be certain to finish us off.

The GOP has painted itself into a corner; anyone moderate enough to interest anyone outside the 21-percenters will cost votes among that group; the GOP absolutely cannot win without the base, and anyone not a caveman will cause much of the base to stay home on election day.

Really, they can't win. They need the base plus about 30%, and without full participation of the knucklewalkers they can't possibly achieve a majority, not for a long time. The brand is just too tarnished. McCain was the best shot they had and he not only lost, he lost more decisively the either Bush election, almost as badly as Dole.

If Romney is the best chance they have, forget it, game over. He's an empty suit, exposure hurts him, and frankly the whole Big Mormon Family thing is a little too cloyingly wholesome to put up with for nine months of heavy campaigning. And America is not going the turn out in enthusiastic numbers for a Mormon, they are too creepy, and we will learn a lot more about how creepy they are during the campaign. Utah is a state of bovine drowsiness, using twice the psychiatric meds of any other state per capita to endure the tedium of those Fammully Home Evenings, and out in the sticks they do some er ah unacceptable things with their kids.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the GOP could take all the time and money required to run a presidential loser in 2012(short of a big Obama stumble) and put it into the local, state and congressional campaigns (and only those where there is a chance of displacing Dems, a good chance)..then forbid spending any GOP money on primary rivalries.. and put all the focus on general elections.

The chances of winning back large chunks of territory are slim.. so just go about this in stages..

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 9, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

If these are the top ten Republicans, the GOP is in big trouble. Of course, I am hardpressed to pick others who would help the cause. In one sense of reality, the real influential bunch of right-wing Republicans are those like Rush Limbaugh. Most on the top ten list seem to bow at the throne of King Rush.

Even though General Colin Powell is not on the list, people like him would serve Republicans well. Even the late Bill Buckley's son and John McCain's daughter would help their cause.

Fiscal conservatism, small government, and individual freedoms seem like a basis on which to form a new platform. I hasten to add, competent government along with a need to enhance the middle class would help. This business of helping the super-rich means that the middleclass will continue to pay the lion's share of taxes. The Republicans must see the reality that helping the upper 5% plays to a very limited base. They also need to shake the perception that they foster prejudice, racism, and so forth.

Posted by: EarlC | May 9, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

PatrickNYC1 writes
"That said, if this is the best the GOP can bring, they are in big trouble."

The Line is a bit muddled as it seems to be a combination of two things: 1) who's leading the party now, in preparation for the 2010 midterms; and who's leading the pundit race for the 2012 nomination.

The politicos involved with the National Council for a New America are motivated by two things: duplicating the Newt's success in 1994 with the
Contract for America, and gaining a leg up for the 2012 nomination. What the people above have largely failed to do, with the possible exception of Huntsman, is make any moves that might attract moderates & swing voters to their point of view. Until they start doing that, their party will be limited to fighting for seats in so-called 'red' districts.

Lastly, Gov Palin didn't cost McCain the election. He was losing before he picked her, she gave him a short boost, then dragged him back down.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

PatrickNYC1:

I would vote for Romney or Palin. Aslo, what did you think about that Air Force One stunt last week?

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

First off this is a blog, where people go to offer/debate opinions and views. It is not limited to whether the topic is Dem/Rep.

That said, if this is the best the GOP can bring, they are in big trouble.

#10 Jeb Bush I think the country has had enough of the Bush family. That and Jeb's performance in FL should keep him in the sidelines.

#9 Jon Huntsman He is a moderate Republican, not likely to get the nom from the base. He is also a Morman, which is what sank Romney.

#8 Michael Steele There is good reason the GOP spokesman is hiding. Every time he opens his mouth he puts his foot in it.

#7 Bobby Jindal His lame response to Obama's Address shows what a light weight he is. While the country did vote for an African American, I doubt they are ready for an Indian American. This is still a very racist country.

#6 Mark Stanford Little known outside of the conservative base, which plays well for the nomination, not the general election.

#5 Eric Cantor Best on the list, but may be seen as too young.

#4 Haley Barbour May be too much of an insider to run, time will tell.

#3 Newt Gingrich While Newt certainly has gotten himself in the news, people will be quickly reminded why he was thrown out of Washington. Then there are his many marriages, tacky delivery of divorce papers to wife #2, while she was in the hospital with cancer.

#2 Sarah Palin Come on Chris, this is a joke, right? She cost McCain the race.

#1 Mitt Romney I do not think that the Christian Right will ever elect a Mormon.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | May 9, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

Chris Fox doesn't answer questions, but just spews hate.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't you get somebody who is actually a Republican to guest-write this list for you? An insider's view would be more credible than a Democrat's. No disrespect, but it's pretty clear where in the political spectrum you are."

==

Problem is, what Republican could write a readable guest column? Where are you going to find a gooper columnist who isn't going to spittle up the first paragraph with crap about teleprompters and socialism and birth certificates? Chris Cillizza manages to write about the potential gooper candidates with a reasonable show of objectivity, correctly for example identifying the baggage each of these Ten Dwarves carries without ridicule or rage, but you won't find a Republican who could do the same.

For one thing, Republicans tell a lot of lies and fly off the handle too easily. They'll scream that Obama is alternately a fascist and a socialist, a dictator, ineligible for the presidency .. all the while praising Palin to the skies, slavering over Romney's big hair, screaming that the media weren't fair to McCain last year. Nobody wants to read that BS.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Mr Fix you must have struggled to put this article together God love yea. Palin's to divisive, Romney spent a ton of money during the last primary and had little to show for it. Newt's old news, the internet and the media made Jindal look like a fool, I might remind you that Jeb Bush's last name is BUSH. I think it's just to early to speculate on a list like this but keep trying

Posted by: Dugansmith | May 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Good list Chris. But Jeb has the Bush name for starters, Barbour has too much baggage as a 90's powerhouse,need fresh thoughts, not same old, same old. Sanford is too fundamentalist to ever do anything outside of the south. Huntsmen, yeah, but therein lies the problem with the GOP. The base won't support a moderate, and the independents and swing voters that the GOP needs to win anything won't support someone like Palin or Sanford. Until the party figures that out, that the country isn't center right anymore, and that fear mongering ads like the latest aren't believable, and only piss people off, they will be irrelevant in most of the country. Too bad, democracy only works well when their are at least two viable parties.

Posted by: katem1 | May 9, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Why don't you get somebody who is actually a Republican to guest-write this list for you? An insider's view would be more credible than a Democrat's. No disrespect, but it's pretty clear where in the political spectrum you are.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 9, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

JEB BUSH?

When Jeb Bush stepped down of Governor, he took a seven-figure job with Lehman Bros. Remember them? Thirty days later, the Florida State of Board of Administration bought $400 million of toxic assets from Lehman. Lehman was trying unload them to clean up its balance sheet once it admitted the credit crisis was real, and well after the credit crisis was national and international news. Those $400 million of Lehman assets quickly became worthless. Instant $400 million loss for the taxpayers of Florida. The SBA was headed by Mac Stiponovich, a disbarred stock broker appointed by Jeb to head the SBA . Heck of job, Mackie!

Coincidence?

Think of the 30-second TV ads this could generate. Imagine what a Dem version of Karl Rove could do with this. Wall Street fleecing the American taxpayer, crony appointments of incompetents, all rolled into one nice package.

Add to this: Terri Schiavo; Jeb's RECORDED remarks on having "a devious plan" to thwart the will of the people of Florida who had just passed a constitutional amendment mandating smaller class sizes in public schools; and his being on the Board of Directors of Tenet Healthcare, an HMO making its money by denying coverage.

Conservatives just love this "the public be da*ned" attitude. But America won't buy it. Jeb is a dead ender as far a national politics is concerned.

Jeb running against Obama in 2012 would guarantee Obama a second term.

Posted by: Garak | May 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Chris Fox - I doubt that many folks on this board are going to achieve "great things". If that's the criteria for going full term, the nurseries are going to be empty. One of the children in my son's preschool class (he's autistic, should he have been aborted too?) has Down Syndrome. He's a delightful little boy. Yes, he has issues and needs special help. Come to think of it, so do you.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 9, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

jweyster1 --

Very Obvious whaT you arE doing. Please don't try Any fancy sUbliminaL stuff on us! Really, You Are Not going to succeed.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 9, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

if these ten clowns, yo-yos, frauds, and dingbats are the g.o.p.'s best, then the democrats ought to be feeling pretty good about themselves.

p.s.: and i'm an independent.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | May 9, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

> Mitt Romney is basically an empty suit--everything about him is modeled to what he thinks the GOPpers want. He exudes unimaginative ambition from every pore, and even most Republicans can sense it.

That's arguably why he didn't win the '08 primary. Nonetheless, I do agree he's right now the frontrunner for the '12 primary simply on account of him being the closest to the "complete package" the GOP seeks.

Though any GOP primary field is bound to be a weak one. Right now, I'd say Huntsman might make the most competitive candidate in the general election, but his more moderate positions might prove too much of a liability in the primary (and he might not wish to challenge Obama in 2012 anyway and keep his powder dry for later).

As for Limbaugh, considering how just about every GOP politician cannot afford not to apologise after the slightest criticism or cave in otherwise, as Cantor did about his "listening tour", I find it hard to see how Limbaugh isn't prominently featured on this list.

Quite frankly, I cannot take a list seriously which consider Steele more influential than Limbaugh. Steele is considered by everyone a joke and Republicans have now made his chairmanship a rather empty title after wresting much of the control over finances away from him. He'll be allowed to serve out the year, but he's already history.

Posted by: charlesf1 | May 9, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

WHY IS PAUL RYAN (House District #1 - Wisconsin) not among your TOP TEN, Chris?!

I submit that Congressman Ryan has been in the spotlight MORE than several of the persons you spin among the TOP TEN... that, to my mind, undermines your credibility, Chris!

I KNOW that PAUL RYAN repeats again and again that he does NOT seek LEADERSHIP in the GOP, but that does NOT change his legitimate identity/role as an "INFLUENCER"!

Let's ADD PAUL RYAN to the TOP TEN!

Posted by: jweyster1 | May 9, 2009 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Romney made his bazillions from INVESTMENT BANKING, you know, that Scumbag Class responsible for -- and still profiting from -- the economic and financial system blow-up.

==

And one of the ugliest, an acquire-and-fire sort of scumbag with no qualms about putting thousands of people out of work to "increase shareholder value" by breaking up companies. An amoral financial twit in a shiny suit.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

since he is pro-life -- I would vote for him over Obama.

==

Any special reason you keep posting this over and over? We get it, OK? You're a one-issue low-information voter. This is not virtuous.

By 2012 Romney may have flipped again. His stated positions are pure opportunism and as the previous poster noted, he is part of the scumbag financial sector.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 9, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

"
Especially if the economy stays bad, I think that MITT is the de facto leader of the party, and -- since he is pro-life -- I would vote for him over Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse "

------------------------------------

Ah, me, JakeD.

Romney made his bazillions from INVESTMENT BANKING, you know, that Scumbag Class responsible for -- and still profiting from -- the economic and financial system blow-up.

Plus, NONE of his five sons sees fit to sign up and fight for the country. When asked, Mittie stated that they were serving their country by working on his (failed) presidential campaign.

This one ain't gonna fly. If this arrogant elitist is the best the Repubs can put up -- and sadly for you, he probably is -- then look forward to another four years of Obama in the WH.

Oh, and that's a good thing.

Posted by: phoenixresearch | May 9, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

It's not just the trolls who post here, it's every gooper I run into, of any age. They're all seriously paranoid, they're all talking about Obama as some sort of dictator, and they all have some arch conspiratorial sense of something awful about to happen. Another "terrorist atack," a big "backlast," the tea parties as some seriously pivotal Event .. it's like some kind of group psychosis.

And they all go on rants about socialism, teleprompters, birth certificates .. clearly they're all getting their cues from the same source, by elimination Rush Limbaugh.

They hate Obama and Pelosi, rarely mention Reid or Biden (white men).

They're starting to remind me of "28 Days Later"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You left out Darth Vader, Rush Limbaugh and John McCain, each of whom has more influence over the GOP than many of those you listed.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | May 8, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is basically an empty suit--everything about him is modeled to what he thinks the GOPpers want. He exudes unimaginative ambition from every pore, and even most Republicans can sense it.

I agree Limbaugh doesn't belong on the list--he hasn't had any true influence for a long time. It dates to the time he embraced the weak candidacy of Bob Dole in 1996. Around the same period, his TV show was a failure and his second book was a huge disappointment compared to the first one. Besides, since then, wingnut talk radio has been more and more marginalized. The average age of listeners to right-wing radio is up there with the average age of broken hip patients (and getting older all the time).

Re: Sarah Palin--I doubt the Repubs are going to hold her having been "knocked up" against her when the same is true of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Posted by: Budikavlan | May 8, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Why are you hanging around an article about Republicans?

Just spewing your angry, mean rhetoric.

==

need a hanky?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

To: Chris Fox and a couple of others...

Why don't you go back to your Liberal sites?

Why are you hanging around an article about Republicans?

Just spewing your angry, mean rhetoric.

This is a place for ideas - not hate.

Enough already.

:*))

Posted by: tatejames | May 8, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Republicans present alternative health care, energy, education, and budget bills to the Democratic leadership all the time

==

The GOP presents unserious, frivolous, and irresponsible "alternatives" that won't work, that are meant only to create additional opportunities to transfer money to those who already have plenty. Rejecting such proposals isn't partisanship, it's responsible leadership.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney wrote an article this week for Newsweek in which he outlined (again) a universal health care plan that ould be completely guided by patients, doctors, and the free market.

...

You see, the problem with branding the GOP as the party of no is the irony of it all. Republicans present alternative health care, energy, education, and budget bills to the Democratic leadership all the time; and all Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid say in reply is "No".

==

That's the precisely correct answer to a plan based on the "free market," which can only serve to enrich executive salaries, not create a comprehensive system of health care.

Free markets are great if you're talking about a Farmer's Market, with kiosks all next to each other. For a system whose outcomes must do something other than maximize shareholder value, free markets are lunacy.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I find it disturbing that sarah palin fools so many far right Fundies. I think she used to be a hippie...and may still be! Sarah got knocked up before marriage, then raised a daughter who did the EXACT SAME THING! sarah's kids seem to have hippie names, oh and sarah also admits she has smoked pot!

"In August, Todd and Sarah Palin eloped, summoning witnesses from a senior citizens home beside a courthouse. Their families learned of the marriage by looking in their garages, said Jim Palin, Todd’s father, where each family found a clump of flowers and a note.

"They’re just very, very private people," the elder Mr. Palin said.

The first of their five children, Track, was born about eight months later, and the couple soon moved back to Wasilla."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/us/politics/24palin.html?pagewanted=3

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/08/she-smoked-pot.html

Palin said she has smoked marijuana -- remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law -- but says she didn't like it and doesn't smoke it now.

"I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled."

Posted by: Shelbysez | May 8, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Chris would call Newt Gingrich "the" ideas guy, as if he were the only Republican with any ideas. Mitt Romney wrote an article this week for Newsweek in which he outlined (again) a universal health care plan that ould be completely guided by patients, doctors, and the free market. In the article, he points out that similar plans are being presented by Republicans in both houses of Congress all the time.

You see, the problem with branding the GOP as the party of no is the irony of it all. Republicans present alternative health care, energy, education, and budget bills to the Democratic leadership all the time; and all Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid say in reply is "No".

http://youngconservative27.blogspot.com/

Posted by: paperback_wizard | May 8, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

If someone is to do this for political purposes, that's one thing. But did Palin do that? As someone who has never even been in the same room as her much less had a prolonged and intimate exposure to her, there no way in hell I'm prepared to make that assumption.

==

She is not only indifferent to the extinction of entire species, she is willing to let a magnificent one like the polar bear vanish from the earth for a little oil revenue. What exactly additional information do you need about her morals?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

LET'S KILL ALL BORN DOWN'S SYNDROMES!!!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"It's one thing for a person to be deformed, or requiring constant medical care, so long as it has a mind and is capable of maturing to adulthood. Great things have been achieved by people with deformities and whole minds. A Down's has no such potential."

Down's babies do have minds. Not necessarily advanced, but they have them. We aren't talking about anencephaly here. Yeah, they aren't going to be normal adults, but if a parent is ok with that, then its fine. They have shortened life spans, yes, but they still live to about 50 years old. And the measure of a human life is hardly whether that person goes on to accomplish "great things."

If someone is to do this for political purposes, that's one thing. But did Palin do that? As someone who has never even been in the same room as her much less had a prolonged and intimate exposure to her, there no way in hell I'm prepared to make that assumption.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Reading the above, I can't get this tune out of my head:


Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

-- Mike Lieber and Jerry Stoller (I couldn't believe it, either.)

http://nowpublic.com/world/bush-torture-memos-oked-radiation-weapon-use-americans-too
http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"Last time I checked, every Republican on the list is pro-life. I would gladly vote for ANY of them over Obama.

Posted by: JakeD "
------------
Yes because that is the only issue that is this country faces.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 8, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I would never begrudge someone for aborting a trisomy 21 fetus, but I can't look down upon someone for choosing to do the opposite either.

==

I would. It's a selfish decision and I can't bring myself to believe that there isn't some element of self-flagellation or the desire to prove a point at another human being's expense in the decision.

Many genetic defects are amenable to treatment; T21 isn't. A lot of Down's don't live long, and while some of them are close to normal the majority are mentally children all their brief and suffering lives. Ninety percent of women who learn they are bearing a retarded child get an abortion and that is the right decision.

Palin chose to bring a severely defective child into the world rather than face the scorn of hypocrisy for doing the correct thing, and revising her convictions in the face of new information. I regard that decision with contempt.

It's one thing for a person to be deformed, or requiring constant medical care, so long as it has a mind and is capable of maturing to adulthood. Great things have been achieved by people with deformities and whole minds. A Down's has no such potential.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It'll be 80 years before Americans will pull the lever for someone named Bush. So leave Jeb out of this.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"This is the troglodyte woman without the good sense to abort a Down's baby"

Cmon, now. That's completely unfair. If someone has the desire to keep a Down's baby, that's fine. I'm no Palin fan, but this point of view is just as bad as her hardline stance on abortion. I would never begrudge someone for aborting a trisomy 21 fetus, but I can't look down upon someone for choosing to do the opposite either.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Romney was pro-choice until the 2008 primaries, Jake. If he makes the correct calculation that he has a better shot with some moderate appeal and reverts, and he ends up the nominee, sounds like you'll be in a bit of a pickle.

Oh well you can always write in Alan Keyes.

Or Bullwinkle.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, every Republican on the list is pro-life. I would gladly vote for ANY of them over Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

There is nobody on that list who will gain from exposure. They're all either too extreme for the electorate or not extreme enough for the base. Tom Ridge was the only hope for the GOP in Pennsylvania and he dropped out, not wanting to face the wrath of the ultra-conservative troglodytes who run the GOP in his state. So it will likely be Toomey versus Specter, and Toomey will get the usual 21-percenters and nobody else.

The Reagan Era is over, and the GOP just can't wrap its alleged mind around the fact.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Heh heh heh "growing?" How many times would the AIP need to *double* in size before it became a serious contender? They're even behind the Libertarians! And the LP has been "growing" too but still remains little more than a punch line.

Sort of like "some" Democrats will vote for a prolife Republican .. and "some" people will write in Bullwinkle, too.

Heh heh heh

It's all about JakeD, isn't it!

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If anyone else wants to discuss how BOTH the Republican and Democratic parties are shrinking, at least here in California (and the American Independent party is GROWING), please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

But see, Jake, there's a problem. The GOP base is a third the size it needs to be for the GOP to win nationally. In fact, they would be better off letting the base go hang and try to broaden their appeal, because that base has been shrinking steadily and there is no indication in sight that it will grow again.

I hope the GOP sticks to its agenda of intolerance and tyranny, so they keep losing elections at all levels.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If the Republican base can succeed in limiting their PRESIDENTIAL nominees to pro-lifers, that's the best we can hope for at the moment. No one said it would be an easy, or short, fight.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The great thing about Romney is that the more people get to know him, the less they like him.

Thank you, Chris, for one of the most encouraging "Lines" you've posted since you began writing The Fix.

The Republicans will remain in the wilderness at least through 2016, more likely 2024 (after two terms of Hillary Clinton).

And I do think it was an oversight to let Rush slip off the line. There is no one in the Republican Party who has more influence on the base right now, no one.

Posted by: Bondosan | May 8, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record, every Republican President elected since Roe v. Wade has been pro-life.

==

Go review the 2006 and 2008 elections, child.

Look at the Republicans who *lost*

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

For the record, every Republican President elected since Roe v. Wade has been pro-life.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

On his worst day, MITT is more pro-life than Obama.

==

"pro-life" is a loser at the ballot box, tyke

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Too bad li'l Trig is still 34 years and some change too young to run, he'd be the perfect GOP candidate. Think about it, he'd have the Lactating Women vote *sewed up*. His mom could campaign for him, slung under her right breast. Rush could endorse him as the candidate guaranteed to not come up with any new ideas.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

VTDuffman:

On his worst day, MITT is more pro-life than Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

... [Sarah the Snake-Handler] is a living example of what makes Americans different from any other people on earth--having the ability to improve oneself and rise as high as he or she wants.

==

Uh, if this cavewoman is the "improved" version then what was she before? This is the troglodyte woman without the good sense to abort a Down's baby and who says that seeing Russia through the mists gives her foreign policy insights. No wonder she has so much hair, there's lots of room for it when it deoesn't need to cover a brain.

Her fifteen minutes should be long over, keeping her in the public eye is a great way for the GOP, having already shot off both feet, to work their way up past the knees.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"namely the premise government officials are not free to do anything they please in any manner they choose,"

Wait, are you talking about the same Sarah Palin here? Like the "Numerous ethical violation, I'm governor I can do whatever I want" Sarah Palin? Sarah palin's biggest problem is that she represents everything that's *wrong* with the GOP right now and over the last 10+ years. She's a female GWB. I can't stress enough that if the GOP comes out of this soul-searching endeavor going "We lost be cause we were not enough like Sarah Palin" they are heading 180deg in the wrong direction.

"I think that MITT is the de facto leader of the party, and -- since he is pro-life -- I would vote for him over Obama."

He's pro-life now? It's so hard to keep track sometimes. What do you use, like a website or something?

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 8, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh god yes please let them run Romney in 2012, the weeping self-pitying shiny-suit big-hair magic-undies guy who thinks "economics" is a strong suit. Let's have a campaign where the guy who believes with all his heart in a pseudoscience and comes from a fundamentalist polygamy cult stomps around the stage centering his tie and trotting out nutbar pronouncements about "the marketplace."

Oh bring it OWN.

He can have Sarah on a leash too, the organ-grinder and his monkey!

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 8, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Palin also underscores the sin of the current administration, which has thrown working-class voters (what is supposed to be the core of their mission)under the bus in favor of the union-member working class. Finally, the scorn by elitists on both sides of the aisle about her background is a huge mistake, because she is a living example of what makes Americans different from any other people on earth--having the ability to improve oneself and rise as high as he or she wants."

Everyone take a shot!

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Where's that bully boy Rush?

He can make everyone on this line "take it back."

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 8, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"If, I repeat, IF the republicans are smart they'll realize that if they want a future they'll have to be more moderate."

Yeah, the Democrats have learned this lesson. That's why you have the Blue Dogs. They've realized that while its annoying to have those guys interfere with progressive legislation, it is preferable to having Republicans completely destroy it. The Republicans fail to understand this and in their quest for ideological purity, they have ceded a lot of seats to Republicans. In Pennsylvania alone, they have cost themselves by losing Specter, but also by deterring Tom Ridge from entering the fray knowing that his position on a single issue will sink him.

And think of the Senators who have been losing seats the last few cycles. It's been guys like Santorum or Stevens, or Talent, or Burns and Allen. A lotof the hard core conservatives. People just can't align themselves with that kind of extremism anymore. The Republicans will have to bend a little if they want to stop being a regional party. They are going to have to make some hard decisions as to what they want to give up. I have a feeling that their economics positions are a lot more attractive to independents than their social positions on gay marriage and abortion.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Might be best to put up a GOP Pres. Candidate that's a 50:1 longshot or can of corn.. just sling a bunch of mud.. and there shoudl be ample by then.. and hope for the best.. Obama would have to come up lame to lose this one.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 8, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

Then there is no "logical disconnect" with the presumptive GOP nominee having the most influence (whether he has the 'complete package' or not being beside the point). Maybe The Fix is casting him in the Moses role. Especially if the economy stays bad, I think that MITT is the de facto leader of the party, and -- since he is pro-life -- I would vote for him over Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I predict that Romney will be the GOP nominee in 2012."

That's the obvious bet. The GOP typically nominates the runner-up from the prior contest.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 8, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to look at Sarah Palin as a Constitutionalist to see what has been missing from the GOP for the last eight years (and now in the DNC), namely the premise government officials are not free to do anything they please in any manner they choose, but are supposed to adhere to the limitation of power and procedure as set out in the Constitution. State rights vs. invasive Fed government.

Palin also underscores the sin of the current administration, which has thrown working-class voters (what is supposed to be the core of their mission)under the bus in favor of the union-member working class. Finally, the scorn by elitists on both sides of the aisle about her background is a huge mistake, because she is a living example of what makes Americans different from any other people on earth--having the ability to improve oneself and rise as high as he or she wants.

Posted by: LauraVW | May 8, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I am not a Republican, but looking at the current potential presidential field I think that Mitt Romney probably is the strongest candidate for 2012, if only be default. (Whether that nomination will be worth much remains to be seen.) While not perfect, Mitt does have experience in government and business and while not the first choice of all factions of the GOP is probably at least acceptable to almost all of it.

Other potential national candidates have various stronger liabilities. Charlie Crist is probably too moderate to be nominated; Bobby Jindal may be a bit too fresh a face for 2012, at least; Mike Huckabee is beloved by social conservatives but mistrusted by the economically conservative wing; Mark Sanford, by contrast, is seen as too stingy even by Republicans in his southern state; Sarah Palin's electability is very doubtful, at best; Tim Pawlenty has a possibly shaky political position at home; and Haley Barbour's profile as national pol, rich lobbyist, and governor of a conservative southern state doesn't sound like the ticket for winning over moderate and independent voters, despite his effectiveness.

Posted by: mkarns | May 8, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

I predict that Romney will be the GOP nominee in 2012.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Why have Romney's inconsistency on "family value" issues not been more of a drag on him? I know intelligent people change positions on issues all the time, but for him it seemed much more like pure catering.

Newt is very smart. I can't see him successfully running for president, but he would be a great person for directing the rebuilding of a Republican platform.

Posted by: Kili | May 8, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Here's the propaganda that ALL rirghtwingers [as they have but a single 'mind' among them] will be using to defeat decent healthcare and ensure that more and more people won't be able to afford to see a doctor,


"Earlier this week, a memo written by right-wing message guru Frank Luntz was leaked instructing the Republican Party on how to frame the health care debate in order to defeat progressive reform. Since his pivotal role in helping craft Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, Luntz has had an impressive record of cloaking regressive and conservative policies with carefully poll-tested language. For instance, Luntz is credited with persuading Republicans to use the intentionally misleading term “death tax” to describe the estate tax.

According to CQ, Republicans are enthusiastically embracing Luntz and his health care memo. At a private workshop organized by the House leadership, Luntz was welcomed with applause and cries of “Welcome home!” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) gushed, “We look to him for how do we express the things that we believe in ways that are effective.”

Luntz’s health care memo urges Republicans to denounce progressive reforms as ideas based upon a “committee of Washington bureaucrats.” The memo then calls for Republicans to strongly emphasize the “protection of the personalized doctor-patient relationship” because this approach allows Americans to believe that the GOP is doing something to “protect and improve something good“:

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"commy style government of the Obama administration"

LOL -- every republican that posts on this board is demented.

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"Below you'll find our Line on the ten Republicans with the most influence over the current direction of the party. This should not be taken as a proxy for who will be the 2012 nominee as a number of the leading candidates on this list won't (or can't) be candidates in three years time.

...

1. Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor ... is still the Republican that is the closest the party has to the complete package."


There is a logical disconnect here. The Fix seems to argue for Mitt as top influence maker because he is the 'complete package' for 2012. Yet in the into, the Fix writes that the line is about influence, not 2012. I fail to see how Mitt is leading the party at all right now, except to add to the chorus of criticism of the Obama admin, without making realistic policy suggestions. If that's the extent of GOP leadership, they will continue wandering the wilderness. Perhaps The Fix is casting Willard in the Moses role?

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 8, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

thecorinthian writes
"If, I repeat, IF the republicans are smart they'll realize that if they want a future they'll have to be more moderate. Otherwise they'll keep chasing out/sinking moderate conservatives with wingnut primary challengers that even the party organization says won't win.

I hope they're not smart."


I hope the get smart. Our two party system is bad enough. With one of the two marginalizing themselves, ceding power to one party is not good for America. I'd like to see the GOP regain relevancy by returning to pragmatic policy making - and kicking the social cons into the margins.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 8, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I supported Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign in 2008. I knew that when McCain won the nomination, the GOP was done in the GE. Then when McCain went with the political choice of Palin for VP, I knew we were really done for. Palin shouldn't be #2 on the line, no way! Romney, Gingrich, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Hayley Barbour, Eric Cantor & Mark Sanford should be up there. John Huntsman Jr. is in a class all his own, as the major moderate R on the line. As for Presidential hopes for 2012, I think Mark Sanford & John Huntsman Jr. sit in the best spots. Sanford was a US Representative, but got out of Washington in 2003. This was before things went bad for the Republican party in mid 2005. So people can't blame Sanford for being an in line Bush follower on spending & bloated budgets. His reign as governor of South Carolina is open for debate, but he is not a Washington insider & not an inside the beltway Republican. Sanford identifies with the grassroots Republican operatives and should be able to get them fired up & working hard with his fiscally responsible views. Sanford should be able to unite the fiscal, social & defense driven Republicans that noone could unite since Bush in 2000. A Sanford/Ridge ticket would be awesome in 2012. John Huntsman Jr. should be a very viable alternative to Sanford. With his moderate views on civil unions, the environment & healthcare he would be able to cross over alot of moderate democrats back to the Republican primary to vote for him vs. Sanford. Earlier this week, the wag the blog question was on primaries. Make no mistake: a Huntsman vs. Sanford primary would be a great one for the Republican party! Huntsman & Sanford would be able to raise lots of money, change moderate dems & independents to vote in the Republican primary, build grassroots efforts at the local levels across the nation all in a major fight for the future of the party. The key is will they just fight over civil unions & global warming...and unite against the big spending, high taxation (it's beginning to come already) & commy style government of the Obama administration and unite to cut gov't., taxes & build up national defense of America.. As long as both men make this their central messege, the Republican party will benefit immensley from a Sanford vs. Huntsman Republican primary.

Posted by: reason5 | May 8, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If, I repeat, IF the republicans are smart they'll realize that if they want a future they'll have to be more moderate. Otherwise they'll keep chasing out/sinking moderate conservatives with wingnut primary challengers that even the party organization says won't win.

I hope they're not smart.

Posted by: thecorinthian | May 8, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
You used to list who dropped off the line. I would like you to do that for this line and future ones.

Posted by: madoug | May 8, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh has more influence then anyone you mention.

Posted by: nodebris | May 8, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

Don't get me started on "gay marriage" (which not just GOP voters are against).

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This pathetic lineup of lackluster losers goes a long way toward explaining why the republican party is in a highly deserved death spiral. Hypocrites, flipfloppers, liars, clowns, con artists and fools with not a single original thought between them.

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

What's interesting about the Line today is that there is only one person on it from Congress -- Mr. Cantor. And Mr. Cantor doesn't seem to know whether a "listening tour" is necessary or not -- he doesn't do himself any favors kowtowing to El Rushbo.

The Republican Congress is a Black Hole from which no real ideas or leadership can escape!

Posted by: jrosco3 | May 8, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Steele is a good spokesperson, but no one seems to be listening. Furthermore, for all the ideas people (Steele, Cantor, Gingrich) the Republicans seem to be using the same talking points that they have my entire life. They even felt the need to weigh in on their opposition to gay marriage. I realize they have a base to placate and movement must be gradual, but they don't even seem to have gradual movement.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I would drop Newt off the list. He's always toying with the idea of running for President, but he never will.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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