published Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Who for president in 2012?

Here we are in April 2011. It’s spring. “A young man’s fancy,” we are told, “turns to thoughts of love.” But for politicians, this is a time when aspiring candidates for president of the United States are turning to thoughts of replacing Barack Obama in the White House.

Yes, the next presidential election is not until November 2012. But any hopefuls who want to have a chance of success can’t wait till election year to begin their campaigns.

They have to start far in advance. They have to float “trial balloons.” They have to gain name recognition. And unfortunately, they have to raise a lot of campaign money, if possible. Some aspirants hope “political lightning will strike” to bring positive public attention. Some will be disappointed.

With first-term President Obama more or less a sure thing to be the Democratic Party nominee, the really big question now is, what Republican prospect has the greatest chance to win the GOP’s presidential nomination — and then has a significant chance to defeat the incumbent?

Currently, the great American public is not showing overwhelming enthusiasm for giving Obama a second term — or for giving the White House to any of the Republicans who would like to replace him!

So while Obama and his policies are lacking in popularity, many recall the political truism: “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.”

The fact is, at least for now, unclear which Republican might provide a tough challenge to Obama in the 2012 election.

One of many “names mentioned” has just ruled himself out. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi surprised many when he announced Monday that he has decided he won’t run for president next year. He said he just doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” that is required for a presidential candidacy.

Barbour probably realized what many prospective candidates don’t: that he had scant hope for success if he did run.

A poll published last weekend in The Wall Street Journal indicated Barbour would not have been a leading contender.

It hardly found a leading contender at all!

The poll that showed Barbour with only 2 percent preference for the Republican presidential nomination showed one “leading” possibility to be former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who currently is in the public eye as a TV master of ceremonies on a musical variety and political show. Huckabee was at the head of the pack with just 16 percent.

Tying Huckabee with 16 percent was Donald Trump!

(Doesn’t that alone suggest that the Republican field is still wide open, and there is no apparent “shoo-in” for nomination yet?)

Trailing Huckabee and Trump in the Republican presidential polling were:

* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 13 percent.

* Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 10 percent.

* U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 6 percent.

* Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich of Georgia with 6 percent.

* U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 4 percent.

* Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at 3 percent.

* Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at 3 percent.

* Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 2 percent.

* Barbour at 2 percent.

* Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 1 percent.

Most of those names are hardly household words. The president is surely aware of that.

Well, it’s still a long time before the next presidential primaries and the general election. But winning a presidential campaign does not happen overnight.

A clearly promising challenger to Obama hasn’t appeared yet. But lots of politicians are hoping, and a lot of voters are looking. And Obama surely has his eyes open to his potential challengers, too. But he’s just as surely not worrying very much — so far.

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nucanuck said...

Curiously, the candidate who would seem most likely to defeat Obama, and whom Obama would least like to run against, Jon Huntsman, finished last with only 1%.

April 27, 2011 at 1:08 a.m.
EaTn said...

With all the talk about unseating Obama, and this is the best they can come up with? After their targeting the retired and middle class in favor of the wealthy in the budget, the GOP house will be struggling to hold it's majority.

April 27, 2011 at 5:56 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

The one most qualified, Mitt Romney, can't relate to his base to win the nomination. If the base were not so reactionary, they would be able to put up someone who knows about governing. The most formidable one against Obama is Romney. Unfortunately, for Romney his accomplishments, bi-partisanship and religion stand in the way of him being able to reach that goal.

Until the base tones it down and accepts more tolerant candidates, the GOP will continue losing elections. Example given is Christine O'Donnell winning the Delaware primary over Mike Castle, but lost spectacularly in the general. Keep up the good work, Tea Partiers! I'm loving it.

April 27, 2011 at 6:21 a.m.
nucanuck said...

If the economy falters badly between now and November 2012, Obama could easily lose to any hat that is put in the ring. Odds would seem to indicate that the US will get a Republican one-termer during the continuation of the economic descent, followed by a strong (good or bad) leader in 2016. Either way, 2012 seems unlikely to be a new beginning for what ails America.

April 27, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
Plato said...

In the end Romney will win the primary by default and pick Rubio as his VP in hopes of splitting out some of the Hispanic vote and grabbing Florida. Unfortunately for Romney he will spend half his time explaining why Romney Care is somehow good but Obama Care is bad. If he can double talk and spin his way through that mine field he might pull the upset.

Romney has serious business creds and is both an accomplished executive as well as governor. As a Dem I would not feel too badly if he won.

April 27, 2011 at 7:23 p.m.
chet123 said...

Romney,Rubio or republican may have an ACE they are not telling....all others candidate are CLOWNs..dont have a chance in general election

April 28, 2011 at 7:56 a.m.
chet123 said...

yes including huckabee!! the so-called money loving, sell out of the teaching of a joke

April 28, 2011 at 7:58 a.m.

I'm sorry but the fact that some people would actually believe Donald Trump would make a good president shows just how far our country has fallen. Looking beyond his numerous business downfalls with bankruptcies, one could argue that he is still essentially a good businessman but Commander in Chief, no flipping way! With him as president we might as well have Snookie from Jersey Shore as VP. I wouldn’t put it past Trump to do just that since it would no doubt provide additional free publicity for him like his “birther” stunt. Not that I ever dream of watch the show but the rating’s for The Apprentice has jumped ten fold since he defended the “birthers” movement, that being his true intention all along, ratings, not finding out whether Obama was a citizen at all (which has be proven MULTI times that he is)! I may not agree 100% with everything Obama has done (particularly with trying to be so bipartisan when the opponents have NO intention of doing the same) but the majority of his decisions have kept us from another devastating depression and he could do more if the Republicans/racists weren’t held bent on undermining his every move, even when it could benefit them. All you have to do to see what’s wrong with America is turn on your television and see the shmucks we parade around and pay $100,000 per episode to watch!

Before drooling at the mouth to unseat Obama people should refer to the saying, "Better the devil I know than the other." Until the GOP offer up an intellectually reasonable candidate that isn't held bent on crippling the middle class, taking away women's rights, an underlining racist, or a publicity hound like Trump they will never win 2012.

April 28, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.
Oz said...

Republicans are racists? Sure we are. I would vote for Allen West over any current Republican candidate. If he does not get in. I will probably vote for Herman Cain. They are both 100% black...not just 50%. Does that make me a racist?

April 28, 2011 at 8:26 p.m.
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