Posted by: Jeff | July 26, 2009

The Contenders: Five Possible GOP Candidates in 2012

The Republicans are in bad straights. They have less than half the governorships. They have only 40 out of 100 senators, and only 198 representatives out of 435 in the House. Who might lead them out of the political wilderness? Joe and I discuss five politicians you may not have heard of, but who could take up the mantle of GOP savior in 2012.

*CORRECTION – We refer to Eric Cantor in the podcast as “Republican Majority Whip”, which is incorrect since the Republicans are the Minority Party in the House.  His title should just be “Republican Whip”.

The Contenders – Five Possible GOP Candidates in 2012

References for this podcast:

Music used in this podcast:

  • “Sara” by Bob Dylan, off the album Desire


  1. 2 things…
    Romney lost last time mostly because of Huckabee’s presence. It’ll happen again… So, I have a hard time seeing either winning.

    Why don’t the Republicans close their primaries to registered members only? Drives me nuts. I don’t want Democrats and independents picking our canidate for us… They won’t vote for our nominee in Nov. And yes I believe a quality, conservative Republican can win without the support of moderates/independents.

    • In that case, would it be fair to say McCain was the “fall back” guy for the Republicans in ’08? That was my impression. He seemed to be the candidate no one really liked, but no one really disliked either, so he got it by default. (I think a similar thing happened with Kerry and the Democrats in ’04.) If Romney and Huckabee canceled each other out in ’08 – or if Huckabee couldn’t win but his presence assured Romney couldn’t either – and if, theoretically, they would undergo the same dynamic again, then the question becomes who the fall back guy is in 2012.

      Like I said, I can’t see Palin fulfilling the roll. Ditto for Giuliani. So maybe it will be one of our five up-and-comers.

      As for closing the primaries to registered party members only, am I wrong here or is the decision as to who can vote in a primary made by individual states rather than by the parties? I know concerns about “stealth” Republicans voting in Democratic primaries were going around in ’08 as well. Rush Limbaugh encouraging his listeners to vote for Clinton and all that.

  2. Prediction: Romney and Huckabee will form a coalition in 2012, with Romney at the top of the ticket for his business bona fides and his ability to articulately Monday-morning quarterback the so-so economic recovery comfortably from hindsight, and Huckabee taking the VP position to negate Romney’s Mormonism and make him more palatable to the base.

    But having Huckabee on the ticket will be for naught, as Sarah Palin will form her own political party and will run at the head of that ticket. Her platform will obviously be anti-liberal, anti-Hollywood, and of course pro-drilling, because we only need to have enough natural resources to last us until Jesus gets here, which by 2012 HAS GOT to be right around the corner, so why not exhaust our resources while we can. Her party will likely be called “The White Party”, because Republicans already took red and the Democrats took blue, leaving only White as the remaining patriotic color to be co-opted by a political party. Plus, Alaska is white, and white is the symbol of purity. When the obvious racist connotation of her party name is mocked, the mockers will in turn be accused of being the real racists, for some reason. Also, in recent resignation speeches, Palin has made numerous references to grizzly bears, so it’s a safe bet that she’ll adopt the grizzly bear as the White Party mascot, completely oblivious that Russia has laid stake to the whole bear thing for some time now, at which point Keith Olbermann’s head will explode. While remaining laughable to the left and to many fiscal conservatives, her repent-ye-for-the-end-is-nigh message will resonate with the same core it does now, who will conflate their belief in the coming Apocalypse of Revelations with the Mayan prediction that the world will end in 2012. Her base will pretend to give a shit about ancient Mayan culture much as they pretended to give a shit about hockey back in ’08.

    The White Party won’t make it past the primaries.

    Of course, it’s just as likely that all of this would have been sorted out by The Second American Civl War by then, anyway.

  3. Great podcast you guys and interesting responses. To Neil’s last point, I disagree that that the Republicans can win an election without significant independent/moderate support. Any candidate has to court that bloc no matter what.

    I do see Romney as the front runner right now. In terms of Jeff’s response, I don’t think McCain was so much the “fall back guy,” rather the “next in line.” The G.O.P. is notorious for ceding the crown to those that paid their dues (most of the time, W. Bush being an exception). At the same time, Romney’s business acumen will be front and center especially and whatever the economy’s state will dictate the message that they fashion. “We’re not doing enough.” “It has been mismanaged completely” etc.

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