|Newt Gingrich is a disgraced former speaker who is better at throwing bombs than he ever was at legislating. He has a problem with the family values crowd both for leaving his wives and for the fact that he is now a Catholic. Don't underestimate the problems this can cause with a party that 50% of all members are Evangelical Christians. There is also his distressing "Do as I say, not as I do" problem that might play with the authoritarian Right, but not with the middle that is required to win the presidency.
Mitch Daniels - Who? Sure you know his name, do you know what he stands for? Does he know what he stands for given that the Tea Party base is going to require that every candidate denies global warming, a balanced budget, continued tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy (even though this policy has bled the U.S Treasury dry) an unswerving devotion to the supposed intent of the Framers of the Constitution and an "America, Fuck Yeah!" attitude that insists we can do nothing wrong because when the U.S. does it, then it is right.
Mike Huckabee playing the bass was medium cool for a Republican four years ago, but since that time he has managed to be a day late and a dollar short on every issue. He took a job at Fox News to give himself a platform to stay visible only to be upstaged by Sister Sarah. Now that folks are starting to see a bunch of things that they might like in the ACA he is on the air trying to get 5 million signatures on a petition to repeal the whole thing. Even though polling is showing only 18% of the public want that. It is really hard to surface from the back edge of the wave. You paddle like hell and don't get any closer to the beach or the Wahini's .
Rick Santorum is conservative enough, but has been all but invisible for the last four years. Since losing his Senate seat in a crushing defeat (the largest margin of defeat for any sitting Senator ever) he has tried to get some traction here and there, but really he is not exactly a front and center person in the minds of the American people. Which is all that gives him any hope of viability; as soon as people are reminded of his actions in Shivo case and his stands for intelligent design they are going to remember why the people of Pennsylvania tossed him out on his ear by 18 points in 2006.
Haley Barbour has a lot of inside the Party support from establishment Republicans. He has been their national chair and knows where all the money is and where the bodies are buried (maybe even literally though that is rank speculation and should be considered so). The thing about Ol' Haley is that he is going to have a hell of an optics problem. He is older and, let's be blunt, a hell of a lot fatter than most of the candidates. It is completely shallow but it is much harder to achieve high office in this country if you are hauling around an extra 150 lbs. There is also the issue of can he be "conservative enough" for the radical base. Talk all the smack you like about Barbour (and there is lots of smack to talk) but he is a life long politician. He knows how the system works and works it. That alone might earn him the RINO label from the Radical Republican base.
Herman Cain has exactly no political experience. This is not always a killer in Republican politics but he is going to have a big job getting people to know him and see him as someone ready for the big job at the top of the Federal Government. Even so called "business candidates" (folks who have MBA and ran businesses before running) generally have some elected experience before they try for a chief executive job. The fact that Florida just elected someone without that experience to the governorship is going to be a problem for Cain as the perils of doing so become clear and the Sunshine State goes off the rails.
Tim Pawlenty - The difference between the ex-Governor of Minnesota and plain Dannon yogurt is that Dannon has active culture. The bland man form the north has the governing experience but he is so plain he has had to produce a slick high production value introduction video. Making a trailer that sounds like the next "Die Hard" movie is probably a good way to be mocked instead of being taken credibly by the electorate. Beyond that he has the problem that all the candidate do, how do you talk the insane patios of the Radical Right enough to get the nomination without being toxic to the general electorate afterwards?
Mike Pence - He has the crazy talk down, there is no doubt and he always looks well put together (if a more than a little like a Congressional Ken doll). The thing is he is a long time member of Congress and had voted against a lot of things that the American people like. He is going to get a lot of face time in the Republican controlled House, but given that the Republican agenda is not what the American people want this is likely to be a net negative.
Mitt Romney - The guy most likely to have a lot of support from the establishment, if only because he is so malleable with his positions that there is not a lot to criticize as long as you don't look at his position last week. The big thing that is going to hurt him is the fact that his health care solution in Massechusetts is basically the same thing as the ACA. Sadly for Mitch repeal and destruction of the ACA is one of the key goals of Republicans. The level of cognitive dissonance it will take to distance himself from his signature achievement as governor is going to be epic! There is also the issue that he is a Mormon and that is going to make things hard on him in the party of Jesus Land. Still the ability to spend a lot of his own money and raise a lot more are the factors that make him the leader today.
Michele Bachmann - Aside from the goofy spelling of her name, she has a lot of pluses for the Republican base who love her stoking of paranoid fears of the government coming for their guns. She is attractive, if you can get over the psycho stare technique she stole from the Scientologists. She is gathering power and if she can avoid the pitfalls responding to the State of Union address (which in all fairness is like following Barbara Streisand after Sting and Bono joined her on stage) she might become an even bigger force. The problem for her is that while her shtick might play in her district in MN, it is just too bat shit for the nation as a whole.
While these are the heavy weights in the running for the Republican nomination right now, they have a problem beyond their faults. None of them come from a Electoral College vote rich state. No Californian or Texan on the list. No Floridian or New Yorker. The whole Tea Party movement might be a lot of sound and fury but for the exception of small red states the Tea Party did not elect any Senators. Sure they put up a lot of Representatives but that has more to do with gerrymandered districts and the ability of committed (and committable?) conservatives turning out in an off year election. Even places like Nevada and Colorado, which are purple at best, turned down the craziness of the Tea Party, even though they did not have very good Democratic candidates as their choice. This bodes ill for Republican chances in 2012, at least right now.
Sure the economy is going to be a huge issue, but having seen what a nitwit of a president can mean, the people of the nation are not very likely to elevate one of these Republican dwarves to the highest office in the land. It is just a bridge to far to elect someone that has never held office or believes in intelligent design or had to have commercial spots that compare him to the moon shot astronauts just to get some name recognition.
The eleven dwarves are going to fight it out in the mud pit for the Republican nomination and if no other person steps up, it seems that will be about all she wrote for the 2012 elections.
The floor is yours.