Election 2012: The first set of wrong predictions

With South Dakota Senator John Thune deciding not to seek the White House, the handsomeness quotient took a hit. Normally Mr. Thune would not be a VP candidate, because South Dakota only has three electoral votes. Yet so does Wyoming, and Mr. Cheney did just fine. Mr. Thune is too telegenic not to be given a look from a Q standpoint.

With that, the first 2012 event took place. Now for some predictions that will most likely be wrong and obsolete very soon. This is a fun exercise, which is why we do it.

Let’s start with the Democrats. Anybody who thinks Barack Obama will refuse to run for reelection needs their head examined. Of course he is running again. He has the second most powerful job in the world outside of Mayor of Chicago.

He will not face a primary challenge from anybody serious. Political junkies looking for one will be disappointed. Forget it. Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and the rest will all have to wait until 2016. While some far left wacko like a Dennis Kucinich or Cynthia McKinney may run, this blog only deals with serious candidates. Mr. Obama will be unopposed.

As for the third party candidates, nobody I know cares. Do we really need a full length expose about Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin running on a platform of transcendental meditation?

Either a Democrat or Republican will win, so let’s get to the Republicans.

Mitt Romney: He is the nominee. Republicans are a hierarchy, and he is next in line. He is tall with good hair, and looks like he was born wearing a red and blue diagonal necktie. He has been running since the day he lost the 2008 nomination. He is also still uber-wealthy.

Prediction: He wins the nomination.

Mike Huckabee: A year ago it absolutely looked like he was running again. Now he may not. He is perfectly qualified to be King of Iowa, yet does not seem to expand beyond the socially conservative base.

Prediction: He does not run. He will not have the money to compete if he does. He stays at his cushy Fox News job.

Newt Gingrich: Every four years he flirts with running, and then does not. This time he really looks like he is running. He is the intellectual heavyweight of the party, with plenty of substance on policy. Raising money would be easy. He is also very easy to demonize, and his personal life would be fodder for the media who despise him anyway.

Prediction: He stuns everyone by not running again. He is loved as an elder statesman but that love will disappear the moment he announces.

Tim Pawlenty: He is tall with good hair, and looks and sounds like every other white Midwestern governor since the beginning of time. He is a safe, do no harm choice. Raising money will not be easy. He is likable, but not high up in the hierarchy.

Prediction: He is running for Vice President. He needs to either run for president, do badly, and drop out very early and endorse the front-runner, or somehow run a very strong second and force his way on the ticket. If he trails badly in the race, he should avoid criticizing the front-runner at all costs. He is a solid VP choice, and most likely will be the VP choice.

Mitch Daniels: He is another white Midwestern governor, which is a polite way of saying most people has no idea who he is while those who have never heard of him or heard him will declare him boring.

Prediction: He won’t have the money. He is not running, although a larger national profile could help him get the VP nod. Unlike Minnesota, Indiana is less sensible from a strategy standpoint since it is safely Republican.

Rudy Giuliani: A year ago I would have said there was no way he was running. A 2016 bid seemed possible. Now I am not so sure. My original theory about 2008 was that the only person who could have stopped him was John McCain.

Prediction: I think he does run again, although nothing with Rudy surprises me any more. If he runs again, I will back him again. He will be financially competitive.

Chris Christie: Get over it. He is not running, and will not be a VP candidate.

Sarah Palin: She has millions of people who love and loathe her, and she is now making millions. Everybody in the GOP wants her endorsement.

Prediction: She does not run. It’s a pay cut and a loss of prestige. She plays the role McCain did in 2004, raising tons of money for the nominee.

Michele Bachmann: There is not enough room for her and Palin. Bachmann appeals to the base but she also gets the other side energized. She may not have the money to compete.

Prediction: She does not run, instead trying to move up the House leadership in 2012.

Rick Santorum: He will not have much money, but he is a social conservative who engenders less hostility than Palin or Bachmann.

Prediction: He does run, and his dark horse status allows him to run an “honest” campaign. He will be “the” socially conservative candidate, less warm and fuzzy than Huckabee but more personable than Sam Brownback. He may do well in Iowa, but by New Hampshire will be out. As long as he avoids attacking the front-runner, he can be considered as a legitimate VP candidate. Pennsylvania is a key state, and that gives him leverage.

Herman Cain: He is exciting, and can go after Barack Obama without being accused of being a racist. He is an American success story, and wants to be judged by the content of his character. Yet his being black and conservative is certainly an advantage.

Prediction: He is running because he has nothing to lose. He will have the money, but the GOP is risk averse. Mr. Cain could finish in the top three and position himself for 2016 if Mr. Obama is reelected. The issue is not race. It is the hierarchical nature of the GOP. He could be a VP candidate if he develops a national following.

Haley Barbour: Some say he is too Southern, but beneath that drawl is a very bright political animal. The base loves him while moderates are not frightened by him, since he preaches inclusion and avoids fights on divisive social issues even though he is socially conservative.

Prediction: He is running, and the best money raiser in the entire GOP will have the money. If Giuliani does not run, Haley is my guy.

Ron Paul: Nobody cares.

Prediction: He will run, he won’t win anything, and his supporters will insist that either he did win or a conspiracy prevented him from winning. Either way, his supporters will never shut up.

Donald Trump: He has plenty of money and fame. He makes sense on economic issues except for his wanting to start a trade war with China. He holds the Ron Paul view on foreign policy, although comes across as lacking the Paulbot lunacy.

Prediction: Of course he is not running. This is all a publicity stunt from the best promoter in America not named Don King or Lady Gaga. Celebrity Apprentice ratings will go through the roof. He will then decide that he likes being the boss without having to answer to Iowa pig farmers or New Hampshirites.

Other legitimate VP candidates: Paul Ryan is the most serious choice. Mike Pence is a slimmer possibility who is probably running for Governor of Indiana.

Fantasy VP choice: Marco Rubio and Colonel Allen West, but this is based on personality rather than serious accomplishments. Let them do their jobs first. They have enormous future potential.

Darkest of dark horse VP choices: Linda Lingle. I am stunned that she does not enter the discussion. She should. Unlike Bachman or Palin, Lingle would be much tougher to demonize. She is formal, proper, articulate, moderate on social issues, and had a successful three terms as governor. She lacks strategic value, but deserves consideration anyway.

The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary are one year away.

Let the games begin!


One Response to “Election 2012: The first set of wrong predictions”

  1. Last time around, Romney had a very hard time with the Religious Right. This time around he’s going to have a very hard time with the Religious Right and the TEA Party movement, putting him at an even greater disadvantage than before. Even if he could win the nomination, it could be only to lose the general election as the party’s base right stays home on election day. The GOP has a real problem: much of the base right is uneasy with the war machine and the corporatocracy, two pillars of the GOP. They really have no top candidate that anyone can even imagine who can assuage their concerns.

    Anyone could rise out of this. It will be interesting to see. Bachmann, usually not the keenist rhetorician, made a very important point in a recent speesh that is telling of how the GOP leadership is trying to play this problem. She essentially said the GOP must unite the Deficit Hawks, with the War Hawks, with the Religious Right. Right there we can see that the leadership does acknowledge these rifts, though are careful to keep the message channeled through those who can speak to those disparate factions. Notice she says nothing about the Wall Street Republicans who really run the show. It is under their auspices that the GOP wishes to see these factions fief. If they can manage that – Romney or maybe Barbour wins. If they can not, then it will be almost anyone else.


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