The First Post of an Inevitable Series
Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican nomination for President about two weeks ago and then proceeded to alienate the entire party at record speed, even by his standards. Tim Pawlenty will formally announce his candidacy on Monday. Mitch Daniels, whose stature is at least equivalent to that of Pawlenty (read that any way you would like) has not yet announced when he might make an announcement. Thankfully, Donald Trump has taken himself out of the race, so this is the only sentence I will ever have to write about his Presidential campaign. Herman Cain, who formally announced his candidacy today, is receiving praise for his performance at the first Republican debate (yes, one has already happened). Based on that same debate, there appears to be a possibility that Gary Johnson may cut into Ron Paul’s share of the identity-libertarian vote.
Through the 2008 Republican primary cycle, I bought into the hype that said “this time is different”, and that the Republicans were going to do something different from their traditional practice of nominating “the next guy in line”. I spent some time tracking how a Rudy Guiliani/Fred Thompson dynamic might play out. And then the Republicans nominated the next guy in line (John McCain, in case you’ve already blotted his campaign out of your memory).
So, in addition to any declared candidates, until there is real evidence of non-viability or non-interest, you should keep a political-eye on the two potential candidates who best fit the description of the next [person] in line: Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, even though a conventional wisdom is forming that the Massachusetts health care mandate makes Romney unelectable in a Republican primary. Keep in mind, however, that just before the 2008 Presidential primary season started, John McCain was working as hard as he could to alienate the Republican base on the issue of immigration. Despite this, the Republicans couldn’t stop themselves from nominating the next guy in line.
From a Rhode Island perspective, two other specifics are worth noting…
- Mike Huckabee has announced that he is not running. Huckabee received about 20% of the vote in the RI Republican primary in 2008, albeit in an election that occurred after McCain was an almost absolute lock for the nomination, and after Romney had conceded. Still, it’s worth asking in what direction Huckabee’s 20% of primary voters will be looking.
- State Representative Doreen Costa is working on bringing possible Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann here to RI for a campaign visit. Could this be the start of a Bachmann boomlet, related to the above item, as Rep. Bachmann pays a visit to the state where the “first blow for freedom” of the American Revolution was struck?
UPDATE (Sunday, May 22)
The Associated Press is reporting that Mitch Daniels sent out an email to supporters last night saying he’s not running.