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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Usual Suspects

So I've been looking at some of the polls out, showing the Republican front runners for 2012.  Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giulliani.  Apparently Republicans didn't quite grasp to 2010 elections either.  We know the Crats didn't.  

I'm sorry, didn't we try these clowns against Obama in 08? I've got it, let's have McCain and Bush 41 give it a whirl!

Although Obama has shown his true colors, it doesn't change the fact that he is still popular in his party, and it is historically very difficult to beat an incumbent (see: W).  You have to really suck (see: Carter) to lose your second election.

Truth is the Republicans have a crop of fantastic young governors that would serve as fantastic presidential candidates.  And the above candidates all have some stigmas that will be difficult to get past.  Plus, more importantly, I don't really like any of them.

Take a look at the following two candidates, who I think have the best chance at beating Obumbles.  Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty.  

Haley Barbour is the face of recovery in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina.  Lost in all the New Orleans focus was the devastation Mississippi experienced:  

-231 dead

-tens of thousands homeless

-billions lost due to physical damages/repairs

Yet Barbour did something amazing. From 2003-2006, Barbour took a $709 million budget deficit, and turned in into a balanced budget.  In 4 years.  And he did it by following strict conservative fiscal policy:  Cuts in medicaid spending, tort reform, no tax increases.  He did this all while facing hurricane Katrina, and in a predominantly Democratic state congress.  

In fact, the biggest criticism Barbour faces is his history as a lobbyist.  Seems to me that his experience as a lobbyist actually proved to be a strength as he balanced a budget and worked with the Crats to fix their fiscal irresponsibility.  

As a microcosm of the nation as a whole, Barbour has successfully implemented many of the things this country wants - bipartisanship, balanced budgets, increasing health coverage, no new taxes.  If he can rise from obscurity to prominence in two years, I think he is the best candidate moving forward.  And Mississippi agrees - he has a 70% approval rating there.

Tim Pawlenty has a distinct advantage over Barbour - he was listed as one of the top choices for McCain's running mate in 08.  The fact that he wasn't chosen for an inevitable losing ballot may also work to his favor.  But anyone would look good if you succeeded Jesse "The Body" Ventura, right?  Boy Minnesota seems to pick some screwy people to represent them…

Like Barbour, Pawlenty erased a deficit. Pawlenty's was considerably higher at $4.3 billion, and also did it without raising taxes. 

Pawlenty has two main strengths that could serve him very well if he can get past the primaries. First off, he's very solid in every way. He knows what he believes in, he stands up for it (politely but very firmly) and he does not budge from his stands very often. While he's not particularly charismatic, these traits make him very electable next to Mr. Obama - he tends to come across, to anyone who listens to him for more than a sound bite, as, first and foremost, competent.

Pawlenty has two problems.  He is unwilling to compromise in an era where most Americans wish both sides will (Republicans are outnumbered 47 to 87 in state Legislature, and he's vetoed everything the Crats put forth).  The other problem, he's perceived as a wimp.  Maybe it's because there are so many temperate minded Nordic people in Minnesota that he's never had to throw down the gavel.  He himself is always temperate minded, but he also never ignites a room.  People leave his interviews tending to just agree with him.  Given how much of a miserable failure Obama has been, this may not be such a bad thing.

So what do you guys think?

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