Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let's Try This 2012 GOP Bracket Again

[Click to Enlarge]

I'm not sure that NPR is going to fix the flaws in their 2012 GOP nomination bracket, so I took the liberty of correcting it. First off, as I said in the comments over at the other post, the seedings weren't matched up properly. The way these things are set up, the top seed is supposed to play the lowest possible seed in the next round assuming there are no upsets. Why should the number one seed have to play the 6-11 winner when the three seed gets the 8-9 winner. If there were no upsets, the top seed plays the six and the three seed plays the eight. Look, politics isn't fair, but if were going to go this route, let's at least do it the right way.

The other issue is a minor point, but one I thought should be addressed. These brackets need names. I'm going with the Reagan and Lincoln brackets.

So, without further ado, my picks in what should be the real NPR 2012 bracket.

In the Reagan bracket:
Palin outduels Steele. DeMint advances against Corker in an SEC showdown. Rob Portman upsets Jeb Bush based on Bush fatigue. Newt takes out Cantor, and Mike Pence narrowly avoids being upset by Jeff Flake because Flake resembles Will Forte who used to do a mean John Edwards on Saturday Night Live. Huckabee dispenses Chuck Hagel and Jon Kyl inches past favored Paul Ryan. Finally, Pawlenty stays silent and lets Tom Tancredo eliminate himself. Hey, save it for the second round.

In round two, Palin edges DeMint in an underrated showdown, Portman's fairy tale journey ends at the sweet sixteen against Gingrich, Huckabee outlasts Pence, and Pawlenty's first round rest pays off against Kyl.

Round three see Gingrich upturn the former vice presidential candidate, and Pawlenty send Huckabee back to the book signing circuit.

And in the Reagan bracket final, Gingrich emerges victorious against the Minnesota governor.

In the Lincoln bracket:
Romney romps over a "before his time" George P. Bush. Hey, he'll turn 36 during primary season (...or after its over, if the calendar remains the same). John Thune takes out Meg Whitman and Mitch Daniels vanquishes Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Charlie Crist puts down yet another Arizonan, John Shadegg. [Is it me, or are there disproportionately too many Arizona Republicans filling out this group of 32?] Haley Barbour uses his insider connections to beat back a strong fight from Ron Paul and meets Mark Sanford who eliminated Rudy. Utah Governor Jon Huntsman bests Jon Ensign in a Battle of the Jons and Bobby Jindal is able to put down a challenge from Alan Keyes.

In the second round, Romney outdoes Thune, Mitch Daniels upsets Charlie Crist, Mark Sanford wins the southern governors showdown and Huntsman surprises Bobby Jindal.

Round three sees Romney crush Daniels and Huntsman keep the upsets going with a defeat of Sanford.

In the Lincoln bracket final Huntsman does the unthinkable and advances to face Gingrich in the finals.

The Finals:
Not bad. A three seed against a seven. Just like my typical basketball brackets, I go for some upsets that aren't likely to happen. I like underdogs. What can I say? [You can say there's no chance this is going to happen.] I've Gingrich winning this one and moving on to face Barack Obama in what would be an interesting general election campaign.

What do you think?

Recent Posts:
Obama's Special Olympics Gaffe: An Interesting Counterfactual

2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Bracket

Obligatory Brackets Post: 2008 Presidential Candidates


Elliot said...

I believe the final matchups would Palin vs. Huckabee and Romney vs. Sanford. Gingrich probably would not get enough following from the base to win against Huckabee. Jindal could beat Crist and would lose to Sanford. I believe Palin beat Huckabee. Romney would edge out against Samford. Depending on the status of economy, if it is good Palin would win, but if it is bad or o.k. Romney would crush Palin.

Palin vs. Obama
Palin would turn off the center, leading to a Obama victory.

Romney vs. Obama (economy is bad)
I find it hard to see Obama winning if the economy is bad.

Romney vs. Obama (economy is o.k)
Romney would have a harder time trying to defeat Obama, but would still win.

Jack said...

Gingrich wins, eh? Let's see, Mr. Putnam is a professor at the University of Georgia. Newt Gingrich is the only candidate from Georgia. Hmm.

As a New Yorker, I guess I'll have to pick Giuliani to go all the way. Hey, if McCain could win the GOP nomination, why not?

Anonymous said...

I resemble that remark. I'm a Tarheel born, a Tarheel bred and when I die, I'll be a Tarheel dead.

These picks are like my basketball picks: biased toward upsets.

Oh, and usually wrong.

But that Romney/Huntsman pairing is an interesting one. One that likely separates these picks and the reality as I see it from three years out. I chose one Mormon over the other because Huntsman brings some interesting, moderate policy innovations to the the table from a state like Utah. As a former chemicals executive he has some roots in both science and business and the guy is fluent in Chinese. There's something there.

In reality though, the GOP will likely lean on the "heir apparent"/"next guy in line" strategy that they have used in presidential nominations for decades. And Romney is that guy. The notable exception is George W. Bush. But other than that Ike to Nixon to Reagan to Bush to Dole to ??? Jack Kemp maybe could have fit in there, but party insiders were already on the W. train by that point.

As I've said, if the calendar remains unchanged, Romney is going to be well-positioned and difficult to beat. But I think that either Sanford or Huntsman emerges as the "successful" darkhorse.

Anonymous said...

I'll play along Josh:

The Lincoln Bracket:

First Round (Des Moines, Iowa):

Palin plays poorly, but manages to defeat a self-destructing Steele in Round 1. Stele's "off the hook" strategy results in forty turnovers due to his team having no clue what that means.

DeMint (who is under-seeded) knocks off a weak Corker squad easily. Lamar Alexander is wondering why he did not get a third invitation.

Yes, there's Bush fatigue, but it's still the Republican Party, and Bush knocks off Portman when working for Bush is no substitute for being named Bush.

Old Newt holds off New Newt in overtime when New Newt is unable to cope with the hostile crowd after neither team is willing to pay for the lights to be turned on for the extra session.

Tancredo loses by 40.

Huckabee easily dispatches Hagel, who is wondering why he's even in this after accepting an invitation to the Nebraska Invitational Tournament.

In a battle of strong conservatives, the Senator defeats the Representative when Ryan's game-plan gets a line-item veto from Commissioner Rush.

Pence uses his connections to get the refs to call numerous 3-second fouls on Flake for spending too much time on Privileged Resolutions. The points from the technical foul free-throws are the difference in the game.

2nd Round (Charleston, South Carolina):

DeMint upsets a disorganized and overrated Palin squad. Palin is unable to adapt when she runs against an opponent more conservative than her for the first time all season.

Newt and Bush play an epic overtime thriller, won by Newt after Team Bush tries to call a third timeout they do not have.

Huckabee uses his tournament experience to beat a young Pence squad, who fails to counter Huckabee's Evangelical advantage.

Kyl finds the energy a ideologically similar Fred Thompson never had and knocks off Palenty (really, a guy who's never gotten more than 47% in a state-wide election got a #2 Seed? Really?)

Regional Semis (Detroit)

DeMint surges past an ideologically-spent Newt squad. Newt's decision to combat DeMint's press by impeaching Bill Clinton is called into question in the post-game press conference.

Huckabee is nowhere near as nice to Kyl as he was to McCain, constantly using backdoor cuts to voter's houses to confuse Kyl's face-guarding style and secure a win.

Regional Finals (Chicago)

Finally, Huckabee uses his charm to escape DeMint's full-court conservative press in a classic battle of styles to get to the Finals. DeMint's aggressive defense gets him into foul trouble, and Huckabee dominates from the line in a close win.

The Reagan Bracket

1st Round (Manchester, New Hampshire)

Romney takes care of buisness in a standard 16-1 mismatch (Honestly, what league did George P. win to get in the Tourney?)

Thune's thrashing of the pro-choice Whitman makes the public second-guess the selection committee's decision to give Meg an at-large bid.

Mitch Daniels gets an unexpected test from Sam Brownback, but advances when Brownback's supporters leave because they decided to honor a one-half term limit pledge.

John Shadegg pulls off a major upset on Charlie Crist when conservatives decide to turn on any not anti-Obama candidate.

Haley Barbor neutralizes Ron Paul's money advantage and works the refs to a easy win. Paul's decision to put his bench in a Blimp proves a tactical mistake, as it takes hours for him to make substitutions.

Rudy Giuliani decides to skip his match-up with Mark Sanford and campaign in Florida instead.

Ensign and Huntsman (both under-seeded) play to a high-scoring game, where Ensign uses Huntsman's support of civil unions to advance.

Alan Keyes loses by 60.

2nd Round (Miami)

Thune and Romney play a thriller, but Mitt makes his free-throws down the stretch to survive after Thune is called for fouling Romney by referring to Mitt as a "social liberal."

Mitch Daniels ends Shadegg's run with a conservative, deliberate style that neutralizes the zone-trap defense of the Arizona Congressman.

Haley Barbour mixes up his style and upsets Sanford, using the trap to force the isolation offense of Sanford into numerous turnovers. Sanford refuses to shoot threes in his comeback attempt, believing they are a bailout of an inability to make 2-point shots.

Jindal's squad is well rested and eventually wears down Ensign's tired team in the final minutes. Ensign's bench, consisting of all the Republicans Challengers he helped lead to victory as head of the RSCC in 2008, proves non-existent.

Regional Semis (Boston)

Romney defeats Daniels in a defensive struggle. With neither team willing to push the pace (Romney because of his weaknesses on social issues, Daniels because that's just how he campaigns), the game devolves into a Princeton-Harvard 50-48 slugfest.

In his second match-up with a fellow Southern Governor, Barbour again attempts to use his experience to frustrate a talented but young squad. However, Team Jindal, no stranger to the physical style Barbour uses (as it is common in the Louisiana Conference), is able to emerge with a solid victory.

Regional Final (Los Angeles)

Romney is able to dispatch Jindal in a non-competitive Regional Final, as Romney's talented and experienced squad shows the world that Jindal's team is a year (or election) too early.

Republican National Championship (Indianapolis, hosted by Electoral College)

Huckabee's unorthodox "nice-guy" style frustrates Romney's squad and takes a lead into the break. In the second half, Romney's financial advantage wears down the Arkansan, and takes a late lead. However, reverting to his "Miracles, not Math" game-plan, Huckabee's threes start falling, and after Romney misses some free-throws, a last-second banked in three from the south corner (yes, a banked-in corner three. No math can explain that) by Team Huck forces overtime. A shell-shocked Romney squad, thinking the nomination was already theirs, falls apart, and Huckabee wins the Title.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to preemptively boo myself here. But I can't resist such a set up.

"What league did George P. Bush win to get in the Tourney?"

The Bush League.

Anonymous said...


You're welcome. I originally typed "What Conference..." but changed it to 'League' to set someone up for that line.

And, by the way, Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Jack said...

Okay, I'll stop there, as I don't want to be banned from this blog. North Carolina is a very fine state indeed.

My picks (I'm basing them on who would win individual matchups, not who would win the most votes if all 32 candidates ran):

1st Round: In the Reagan bracket: Palin, DeMint, J. Bush, Cantor (as I said, just for the sake of an upset), Pence, Huck, Ryan, Pawlenty. In the Lincoln Bracket: Romney, Whitman, Daniels, Crist, Barbour, Sanford, Huntsman, Jindal (yes, the GOP has moved right, but it's not nominating Alan Keyes).

2nd Round: Reagan: Palin beats DeMint, Cantor beats Bush, Huck over Pence, Pawlenty over Ryan. Lincoln: Romney beats Whitman, Crist over Daniels, Sanford over Barbour, Jindal beats Huntsman (I'm particularly hedging on this one).

3rd Round: Palin over Cantor, Pawlenty beats Huckabee. The moderate Crist somehowe upsets Romney, Sanford beats Jindal.

4th Round: Pawlenty over Palin, and, again, somehow Crist upsets Sanford.

Final: As Pawlenty is from Minnesota and Crist is from Florida, the final is mired in a recount that is never resolved. In a scene reminiscent of the 1924 Democratic National Convention , after a long deadlock, Palin's supporters throw themselves behind fellow Alaskan Ted Stevens, who wins the nomination.