Friday, June 26, 2009

GOP Governors in the White House?

Here's an interesting topic for discussion on a Friday: What's the likelihood that any of the 22 Republican governors ever reaches the White House? Ken Rudin handicaps the odds over at NPR's Political Junkie. Let me add my take. Now that Mark Sanford has voluntarily/involuntarily withdrawn his name from 2012 consideration (and who's to say a future comeback isn't possible?), the line between those who realitically have a shot and those who don't can currently be drawn just after Rick Perry. And if that is the case, what can we make of the ordering of those top 8?

The common thread among this group (with maybe the exception of Rick Perry) is that all have been mentioned in one way, shape or form in connection with the race for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. [Of course, there is at least one person out there who sees Sanford's loss as Perry's gain in regard to 2012.] The order of that top eight, then, would be dependent upon who throws their hat in the ring in 2012 and by their subsequent performances in the primaries and caucuses to follow. Pawlenty, Palin, Jindal, Crist and Perry can't all be rising stars in terms of the presidency. Each affects the other if they all enter the race. How each finishes, then, essentially handicaps any future race for the nomination. And that affects the likelihood that those on the bottom half of the order reprise their nomination run.

Let's illustrate this with some examples. Both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee helped themselves for future runs by doing "well" in the 2008 nomination race. No one, for instance, is talking about Fred or Tommy Thompson or Sam Brownback running again in the future. [You could make the argument that Brownback is running for governor in Kansas as a means of positioning himself for another run at the presidency down the road. I'll grant you that. However, would he cut a second term as the Sunflower state's chief executive in 2016 to run or would he wait out a prospective second term and run in 2020 when he'll be 67? At least his 2008 run will be a distant memory by then.] In 2008 John Edwards was helped in a way similar to that of Romney and Huckabee because of his performance in the 2004 Democratic primaries and resultant VP nomination. Meanwhile, Bob Graham essentially wrote his own obituary for national office when his candidacy didn't take off.

The lesson is that, well, "this town ain't big enough for the [lot] of us." If all of those eight enter (and they won't) there will be winners and losers in terms of future presidential prospects.

Of course, the odds of making it to the White House on anything other than a tour stop are pretty long anyway.

Recent Posts:
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Jack said...

Perry's another one of those guys, like Sanford, who I can't see winning a general election. I see three major strikes against him: first, the secession thing, second, his rather extreme fiscal conservatism (compared to most Americans) and general outlook which play well in Texas and Kansas but not in suburbia, and third, the "I agree with everything John Hagee said incident" (yes, others have attended sermons where such comments have been made, but Perry did exactly the opposite of what a guy trying to appeal to mainstream America should do). And he's getting challenged in a primary within his own home state of Texas — not a good sign for his chance to win the presidential primary, much less the general election.

Josh Putnam said...

I tend to agree. I haven't, to this point, considered Perry very seriously, but he does occupy a very similar issue space to Sanford in terms of his fiscal conservatism. The GOP has two basic routes for 2012 if Obama is popular: move to the middle or draw a line in the sand (Goldwater style). Perry is a "line in the sand" candidate. Would that be political suicide for the party, though? Perhaps.

If Obama is unpopular, the GOP can nominate pretty much anyone. [Well, not anyone, but you catch my drift.] In that scenario, they'd go with the best athlete available. [I followed too much of the NBA draft last night. Can you tell?] And I don't think Perry fits the bill in that sense.

Robert said...

I can only see Pawlenty, Daniels, Jindal and Palin as realistic choices for Republicans. Huntsman has removed himself by joining the Obama administration. Crist is a flaming moderate with no place as a national candidate. Barbour is more of a kingmaker than a candidate.Perry has too much baggage. Palin and Daniels are the only two I see who can hang with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich.

Josh Putnam said...

But what about beyond 2012?

Robert said...

If the next-in-line concept is true, then whoever runs in second or third is the one who can come back in 2016 or 2020. If they do poorly, they are the toast -- the Lamar Alexanders or Fred Thompsons etc.