2012 GOP Dark Horses
by Charles Lemos, Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 11:47:44 PM EST
In a piece by David Renmick in the New Yorker there's an interesting quote by David Plouffe, the Obama Campaign manager, about perhaps a dark horse candidate emerging to win the GOP Presidential nomination. Mr. Plouffe suggests that "we ought to learn from the Obama experience that someone can come out, not someone you've never heard of but someone who you just didn't think would run for President."
Clearly, the front-runners are the runners up from 2008 - Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - and the all but announced Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. But who might emerge à la Obama on the GOP side for 2012?
Here are some thoughts in no particular order:
Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana. He represents the Sixth Congressional District. Current House GOP Conference Chair. Bills himself as "Christian, Conservative, Republican, in that order." Negatives for the GOP base: Seen as lenient on immigration.
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico. Johnson, who was governor from 1995 to 2003, is releasing a book entitled Seven Principles Of Good Government that will be published by The Heartland Institute, a conservative-libertarian think tank. He's also launching a political action committee called Our America PAC to promote his libertarian, small-government ideas. He's was popular and he connects with the under 30 crowd. Negatives for the GOP base: He's a Ron Paul libertarian. Thinks the war of drugs is a failure. He's pro-choice.
Senator John Thune from South Dakota. Best known for being the man who ousted Tom Daschle. David Brooks recently described him as a "down-the-line conservative on social, economic and foreign policy matters" and "conservative at the roots but pragmatic at the surface." Negative for the GOP base: Endorsed by David Brooks.
Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana. A populist conservative who worked in the Bush OMB before returning to run for governor. Re-elected in 2008 by a large margin even as Obama carried the Hoosier state. Daniels won the under 24 vote by a whopping 38 points. Negatives for the GOP Base: Ties to the Bush White House and their budgets.
Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Running for re-election but first has to get past a primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Has tacked right and embraced the Tea Party set. One of the most critical voices of President Obama in the GOP today and on the front lines of the sovereignty movement. Negatives for the GOP Base: Seen as an opportunist with no real convictions.