No, We Are Not Sunk In 2012

Jeb Golinkin recently wrote a piece at The Frum Forum that inspired a Hot Air Headline News writer (Allahpundit?) to snark, “We’re pretty much sunk in 2012”. Sounds pretty Eeyorish to me. We are NOT sunk, but we the people do need to make it perfectly clear to the party establishment, that  fresh faces, with unapologetic conservative principles, are the order of the day. And there are some great conservatives out there who fit the bill.

But before I get to that, here’s Jeb’s take on The GOP’s Lackluster 2012 Field, much of which I agree with:

Newt Gingrich: Gingrich is too old, too polarizing, and too Washington to have a fighting chance at winning the presidency. (agreed).

Sarah Palin: 55% of Americans view her unfavorably. That’s pretty much game over, but even if it wasn’t, the fact that the number holds among independents (55% of them view her unfavorably and 40% of that group said they view her in a “strongly unfavorable” light) also would be a knockout. 41% of all polled view her as strongly unfavorable. In short, that means she can write off 40% of the electorate before the race even starts. Her chances of beating Barack Obama are slim. (agreed).

Mitt Romney: Deemed the “frontrunner” by many, Romney would get destroyed in a general election. Flip-flop.  Flip-flop.  Flip-flop. The label destroyed John Kerry, and Romney’s propensity to change his mind makes Kerry’s switches look tame to the point of irrelevance. And did I mention that Obamacare looks like Romneycare on steroids? No chance. (agreed).

Mike Huckabee: Christians heart Huckabee. Independents do not. Next. (agreed).

Gary Johnson: Who is Gary Johnson? (Don’t agree –  Who was Barack Obama in 2006?)

Rick Santorum: Staunch social conservatives need not apply for the presidency. Santorum tried to mandate the teaching of intelligent design nationwide in 2001. Not a single Latino in America is going to vote for this guy. Neither are independents, moderate Democrats or a lot of moderate Republicans. If he is lucky and Obama does a lot of things very, very wrong between now and 2012, Santorum might… just might lose 65-35 to Obama. (partially agreed…I think staunch social conservatives can and should run for the Presidency, but I do agree that Santorum may be unelectable).

Ron Paul: The man is a fringe lunatic. The answer is no. (agreed).

Mike Pence: Who is Mike Pence?  (Don’t agree – see Gary Johnson, above).

Tim Pawlenty: The only candidate of the batch that I am not 100% confident would get absolutely mauled by Barack Obama in 2012. A smart, competent, seemingly likeable candidate. Relatively moderate. But he is from Minnesota and not really popular there anymore. In March, a poll of 500 Minnesotans pegged his approval at 42%. If his own voters don’t like him, it will be hard for him to beat an incumbent in a general election for the presidency. (Don’t agree – I’m not excited by moderates).

I heartily disagree with the notion that unless a candidate has high name recognition with the electorate, he’s unelectable. Who knew who Barack Obama was in 2006? Who knew who Bill Clinton was in 1999 1989? Who knew who the peanut farmer was in 1974?

Mike Pence would be an especially strong candidate, being a leader in the House, and a strong speaker with impeccable conservative credentials. You can listen to his SRLC barnburner here. And here he is answering questions last Friday in the SRLC media room. Pence is very good at making himself accessible to the media.

The former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson has a bigger challenge ahead of him, because getting his name out there is a bit more difficult a proposition for someone who no longer holds office, but with the right combination of message, charisma, and dumb luck, it’s doable. There’s no doubt in my mind that Mr. Johnson has  the right message.

There is a “dark horse” candidate (his words) who hinted that he may be running in 2012:

You can watch the full video at The Other McCain, and I recommend you do. Cain was one of the best speakers at the SRLC –  a charismatic and commanding  presence at podium, and his message is pure, unadulterated conservatism.

I asked Herman Cain, when I had the chance, if he was serious about what he had said there, and he told me that “he was just throwing it out there” as a possibility, so yeah, I’d say he’s definitely mulling it over, and perhaps with enough encouragement, he’ll throw his hat into the ring.

There is another fresh face out there – the young, appealing and wonkish Congressman from WI, Paul Ryan,who already has three Facebook pages urging him to run in 2012; the biggest one, here. He may not be considering a run, yet, but I know a lot of people who would love for him to.

So, it’s a little early to get all Eeyorish about our chances in 2012. I think the tea party movement has done a great job of  steering the party back to it’s conservative principles.  RINOs and Dinosaurs with too much baggage do not get people excited. Pure blooded, articulate, and unapologetic  conservatives, do.

The RNC would do well to read the tea leaves.

UPDATE:

Commenters weigh in:

Mr. Right mentions a few more good prospects: NC Senator  Jim DeMint (another solid conservative), SD Senator John Thune and General David Petraeus.

I’m not sure about Petraeus…while I’m sure he would be great on National Security issues, I have no idea what his views are where it comes to domestic issues. Have we forgotten about Colin Powell, already?

I’m Mom mentions the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who I like also, but I think he may be a bit too polarizing a figure for POTUS.

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