GOP ’12 Top Ten: Ides of March

Contributed by Shell Suber

‘Beware the Ides of March’ warns Shakespeare’s soothsayer in Julius Caesar. Two millennia and fifty-five years later, the oracle extends that warning to those giving thought to the Republican Party’s nomination in 2012: If you are running, you can wait no longer… er, but don’t be first.

My March version of GOP ’12 Top 10 features a lot of turn-over indicating this campaign may finally be underway.

(#) = Previous rank

1. Mike Huckabee (2) – Recent polls have the affable, TV-friendly reverend slightly ahead of Romney with likely GOP voters. But will our new #1 even run?

2. Mitt Romney (1) – Still has the cash and the caché, but polls of likely GOP voters seem to indicate his greatest strength was that he was seen as the frontrunner… not the enthusiasm that carries the day. Just ask Bob Dole, John Kerry, Walter Mondale, etc. Drops to #2, which might be a better spot come to think of it. 

3. Newt Gingrich (6) – The closest thing to a fully announced candidate because he announced a new website that says he’s not a candidate right in the web address. Sheesh. But it’s enough to move the beloved conservative warrior of the ’90s into the Top 3.

4. Rick Santorum (7) – Because, well, he’s been on TV a lot. A whole lot.

5. Haley Barbour (4) – Still the insider’s insider. Barbour has more friends in the GOP than anyone and he is, in form and substance, the very opposite of Obama. Drops a spot only to make room for the ubiquitous Santorum and because he has not yet decided to run.

6. Mitch Daniels (Maybe) – From the minors to the bigs on the strength of glowing reviews from pundits. PS – I never really noticed it before Meet The Press on Mar. 13, but if you close your eyes, his accent is a freakishly identical to fellow Hoosier Dan Quayle.

7. Michele Bachmann (Maybe) – What a roller coaster this one has been on. Had I bothered to update my list on March 1 as planned, she would have been top 4 or better. But she lost her “Sarah Palin With A Brain” title when she failed her 5th grade history quiz in NH last week. Lucky to be this high, frankly. Back to the minors, kiddo.

8. Jon Huntsman (Who?) – Newly freed from his prison in Beijing, the former Ambassador to China and all-around smart cookie is on everybody’s radar now.

9. Donald Trump (Snicker) – The Donald’s candidacy seems slightly less of a joke than a month ago. Slightly.

10. Jim DeMint (Wildcard) – This rumor just won’t go away and now it’s interfering with the Palmetto State plans of other candidates. If the Godfather of the Tea Party runs, others may concede SC and focus on Florida which would change the dynamic of this race entirely.

The Maybes…

Sarah Palin (4) – Wow. Once the most talked about of potential candidates, Hurricane Sarah has been downgraded to thunderstorm. Best she can hope for now is to try to be a kingmaker or, more likely, spoiler. The good news? She still has books and TV shows, which is more than her one-time understudy Bachmann can say.

Tim Pawlenty (8) – One personality away from being in contention. Maybe I’m being too hard on him by not including him in my Top 10 but seriously, I am starting to wonder if “Is-Boring” is really his last name.

Chris Christie (Maybe) – Still out there… tempting everyone with those 15 juicy blue-state electoral votes.

John Thune (5) – Awfully quite. Like 2016 quiet.

Rudy Giuliani (9) – Fading off everyone’s list.

Bobby Jindal (10) – Once a short-lister, hardly any mention of his name nowadays.

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2 Comments to “GOP ’12 Top Ten: Ides of March”

  1. I noticed the same thing about Daniels’ accent! Good call on Huntsman.

  2. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I never thought of folks from Indiana having “an accent” and don’t remember thinking Quayle had one but when I heard Daniels it was freaky. Maybe it’s also inflections and mannerisms.

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