OK I've received 13 responses and they confirm my suspicions...they are remarkably all over the place, as follows:
Pawlenty 3 1/3 (someone split their vote 3 ways)
Christie 1 1/3 (new Gov of New Jersey)
Bloomberg 1 (NYC Mayor)
Bush, Jeb 1
Daniels 1/3 (Indiana Governor)
No selections of any of Paul, Barbour, Giuliani, Jindal or Gingrich.
OK so what does this mean? Here are some random thoughts.
First of all, the conservatives, and basically in 2012 that means the Tea Party, will control the primaries. That is bad news for Pawlenty and Romney. Pawlenty is mild (and the Tea Party already has one of those, Huckabee) and fairly conventional. Romney will never live down his era as Massachusetts governor, where he enacted a health care plan remarkably similar to Obama's.
Mike Bloomberg will not win the primaries for the same general reason, but he would be an absolutely formidable Indepdendent 3rd party candidate if he so chose. He has the money, a down the middle track record and a strong record as Mayor of NYC.
Palin...she will never win the Presidency, but she might pull off the nomination. That would be a fight to the death within the Republican party. She did not help herself in this Election, with many of her candidates losing. And, of course, almost everyone knows she's nuts. Could she really win New Hampshire?
Huckabee is probably the realistic favorite now. He has Palin's Tea Party credentials, has the name recognition and will do great in Iowa
Chris Christie is an interesting dark horse. He has gotten off to a good start in Jersey ("facing down the teacher's union") and is kind of a rumpled lovable every man (and huge Springsteen fan, been to over 100 concerts, makes me look like a casual fan).
Petraeus is this generation's Eisenhower (and Powell). He is a registered Reublican, but I doubt he'll run. He has a big job now and quitting it to campaign would look terrible, especially since Obama is his boss. But he will certainly get into a big (private, but leaked) fight with Obama this summer about Obama's deadline for winding down Afghanistan. Perhps he resigns over that. Keep an eye on him. I think he'd be a favorite if somehow he ran.
Mitch Daniels is the Governor of Indiana and quite unknown at this point. But it's early. Ditto Haley Barbour of Mississippi...but he was once the Chariman of the Republican Party so people owe him favors all over the country.
Gingrich has good Tea Party credentials but is hardly an outsider.
The two Pauls are both nutty, but Rand will play a huge role in the kingmaking.
Which brings me to MY selection, which is a mindblower.....JEB BUSH!. This guy has great conservative credentials, is no longer a sitting Governor, can obviously win Florida, a huge Presidential state. The name recognition is big, and his brother is mounting a mini-comeback. Scariest of all, he actually is very smart and capable....he's who George 41 and Barbara always assumed would be President someday! And he still might!
I welcome any reactions!
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