Saturday, April 23, 2011

Race for the White House 2012

There was not much in the way of huge Presidential campaign news on this week of Passover and Easter.

On April 21, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson did become the first somewhat prominent figure to formally deliver an announcement speech, which he did in New Hampshire. Apparently, the pot smoking libertarian Republican was otherwise engaged on 4/20. Along the same wing of the party, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has now opened up a campaign account in preparation for a likely 2012 bid.

Barack Obama's poll numbers continue to lag and he continues to look vulnerable to Republican Mitt Romney in national and state polls, but it may be a long time, if ever, before the President is formally considered an underdog for reelection. If he has any chance at all though, he better hope that gas prices go down substantially in a hurry.

In the meantime, Donald Trump and the "bither" issue continue to generate much attention on cable television and in the internet. With each passing week, more people seem to be convinced that Trump is truly serious about running, but of course, I have my doubts. If he were to run, he could expect the Republican establishment to stop at nothing in order to quell his candidacy quickly. For his part, Trump is now on the record in saying that he would only run for President as an Independent if he was convinced he could win, and would not want to play a part in splitting the GOP vote to the benefit of Democrats.

As we move deeper into the spring, I will be paying close attention to whether or not Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour looks like a candidate. At one point, he looked certain to test the GOP waters, but there are increasing indications that he and his family may not be ready to take the plunge after all. If Barbour does not run, that could leave a big opening for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who would be popular with many establishment GOP types. If neither run, that support and money may come down to Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

Also, while he has not formally ruled anything out, few expect former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who four years ago at this time appeared to be the 2008 GOP frontrunner to win. There were statements made this week, which do not come as a big surprise, that former New York Governor George Pataki does not intend to seek the White House.

Finally, the PAC website of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin received a makeover this week, leading to much speculation that she is perhaps leaning towards entering the fray. Her Tax Day speech in Wisconsin was well-received. However, based on recent national and state polls, could it be that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has already surpassed her?