Monday, November 09, 2009

The GOP may have a race of three

If you listen to the mainstream media, the race for the GOP nomination is pretty much a dead heat between three candidates: former governors Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. No one else needs to apply. Most would argue that John McCain was too old and certainly too moderate in 2008. Nothing has changed since then and, according to the pundits, these three are the only ones with the name identification, revenue sources, and organization to be taken seriously. Thanks to the media, they have done the vetting for us. Thank goodness, because I certainly did not want to do any of the heavy lifting.

Seriously though, is the race already history? Do we need to not get behind a candidate but simply wait for one of these three to rise to the top? I have seen several articles on the subject and although there are some times additional candidates are thrown in, the reoccurring theme includes these three candidates. Of the articles, one of the most interesting was by Paul Bedard in Washington Whispers from US News & World Reports.

Bedard recognizes there are other players in consideration for 2012, including one or two that are not on his top three lists and he already places them in the "also ran" department. These include Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He points out that the Republican Party is not much for surprises and is big on those who have paid their dues being rewarded, noting that "In a party that allows for only a handful of big names in the primaries and favors those making a second try, the room is getting full." But this is not just the opinion of a journalist, but even among professional observers of the Party. GOP pollster Bill McInturff stated that "We already have a relatively mature field." Those that are considered most "mature" or established" include Palin, Huckabee, or Romney.

"I always talk about oxygen in a presidential primary race, with the amount of oxygen being finite, meaning attention and coverage," McInturff is quoted by Bedard. "If Governor Palin does run, it is difficult to imagine how a new candidate gets the oxygen needed for a breakout," he says. "In this way, it accrues to the advantage of already established candidates like Palin, Huckabee, and Romney."

The race is certainly not over, but the GOP is extremely cautious in its choices of candidates. I think the writer hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that "the Republican camp generally likes to nominate somebody who has run before." Call it what it is, but this is good old fashion due diligence, which is the type of approach that is common in the Republican Party. I think many, if not most, Democrats wish they had done a little more homework in its choice of a President in 2008.

The one thing that is not being included in this "conventional wisdom" is the role of the Tea Parties, which are maturing and demanding more on a daily basis. The "good old boy" network and the "get along gang" are not nearly as popular as they use to be. Of the three candidates considered in the top three, Palin is certainly the most interesting to those who consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement. I, personally, am keeping an eye on Governors Daniel and Barbour as well as her. I think the Tea Party could change all of the rules on Presidential politics and 2012 could be an interesting year indeed.
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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