Who is running for president in 2012?

Published 10:25 am Friday, June 3, 2011

The Republican presidential field for the 2012 election seems to be settling in with a large field of choices. Will one of these good patriots win the White House in 2012, defeating President Barack Obama?


The economy is far from good; jobs remain scarce and the housing market is attaining new lows. These are the pocketbook issues that voters express their dissatisfaction with when they vote.

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The debt and deficit are, at this writing, getting small resolution and great concern.

These are all indicators that change could be possible at the White House. But who among the Republican candidates offers the best chance at victory?

Mitt Romney is considered a leading candidate. A proven fundraiser who raised a million dollars in a single day in Las Vegas, and an ex governor who pushed through one of the best state health care programs in the nation, Romney could win it all.

Tim Pawlenty, another ex-governor, has cost cutting domestic credentials, solid success and a serious approach to the environment.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. is ex-governor of Utah, ex-U.S. Ambassador to China and advocates responsible debate between political parties.

Newt Gingrich has some 30 years of political experience and a willingness to be so candid it sometimes catches people off guard.

Other candidates declared and near declaration include Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum.

There is little doubt that this group should give Republican primary voters a broad array of choices in style and delivery during the primaries. But in terms of content…that is another matter entirely.

Republicans seem completely intolerant of any variation in content this political season, limiting how these candidates may propose solutions to our current problems.

For example, criticizing the Paul Ryan budget is not really possible today as Newt Gingrich discovered a few weeks ago.

Though the Ryan plan may hurt Republicans at the polls badly with its Medicare solutions, apparently all Republicans must embrace the plan if running for president.

All Republicans must also hate the Affordable Care Act; And Romney in particular must apologize for his successful health care plan as governor of Massachusetts because it looks too similar to the plan adopted last year by Democrats.

All Republicans must dislike “Cap and Trade” energy policies, though many advocated them before, because President Obama favors this solution.

In particular, Governor Pawlenty must apologize for his outspoken support for cap and trade before it became terrible.

And Governor Huntsman must explain why he worked for a Democratic administration in an age where refusing to negotiate is viewed as a Republican strength.

So we will hear almost exactly the same policy prescriptions from these Republican candidates this year, leaving the style and delivery as what to watch for in the successful candidate.

The Republican nominee will face a well-funded sitting president, but will have Republican governors in several key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida.

But will these Republican governors help or hurt the nominee? All four are below 50 percent in popularity ratings, with Florida Gov. Scott holding the bottom with a 32 percent support rating from a recent Public Policy Polling organization.

Gov. Kasich earned 38 percent support in a recent Quinnipiac poll; Walker, in Wisconsin, is standing at 43 percent; and Christie is at 44 percent support.

It could be a year where Republicans have a real shot at the presidency … unless they shoot themselves in the face … pardon me, the foot, by rigid adherence to party lines and unpopular governors harming the chances of the eventual nominee.

Jim Crawford is retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.