At times it seems we are more interested in who is going to be president, as opposed to who is president. It’s generally easier to craft into an enticing storyline by pitting oversimplified stereotypes against each other and manufacturing a horserace that rivals the Triple Crown. Except from now it will take 3 years for us to hear “…and down the stretch they come!”
Nonetheless, Gallup (pure equestrian coincidence) is on the case, supplying the early odds we need to fill out our betting cards for the Republican primary race at OTB, Off-Track Balloting. A handful of these would-be nominees have hurt their chances worse than Barbaro did out the front gate of the Preakness. (Rest in peace you classy Colt.)
Mark Sanford, international man of adultery, is dead in the water, joining domestic adulterer Senator (hey, how’d a Senator get in there?) John Ensign of Nevada who was outed for having an affair with a top staffer’s wife. Well, what is there to say? At least he didn’t outsource it? Or, he’s not as boring as Harry Reid?
Bobby Jindal is just plain out based on his peculiar speech after Obama’s remarks to the joint session of Congress. If only he really was Kenneth from 30 Rock, perhaps he wouldn’t be statistically insignificant. There’s an outside chance of a comeback for him before 2016.
Those three didn’t even register in the poll results, or were omitted altogether.
Who did register? Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, with a blip. Hard to see him catapult to the top, especially by saying things like, “The greatest energy challenge facing Mississippi is the federal government.” Then again these are GOP primary voters we are talking about.
Minnesota Governor and master of ceremonies for Senatorial recounts Tim Pawlenty was half a blip above Barbour. Like Joe Sestak, he suffers from name recognition issues, but is well regarded by those who are familiar him.
That leaves us with the household names.
Newt Gingrich (to be played by a dramatic turning Patton Oswalt in the forthcoming biopic) gets in at 14%. He’s flirted with running forever. Him running feels like Bob Dole in 1996, a primordial congressional has-been who is formidable in the chamber but can’t hold his own (especially against a charismatic young thing like Chicago Hope) on the trail.
Mike Huckabee’s next. Perhaps having a show on Fox News helped, hence the 19% he clocks in at. Having heard about him early on, I predicted he would win Iowa in 2008. He ran an impressive campaign and his demeanor and charm were refreshing. However, he did take the edge off by chewing out some of his competitors in a book after the race.
Sarah Palin is 2 points up on the Huckster right now. And this poll comes after the resignation news broke. We don’t know if she (or any of the gentlemen) will run, but astonishingly Palin has a 72% favorable rating among Republicans. Not even Tom Hanks has that high of an approval rating!
And then there is the invisible frontrunner, Mitt Romney, with 26%. Can you recall hearing anything of note about him this year? Nope, you can’t, because he has kept a low profile. It seems he is deliberately letting everyone else hog the mic, forget about him, and then be pleasantly reminded down the road of his great haircut and credible campaign last time around. So far, this is serving him well.
(Caution: at the rate likely GOP candidates are falling, we’re likely to hear that Romney hasn’t cheated on his wife, but is rather in some Big Love-inspired sect.)
Who else will come out of the woodwork? Smooth-talking Florida governor Charlie Crist? If only he spelled his last name with an “H” the nomination would be his. So while it’s uber-soon, with so many tarnished choices already, early money is on the Stormin’ Mormon.