Despite the fact that President Obama has some very weak polling numbers, the Republicans, less than a year out from the Presidential Primaries, do not have people out their working for the nomination to challenge the President of the United States for re-election. It is odd. That said, VUI offers the TOP 9 GOP Presidential contenders on our mind right now. We offer it with the consideration that in such fluid times someone out of nowhere could come along. But, right now, if we had to call a Top 9, here they are:
9) Haley Barbour- Barbour is the current Governor of Mississippi. As Governor, Barbour was the lone star and good official during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, showing that the man can get things done. Further, Barbour has experience as a lobbyist and former GOP Chairman, so he knows were the political bodies are buried, but can he overcome his Southern twang and awe shucks persona?
8) Tim Pawlenty- Pawlenty is the former governor of Minnesota. He served two terms as Governor of a heavily Democratic state and has strong Midwest appeal, which will help in Iowa. Pawlenty is also removed from the some of the more controversial GOP governors of today, but he lacks the foreign policy experience. He will have to go "to school" on such things and surround himself with heavyweights to be considered seriously.
7) Jim DeMint- Though Senator DeMint tells folks he is not interested in running for President, the Tea Party and the the right wing element of the GOP would love for him to run. Like DeMint or not, he is crystal clear on where he stands on domestic and foreign issues, and in a short and crowded primary, if he gets in, that could be the difference.
6) Sarah Palin-- There is so much not to like about Palin, like her quitting her job as Governor of Alaska. But, Palin has celebrity status that rivals President Obama. While she might not be the most articulate person to espouse the Republican position, the tv host and best selling author might have the status to be a contender.
5) Mike Hucabee-- The former Arkansas Governor gave it a great run in 2008 and has found a niche as a host on Fox News that might give him a celebrity boost. Christian conservatives love Huckabee. But, he has alienated the Howard Rich big money in the GOP and that might kill his chances within the party. That said, if you had to leave your children to stay in the care of anyone, it would be Huckabee and his wife. If being good people matters, watch out.
4) Newt Gingrich-- The former House Speaker is today's William F. Buckley. Gingrich is the intellectual in the GOP and the man who can appeal to the big brains for the conservative way. The problem he has is that, despite being the smartest man in the room most of the time, he would have hard time winning the nomination. But, if Gingrich did, he would flat embarrass President Obama on debate night. It would be ugly.
3) Mitt Romney-- The former Massachusetts Governor seems to be the early GOP favorite. He has a strong economic resume. That said, he also has the aftermath of Romney Healthcare to deal with and in 2008 he seemed too much like an ill tempered Morman tv weatherman. VUI ranks him this high because he is tied into big money and that matters.
2) Jon Huntsman-- The former Ambassador to China under President Obama and former GOP Governor of Utah has broad appeal. Huntsman is a solid economic conservative with a strong foreign policy resume. Add to that deep money ties. The downside is that he is Morman and that religion is taking a beating in popular culture. Yet, his record is something that is hard to shape into a negative attack. Watch out for this guy.
1) Jeb Bush-- Sure, he says he is not interested. But, how could he not be? His father's and his brother's Presidential approval ratings are on the upswing as the Obama years continue on. Bush's record as Governor of Florida is a strong one. He would appeal to Hispanics in that he married a Hispanic and thus his own children are Hispanic. Frankly put, there is no one in the GOP that could make big splash in what appears to be a shortened primary season like Jeb Bush. His ties to politics and money,couple with his fathers and his brothers, and his own resume, would make him the front runner upon announcing his intention to run. No other potential GOP candidate has that sort of status at this time.