Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com's 2012 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1

Sarah
Palin

When in history has a losing Vice Presidential candidate done more interviews during the 60 days after an election than during the 60 days prior to the election? She’s the only woman on TV more than Heidi Montag. While she’s not exactly running away from the other 2012 contenders, she’s still the frontrunner by default. So until someone else comes along who can field dress a moose in shorter time, with a wink to boot, the current Governor of Alaska maintains the lead.

Mitt
Romney

Politics is all about branding and Romney still has an image problem. Is he a Genuine Conservative and Economic Genius or just a Political Opportunist? Because fair or not, his 2008 opponents very successfully sewed ‘flip-flopper’ labels in all those crisp white shirts. The bad news? If he has to readdress all over again the questions of his ‘evolving’ positions, he’ll never run past the first straw poll. The good news? Between now and the next Republican National Convention, he could have enough grandchildren to secure the nomination on a simple floor vote.

3

Mike
Huckabee

Anyone who thinks Huckabee signaled disinterest in 2012 by launching his FoxNews show needs to watch his recent interview with Ann Coulter. Huckabee put on a vigorous, passionate defense of his conservative DNA more convincing than anything seen during campaign ’08. Watch for Huck to position himself as a vocal opponent of Obama on social issues, particularly abortion. And use Sharpie on your January 2012 calendar, you’re guaranteed to see Huckabee in Iowa and New Hampshire.

4 Mark
Sanford
Sanford, the new Republican Governor’s Association Chairman, has the southern charm and accent that would make for a stark comparison to the Hollywood glitz of Obama. He also has most of what Governor Palin offers. He’s a grassroots darling, he’s bucked his own party over principle, and has solid conservative credentials across the board. What he doesn’t have is a view of Russia from his front porch.
5 Tim
Pawlenty
Pawlenty supplants Governor Bobby Jindal in the 5 spot. It’s difficult to imagine Pawlenty on a debate stage next to BO, but Pawlenty does have a taste for the attack and might make for a suitable Dole — err, sacrificial lamb — if BO’s reelection seems assured. Who knows, if Minnesota can send Stuart Smalley to Washington, surely they can send an actual human.

Comments

  • bill

    you guys weren’t first for the 2012 list.

    race42008, now race42012, blogger max twain’s list was posted long before this.

  • Brian H

    Seriously. Do you realy believe Palin “lost it” for McCain? I am a fan of J-Mack, but I, too, realize now that the Republicans could have ran George Washington on the ticket and he would not have beaten the Messiah. Tp put the election on Palin is quite a stretch. Not to say that she is the “man” for 2012, but to blame her for 2008. Please.

    • Robert Preston

      I don’t know if you can blame her but she certainly didn’t help. I think that Obama was going to win either way but I also think that a lot of Republicans didn’t exactly feel the need to rush out to the polls based on the option they were given.

      • Brian

        The crowds and dollars she bought in tells a different story.

        • Tobias

          Ron Paul brought in dollars and crowds, too. Most people who vote never donate and never attend a rally.

          Being a good fundraiser, or a good sideshow don’t get enough votes. People who are less involved in the process need to feel comfortable with the candidate holding high office, which is why Palin lost it for McCain. He probably would have lost even without her, but once he picked her, it was a forgone conclusion

      • David Kaiser, Editor

        I think if Mac had known how bad the economic situation was going to be, he might have been better off picking Mitt Romney.

        Like I’ve said elsewhere, I wasn’t a fan of Romney during his run, but with his business acumen, he could have run circles around the Obama/Biden ticket with what turned out to be the biggest issue of the election.

        Not sure it would have been enough, but it certainly would have been closer.

  • Tobias

    Come on, come on, come on. PLEASE put up Palin. We need eight years of Obama, and that’s pretty much a guarantee. She lost it for McCain, and her ignorance, hatred, hypocrisy, dishonesty and lack of intellectual curiosity makes her the perfect standard bearer for the party that represents all the same things.

    • Red State Eddio

      Well, at least you are unbaised and objective in your assessement and conclusion, Tobias. It’s a good thing you’re not affected or acting out of that petty partisanship and worn out dogma rhetoric nonsense.

      • Robert Preston

        Well, while I certainly don’t hope for Obama being in the white house more than 4 years, he’s right. If Palin is the best the Republican Party can muster then they are doomed to lose another election. She’s awful.

        • JE

          Only time will tell. If i remember correctly at the beginning of the dem primaries people laughed that obama had the audacity to even run. Then limbaugh pushes people to crossover to keep hillary from the nomination because he thinks obama is easy to beat. Ultimately party politicians are ignorant and eventually believe their own hype. The republicans got drunk with power and their current hangover is pretty pathetic (especially since they are still in denial). Not a big fan of palin per se, but i wouldnt count her out…americans have mass attention deficit disorder with politics.

      • Tobias

        agreed. it is good that some are able to rise above such things, even if Palin isn’t.

  • Dave

    Hummm…. Romney would need great grandchildren for that.

    Personally my ticket for the far of 2012:

    Snoopy/Charlie Brown.

  • Robert Preston

    Yeah, I like Ron Paul as well but the age is a big factor. I’d like to see him run again to school the other neo-con fools who are bound to be running for office (referencing that pathetic list above, excluding Sanford). The RP movement is attempting to draft Gary Johnson but he’d have no chance. He’d be another good dissenting voice for the pathetic Republican Party though.

    • Brian H

      Paul’s age and less than 1% of the vote in the 2008 election should remove him from any serious conversation.

      • Robert Preston

        Well considering he wasn’t a candidate in the 2008 election, that isn’t a very good point. Lol.

  • AWB

    I like Ron Paul a lot too, but a presidential bid in 2012 at the age of 77 seems rather unlikely! :-)

  • http://www.taopublishing.com Stephanie

    I think Sarah Palin should be run off the track. I like her but the Palin hatred from the left is comparable to that of George W. Bush. Do you think the Republicans would prop up a candidate that could only secure the votes of every moose hunter and hockey mom in the country?

    I’m from MA so I really like Romney – he was a fantastic Governor and has a brilliant economic mind. The flip flop label is kind of stuck and while I admire somebody who can learn from mistakes or evolve in their thinking – the average person probably doesn’t see it that way – He should be #3.

    I think Huckabee should be in the #1 spot. With his self-titled TV show on FOX, successful book, and the HUCK PAC building as we speak, he is gaining name recognition and watering the grass roots already.

    Mark Sanford??? Who is that?? Jindal should replace him on the track – he’s conservative, young, and charasmatic.

    Tim Pawlenty vs. Barack Obama – ummm…that’s like giving children a choice between brussell sprouts or a hot fudge sundae for dinner…he’s a good man but oh so dull. I don’t think it matters what his policies are – Obama would outshine him on a bad day. Pawlenty should be #5 on the track.

    Ron Paul is mentioned but I think he should definately be a horse. For conservatives like me who were having a polical identity crisis after a devasting loss (and it’s not so much that McCain lost as it is that Obama won – the most unqualified, inexperienced candidate in history is elected at one of the most critical times in our nation’s history – what the?!!!) I’ve been learning more about Ron Paul and the more I learn the more I like him. He is sometimes cast as some kind of fringe Republican but I think he really brings the party back to where it should be. I nominate him for the #2 spot.

  • J

    Mitt Romney: Political Opportunist. I can’t stand Mitt. I think Huckabee should be ranked above him.
    Huckabee: Personally, he is the Republican I like the best out of the bunch.
    Pawlenty: Glad he’s appearing, but I would wait until 2016 if I were him.
    Palin: Get off my TV and be a Governor.

    • http://catholicnfpmom.blogspot.com Pamela

      AMEN!

    • JE

      Yes, anyone who has had a job in the private sector, run a successful company and actually earned a (very good) living at something outside of a government position should definitely turn everyone off. Call him an opportunist, but romney is a brilliant mind with awesome economic credentials…yet he got labelled a flip flopper and now we have a president who has never managed anything except a campaign. Wonderful. Gives me a tingle up my leg just thinking about how lucky we are.

      • J

        Romney’s changed his stance on just about every social issue. He does not hold strong convictions on these issues that really matter to the Republican party.

        • JE

          I don’t know any politician who stances haven’t changed. They all blow with the wind. Clinton came in liberal and moderated after the first midterm election. Bush came in conservative and then expanded government through medicare, tried to grant amnesty to illegals and let kennedy write his education bills. Obama was going to pull out of iraq on the first day in office and raise taxes on the “wealthy” and has stated in interviews that it didnt matter if it slowed the economy but now that he will have to take responsibility for it he has said he will wait on those things.
          Every one of them is a politician. Every one of them changes their views and actions to try to get re-elected. Dem or Rep, they all stink. At least with romney we could have a competent, intelligent businessman for a change (instead of a lawyer, career politician or a baseball team owner). I thought that would be nice to try…not sure if that has been done before.
          As far as the derby listings…I think they are arguably accurate at the present but in 4 years don’t expect them to look anything like this.

          • J

            Yes I am aware of how politics works. But the one I don’t get is Pro-life stance. That is the one that gets me. I don’t think anyone can so credibly suggest such a radical shift. It’s not just the fact that he shifted, it’s that he hasn’t given a strong reasoning why. He just sort of became prolife and hope no one remembers his time as Governor. I am hoping that the Republican party picks the best conservative, so Obama, a strong progressive, vs someone like Huckabee or Sanford, a strong conservative.
            Your Obama stuff is incorrect though. There are other flips you can get him on.

  • Gary Russell

    I probably couldn’t pick Mark Sanford out of a lineup.
    But, the more that I hear about him, the more I like him.

    • Alaina Segovia

      Me too… except that I Google Pictured him just now.

  • David Kaiser

    Well, I “hope” that the tide of the economy will “change” in the next two years…

    *cough*

  • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

    Agreed, DK, but if the economy remains issue numero uno, and it seems impossible that it won’t, I don’t see Petreaus finding much early support.

  • David Kaiser

    I like David Petreaus as a darkhorse. The guy is brilliant, and his star is on the rise due to his success with the surge.

    • Red State Eddio

      We know you really wanted to pencil in McNabb…

      • David Kaiser

        Because the Ravens fared *so* much better, eh?

        • Red State Eddio

          Yes, I’m in a support & recovery group with other friends of mine who are Ravens or Eagles fans. We all have good days and bad days… ;-)

  • Red State Eddio

    Thoroughbred: Palin, Sanford, Romney

    Dark Horse: Jindhal, Pawlenty (if he can get some electro-shock into that personality he’s now renting), Jeb Bush, John Thune

    1 trick pony: Huckabee (as much as I like him), Gulianni, Ron Paul