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

Newt
Gingrich

As Rick Perry and Herman Cain did before him, Gingrich seems to have peaked, driven by the additional focus on his past, reminding people of some of his controversial, if not anti-conservative positions. The master debater does seem to have a rebuttal for every position-based attack thrown his way because when you’ve spent 30 years in Congress, odds are good you’ve voted on both sides of many issues. However, if we wake up one morning to find Newt Gingrich and Howard Stern sitting on a couch discussing who’s got talent, all bets are off.

Mitt
Romney

Is Romney a liberal who is trying to win the GOP nomination as a conservative or is he a conservative who had to run as a liberal to have a chance at governing a liberal state? This is at the core Republicans’ struggle with Romney. But the thing Romney does well, other than picking hair gel, is exude the confidence and air of a leader that makes Americans feel comfortable with him.

Ron
Paul

Despite sitting in the third position, Dr. Paul remains several lengths behind the leaders. They say slow and steady wins the race, but when you are three laps behind nearing the final turn you’ll never catch up. Additionally, the preponderance of debates this cycle putting Paul on television more often has brought far more memories of Richard M. Nixon versus John F. Kennedy than Paul can withstand.

Rick
Perry

During the Iowa debate, Perry agreed with the moderator that he was not a good debater. Despite trying to acknowledge his faults, this is no small fault. It’s like saying, “I’m not very smart and I make poor decisions underpressure, but you should make me commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military.”

Michele
Bachmann

If Bachmann would have been as assertive, direct, concise, and clear in earlier debates as she was last night, she might still be a top two candidate in Iowa, as she was in September. Word is, she will next try to garner some of what would have been the Sarah Palin vote by mixing in some “you betchas” next time.
Rick
Santorum
The candidate who is acknowledged to have spent the most time in Iowa is likely to finish sixth out of seven candidates. If you can’t win a primary election when you’ve visited every county in a small, early primary state, you might want to reconsider and run for HOA President.
Jon
Huntsman
The second choice behind Romney to fix the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Huntsman was reportedly rather bitter. So how will he react when he is the fifth or sixth choice after Romney in the Republican primaries? Maybe he’ll pack up and move back to China.

Comments

  • Rusty Shackleford

    No matter who you want to vote for, Jason should get the bill!!

    • Promise Kept

      I’ve got an another idea. Make the event tied to Jason’s new book somehow, then send him the bill.

  • Alaina

    We should really have a PD get-together for all of us in the Houston area…

    • Whodat

      That would be fun. Since I live in Bellville, north of Sealy, I can come in either I-10 or 290.
      I would suggest somewhere around Beltway 8 and I10 for starters – or, maybe closer to the Gallaria… Any other ideas? Let’s all bring something we do not like about Jason and the other Editors and sign them and send them in.
      .
      Right after the holidays would certainly be welcome by me. No firearms, please.

      • Promise Kept

        Dear Whodat and Alaina, though far from Texas, I am not far from what I believe Texas to be about. I know to some thems fightin’ words, but I believe you both would agree that if there were an opportunity to be at a causal social gathering, (with or w/o mutual self-protection tools, Whodat), I should expect that we would enjoy each others company and conversation on many levels. Where we differ, I would hope that we could respectfully banter with one another, as we have done here, except face to face.

        The only negatives that should be leveled are at those we have found least persuasive to our best arguments; and I would welcome the first shot, non-fire armed of course. ;-)

        • Alaina

          PK, i think i can speak for most Texans here when I say that if you find yourself in Texas, you’re always welcome to visit.

          • Promise Kept

            Well thank ya’ kindly, Maam. I have family who transplanted to Georgetown over a decade ago. When they needed help landscaping their home, I got a taste of early June temps there for two weeks. Of course we did some tourist stuff, my favorite being San Antonio waterfront part of town, and of course, The Alamo site.
            .
            When my uncle passed, I spent several days there again, but that’s all I’ve gotten to see of your fair state.

        • Whodat

          As I have written here before, when daughter #3 called me the night before the last big election to tell me that she would vote for Obomb just to light my fire, I told her that I was wore a uniform for our country and one of the reasons I did was so nit-wits like her could go vote for Obomb.
          .
          I enjoy the banter and without differences of opinion, what would we banter about? I enjoy the company of those with whom I do not agree – I’ve been married to the same yankee for 34 years! It has its limits, however. When I am faced with her two ultra-liberal sisters, I run.

          • Promise Kept

            Whodat, I’ve always read you as a Southern gentleman, with many of the usual Texan rough edges, of course. :-)

            Having been born near the Mason Dixon line, and lived some early years North and South of it, I gained some understanding of the common interests and common sense that are always the same among folks of good will on both sides. Regardless of the forces that pitted Us to take up arms against our kin and neighbor, it was SO unnecessary to resolve the issues raised; especially when we see how some things that were changed to Our harm by that war, still haunt Us to this day.
            .
            Between the “war” on terrorism, and the “war” on poverty, and the “war” on drugs; is there any aspect of the “civil” war that isn’t among us right now, except for uniformed forces on both sides, a separate constitution, and the perceived high-tech advantages over others that is being used and abused against innocent folks among us right now? It seems whatever we go to war against is always what we end up with more of, eh?

      • Red State Eddie

        Whodat: Set up a Skype op so we can all hang out. Don’t know what that is? Just ask Alaina…

        • Alaina

          Ha!

      • Alaina

        We should fine some time after the holidays. I live in Jersey Village (290 and the Beltway) so that would be convenient for me… Let’s try to figure something out after the holidays…

        • Whodat

          Good. I think Rusty S lives down south. Who else we got from this area?

          • Alaina

            I think Brian lives in Sugarland.

            • Whodat

              What would the Derby do without all these fine Texas horses? I think that when we get together for chips/salsa/margaritas we should send Jason the bill!

              • Promise Kept

                Maybe a better idea would be to send Jason a photo of himself after it was posted on a dart board for the evening, and a group photo of ya’ll that was posted on a separate dart board.

                I could guess which one would more likely have the most centered throws, and which would be more on the edges; but after the second margarita, all bets are off as to whose photo would look holier.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Mrs. Shackleford and I reside in Alvin. Just a short trip to anywhere! Promise Kept will always be welcome down here. You could visit The Texas Head Quarters for Mitt Romney (Brian’s house in Friendswood) and you could visit with some folks that really know Dr. No.

            A get together does sound entertaining.

            • Alaina

              That settles it… We’ll plan something for after the holidays…

            • Promise Kept

              I know my family down there would love a visit too, but I’m afraid it won’t be possible this year. Grassroots campaigning and paying the bills is all I can reasonable afford for now, but thank you all for your warm invitation.

              Meeting Brian would be perhaps the most interesting part of the visit. I sometimes wonder if he is really all the curmudgeon in person as he writes himself here.

      • Alaina

        We should fine some time after the holidays. I live in Jersey Village (290 and the Beltway) so that would be convenient for me… Let’s try to figure something out after the holidays….

  • Brian H

    Rob uses the language of the left to attack conservatives from the right. Interesting.

    • Rob

      Nope, I use the language of conservatism to attack big government foreign policy liberals like you.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Rob,

        I’m curous if you think Representative Paul has any ideals that you are not beholden to. The previous Cain supporters and current Newt/Romney supporters all have said things they don’t agree with their candidates on. However, you seem to have full faith and confidence in everything Paul says. That comes across as a cult leader follower.

        I’ve said it in here a few times, but Ron Paul is MY representative down here in Brazoria County. Seems like I have been voting for him forever. His daughter performed a IVF procedure that resulted in one of my little girls. I have no issues with him as a person, and Dr. No hasn’t voted for one tax that I can remember. That said, his isolationist views are well documented. He would isolate Brazoria county from Texas if he thought it would reduce the government foot print on his district.

        Fiscally I give him a 9 out of 10
        Socially I give him a 6 out of 10
        Internationally….0 out of 10.

        • Rob

          Isolationist’s do not believe in free trade.
          .
          Ron Paul is for freer trade than the majority of politicians including the other GOP candidates (who are in favor of sanctions against any number of countries). Therefore, the rest of the GOP candidates are possibly more isolationist than Ron Paul.
          .
          The term you are looking for is non-intervention.
          .
          There are a few things I disagree with Paul on. But they are all minor issues, not any of my major issues.

          • Alaina

            Rob, what are those minor issues?

            • Rob

              I don’t want to get into a big discussion, as I will never find another candidate that I agree with as wholeheartedly as I do Ron, but for example his support of DOMA is one of the ones I don’t understand, since it seems to run counter to the idea that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all.

        • Whodat

          Right-On, Rusty! I once lived in Pearland – was even Republican precinct chair in the Shadycrest side. I know Ron Paul, attended a few bar-b-q’s down at his ranch and at the strange, industrial looking beach house they used near Freeport. It is cult-like around him. He is called Dr. No and we all loved him for that. But, I checked out with the libertarian run for president. Nowadays, there seems to be more truthers and other odd ducks in Paul’s pond. I also believe that because our country and our economy are as big and intertwined globally as they are, there is really not much difference between “isolationist” and “non-interventionist”
          to me. But, my main point of contention with the Paul doctrin is in homeland security; he thinks the Patriot act is wrong, I think it is too weak. He believes water-boarding is wrong and should be eliminated, I think it is a good starting point, but we need to keep stronger options both open and confidential.

          • Rob

            Yep, you’re an Authoritarian as was previously pointed out. No need to reinforce that point.
            .
            There’s a huge difference between isolationist and non-interventionist in terms of trade. If you can call Paul an isolationist for being a non-interventionist then pretty much all of the GOP candidates are isolationists for their stances on foreign trade.

            • Whodat

              Yep. We know I am what I am. And just like my daughter #3 who voted for Obomb, I respect who you are and that you have a right to that opinion. Just like my daughter #3, I have cut you out of my will.

        • Promise Kept

          Rusty, I’ll try to answer the “cult leader/follower” notion you say, “comes across”, to you somehow.

          Start with Liberty as the chief end of government. I know it seems to have been whittled down to allowing some thoughts to be held between our ears and occasionally spoken out loud. At least that seems to be the direction legislation and executive orders have been taking us, “for our protection”, at an alarming rate of speed.

          Good conscience is an attribute that few have prized as highly in fulfilling their office as Dr. Paul. It’s an attribute that we are seeing in his son, Rand, standing confidently among his peers and even his seniors in the Senate, whether they like it or not.

          It is easy to see why qualified endorsements of the other candidates is all anyone dared to offer, because of the need to distance themselves from dirt they know, or suspect, might fall back on their endorsement.

          With Ron Paul, when you consider how he has lived and worked in DC for his district, AND for the rest of Us, all you need to do is weigh whether he would effectively do with the presidency what he has done for those he has served, so far as he understands his role as defined by the Constitution has consistently upheld and defended for several decades.

  • Red State Eddie

    OK, I did not watch the debate. But I heard the Ron Paul comments on Iran today. And the only thing I can conclude is that the man is a naive idiot. He’s DEFINITELY the crazy uncle we don’t let out into public for obvious reasons.
    .
    Paulites, you cannot defend the man on that position without yourself being perceived more left than the Obawan – an America hater. Sorry, your time is done.

    • Rob

      Sorry RSE, your numbers are diminishing.
      .
      Bachmann was wrong (do a fact check for yourself) on everything she said about Iran. Ron was rational and correct.
      .
      BTW, the 4 million dollars he’ll take in over the weekend, hugely hyped Leno appearance and huge increase in interest (Facebook likes, google, twitter and ronpaul2012.com activity) will all catapult him even higher. Your time is up.

      • Red State Eddie

        Rob – I always think of Proverbs 19:2 when I see your name on here:
        .
        “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”
        .
        That’s my conservative compassion at work.

        • Rob

          I completely agree with it. It’s a shame you don’t understand it. Your compassionate conservatism gets you bloodlust for death and war in the middle east. Congratulations. I’ll pray for the thousands of American and foreign families that have been destroyed by your brand of conservatism.

          • Red State Eddie

            No, I did not say “compassionate conservatism”. I said “conservative compassion” – that’s speaking the truth lovingly to those who need it, as opposed to liberal compassion, which is simply aiding one’s worst behaviors.
            .
            You misread all your biases into my statement with things like bloodlust. That is not my position, but you assumed it to fit your narratives and conspiracy theories.
            .
            Frankly, foreign policy is the one area that time and again has awoken me from my nascent fantasies of voting for Ron Paul. And with his comments of “we’re to blame for everything wrong in the middle east” in this last debate (along with the high-pitched whiny nasaly way he said it), I can assure you, that conviction of not voting for him ever is now anchored in stone. I would safely say that at least 80% of the US population is on my side, not yours. Sorry Rob.

            • Rob

              Nope, he said consequences have action. You can’t spend 60+ years using the CIA, bombing, etc and not expect consequences to your actions. Is it really that hard to understand? If China bombed your area every week for 10 years in the name of national defense would you find that acceptable? Would you just sit on your butt and say “they’re doing it for freedom!!”

          • German Observer

            Neither in the tone, the wording, nor in the details of actual Iran-politics I would agree with Paul himself or Rob as his follower. But in the core of his approach to foreign politics is more truth and wisdom than most of you a willed to acknowledge.
            .
            And RSE, as much as I appreciate your intellectual capabilities, to call Obama an America-hater for his foreign politics, clearly shows that you did not understand quit a lot of things regarding US-foreign policy of the last 60 (or so) years.

            • Red State Eddie

              Mr. GO Mein freund – Wow, you stretch the bounds of incredulity once again.
              .
              An “America hater”, since there is no Webster’s definition as of yet, is someone who wishes to eliminate, reduce, or render ineffective America’s presence and standing in the world scene – whether that means bowing in front of every perfunctory dignitary known to the universe, or by rendering America’s economy powerless and thus weak. No man more exemplifies this intent with every email and envoy he sends than the current president. The reason he is not more radical in his foreign practices is because a) liberalism is a fallacious fantasy that when enacted in real life would drastically wreck its implementor – and he would suffer politically because of it, and b) the american people would be so outraged as to demand his immediate impeachment.
              .
              If Barack H Obama could have his way, we’d be a 2nd rate, borderline 3rd world vassal state of China and Europe as a retribution against all our sins upon the world stage. He fully believes every action beyond the waters has been in error and full of evil intent. He, like Ron Paul, believe we have brought all this upon ourselves, and deserve to be punished for it.
              .
              I can’t believe I had to take a paragraph and explain how BHO is an America hater. Really, GO, you try me sometimes.

              • German Observer

                Oh, I made a mistake and put my reply somewhere further south within this thread. Oops.

        • Brian H

          You think of the Bible when you see Rob’s name?
          .
          Not exactly what I think of……
          :)

          • Gary Russell

            Now that made me chuckle!

        • Promise Kept

          I looked up Proverbs 19:2 in my Bible, and found it in context with verse 1 by an, “also”.

          “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

          Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.”

          Perhaps something in your Bible was lost in translation, as it appears to have left you “without knowledge” in its application here.

          • Red State Eddie

            Well there’s your problem. Reading a version of scripture that was out when “Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” was considered cutting edge theatrics. We’ve sheddeth that way of speakething round here. The only versions that have the ‘also’ are the KJV & NAS – all others keep them as separate thoughts translated accurately as 2 sentences that may be related in subject matter but are not required to be coupled together. That coupling occurs within the sentence, progressing from the A thought to the B thought. So no problems with grammatical interpretation here.

            • Promise Kept

              My “problem” is it, eh? How so?

              Here is a website that lists 16 “translations” of Prov. 19:2, half with “also”, and half w/o!
              http://bible.cc/proverbs/19-2.htm

              I’m not saying that all these “translators” followed the same methods, or held the same motives for what they brought us as chapter and verse. Just the opposite! I’m saying that at least half of these profiteers of their bible translation, “scholarship”, sold us chaff as wheat for a far greater price than many of us would ever pay for the real thing!

          • German Observer

            RSE, I wonder whether ir not I should feel sorry to try you by and then. Anyway I feel the need to do so.
            .
            My friend, I’m not too sure, whether we really need Webster’s dictionary to define hate. Can we agree on, that hate, as an acceptable approximation, is a strong feeling of refusal and hostility against someone or something? Then its obvious, what an America-hater might be. And to suggest so towards Obama, based on his foreign policy is simply misleading.
            .
            Quite on the contrary Obama, is trying to restore America’s dignity and reputation, which completely had diminished with the Bush-years. And, if you ask me, he does not enough. The tone has changed dramatically and on the surface he deals with friends, partners and allies at eye level, which is the right thing to do. But more action is needed, esspecially with respect to climate-policy and the Middle-East.
            .
            RSE, when you are bantering about, Obama’s alleged opinion the US needs to be punished for all it has done and whatever you try to suggest, I think we can summarize, that Obamas steps back a few inches from the ideology, what the right likes to call “American exceptionalism”. But this ideology is wrong and damaging. Believe me, I know, what I am talking about. The generation of my grandfather was made to blieve they are “exceptional” and it was wrong and damaging.
            .
            I feel its one of the, sorry, dirty tricks of the right to label everybody as an “America-hater” who dares not to accept American exceptionalism or even critizises the US for a view things. I vigorously claim to be no American-hater (quite on the contrary), though I don’t like quite a few things about the US and Obama certainly is none.
            .
            Last word: you maybe become friend with the idea, that America had its century and will lose in significance and influence. China is rising, India will gain in importance and many other things are changing on the world map. But this is not Obama to blame for (he is acting right in strenthening the relations to the Pacific states) and it was not Obama who weakened your economy and sold the US to the Chinese and Saudis. This process started decades before.

  • Rochelle

    Romney: Clear winner. Defended positions clearly. Refused openings to attack others and concentrated on the President. The pundits have said he was peevish over Chris Wallace’s attacks. I didn’t see that. I saw a very controlled and clear rebuttal. However, I did see peevishness from Wallace. Apparently he really was mad that Romney hadn’t granted him an interview yet.

    Gingrich: Probably the worst debate performance from the Speaker thus far. Now a bad debate for Newt is equal to a good debate from nearly anyone else, but the luster was definitely missing. He felt the punches, and we heard the air let out as he accepted the blows.

    Bachmann: This woman is feisty. She landed her blows and looked like a lady doing it. A seriously good debate performance for Michele. This is the candidate who won the Ames straw poll. If she keeps this up, she will be on the short list for VP. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on who you support, it is too late to dig out of the hole.

    Perry: I can’t tell if he had a better debate, or if my expectations were so low that any improvement comes across as amazing. After trying to analyze it, I finally decided that it was a “fine” debate performance for the Governor of Texas. When Perry isn’t going after his rivals, he is a likable candidate, who can speak to the issues decently well. When he tries to attack, he muffs it up. I think his real personality is that of a really nice guy. He cannot attack, because it is unnatural to him. His handlers should have had him positive the whole way through, and he would still be in the top tier. As it is, he is still in the bottom.

    Santorum: He will be a contender in 2016 or 2020. My advice- run for the Governor of your state, and get some executive experience. Santorum has great conservative credentials and he IS a good debater. His attacks are normally well executed. This time, his attacks played well for his rival, but here is the genius in Santorum: When the attack doesn’t work, he backs off. Most people double down, Santorum reads the crowd and stops. Unfortunately for him, he looks at least twenty years younger than the rest of the field. Youthfulness is not often rewarded in the republican party. Age and experience is desired.

    Huntsman: Puleeezeeee stop trying to crack jokes!!!!! You are not funny! Okay, the former Governor of Utah is a smart and articulate man. He is also the worst joke teller ever. It always comes out snarky and with a hint of meanness that is very unattractive. His debate performance was fine, but I ended up tuning him out, because of the snideness. A few Miss Manner’s classes could help with a future run.

    Paul: Oh confusion!!!! The first half of the debate he was brilliant, I mean brilliant. The audience was eating out of his hands. His defense of taking earmarks for his district was masterful. He turned all personal attacks into a policy answer and his suit almost fit. And then, the crazy old uncle came to play. Ron Paul’s foreign policy answers had conservative voters all but hiding under their chairs. I think his support has peaked.

    And the funniest debate moment? Megyn Kelly’s funny looks, accidentally caught on camera as a few candidates answered some questions. Her eyebrows raised so high they caught air. I don’t pretend to know what the look meant, but there was obvious significance attached to the gesture, directed at co-anchor Neil Cavuto.

    • Rob

      Well, his answers were far more factual than Bachmann’s. Shouldn’t you be scolding her for telling blatant lies?

      • Rochelle

        Shouldn’t you just take the fact that I said the first half was brilliant and call it a victory? Sakes.

        • Rob

          I’m not upset by your comments, just wondering. It amazes me that someone can sit up there and blatantly lie about a report on Iran’s nuclear program, lie about what Iran’s constitution says and lie about what Iran’s leader has said and people actually think that’s good stuff.

    • Promise Kept

      Rochelle, just because you choose to call “crazy uncle” on Paul’s foreign policy comments doesn’t give you the power to cause folks to see him your way, or to accurately predict outcomes by it. I’m not faulting you for trying, only for expecting it to work.

      RSEddie may be chaffed along with you by my saying so, but, oh well, that’s the nature of political debate. Why would you write off Ron Paul so flippantly when just the same day as your postings, he raised $3.4 Million AND has the kind of reception he had on Jay Leno last night?

      http://youtu.be/VMUZIVYuluc

      • Rochelle

        I didn’t predict anything. I simply stated my opinion of what happened at the debate. I would never expect to change a Paulite’s mind. Trust me on that one.

        • Promise Kept

          When you say, “I think his support has peaked”, is that not a prediction of future stagnation?

          • Rochelle

            Perhaps. I look at it as opinion, but I can see how your would perceive it that way. ;)

            • Promise Kept

              Predictions ARE only opinions, unless there are claims of divine inspiration, in which case they become prophesies. Predictive opinions, like prophesies are only determined to be right or wrong, true or false, at some point AFTER they are made.

              You “think his support has peaked”. No claims of divine inspiration here, unless you see yourself as a “domestic goddess”. ;-)

              I guess we’ll have to see if the Tea-Party money-bomb total for this past weekend of $4.1 million is an indicator of that peak you say is all downhill from here for Ron Paul’s primary run in this race.

              • Rochelle

                I’m gonna have to ask my husband about that domestic goddess thing. It is possible you know. ;)

  • Whodat

    Santorum is a sad case. Nice guy, generally conservative, but not inspiring or even interesting. I don’t understand why I think that, but evidently I am not alone.
    .
    Bachmann was not nice to old people. She was really tough on the Kookie man.
    .
    Did I hear correctly that Huntsman is not even competing in the caucii? So, what the h was he doing on the stage last night?
    .
    Perry proved that he can be just as empty whether he is on pain killers or not.
    .
    Newtie or Romneycare… Root canal or IRS audit…
    Weekend with mother-in-law or hemroids… These are examples why they put the word, “dilemma” in the dictionary; “an argument presenting two or more equally undesirable or unpleasant choices.”

  • Dodgers

    CLASSY!!!!

  • Troy La Mana

    A polished turd is still a turd, no matter how good it looks.

    • QPC

      I don’t think highly of Gingrich or Stern either.