CNN is reporting that there are three viable GOP candidates, and they’re all essentially tied:
Three possible candidates are all bunched at the top of a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday.
The survey suggests that 22 percent of Republicans would most likely support former Arkansas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's presidential nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent say they would most likely back Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, with an equal number supporting former Massachusetts governor and former White House hopeful Mitt Romney.
Taking into account the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error, Huckabee, Palin and Romney seem to be locked in a hypothetical dead heat.
Of the three, Romney seems to be the most viable. I saw him this morning on the (GOP) Today Show, and I think he could appeal to a wider audience than Huckabee and Palin. The other two are loved by the remaining 21% of conservatives, but they don’t play to independents like Romney could. I could see Huckabee make some inroads, but not enough to beat Obama. Certainly not Palin as she has too much baggage (i.e. family situation worthy of reality TV and an endless stream of ethics defenses). Yes, she can read the hell out of a speech, but let’s face it, she’s just not that bright.
Regardless, the GOP could have a viable strategy come 2012. Thomas Frank offers this play in today’s Wall Street Journal:
And if you put aside things like President Barack Obama's soaring popularity and widespread public awareness of what caused the current economic predicament, conservative anti-elitist rhetoric might start making sense one of these days.
Consider the various bailouts of the financial system, which are deeply unpopular and which many of the Republicans in Congress can truthfully say they opposed from the get-go. Right now, it would be difficult to blame the bailouts on either party, since they started in the Bush days. But three years down the road from now, they will be Mr. Obama's to defend.
In that situation, Republicans may well decide to press their offensive against the elite by depicting the Democrats as the party of Wall Street. I know this sounds counterintuitive, possibly even hypocritical. And yet, if they choose to take that route, Republicans will have a lot to go on. Mr. Obama's great success in reaping campaign money from Wall Street, to begin with. Or his mystifying tendency to give important economic oversight jobs to former hedge fund managers and investment bankers -- rather than, say, regulators or experts in corporate crime.
This, unfortunately, could work. They’ve won on less. Remember, they’re masters of “us v. them” class politics, as well as, blurring the lines of reality. And, should the economy turn around, they can drag out those culture wars, which always seem to pop up when there’s no real problems, and run on those.
The campaign never ends, does it?