The next presidential election is just over two years away and it’s time to get serious about who should challenge Barack Obama.
A series of candidates are already forming and some are making initial forays into key states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. PAC’s are starting up and feasibility studies have been put into motion.
The first real salvo in the battle for 2012 comes this November. The off-year election will give potential candidates a pretty clear picture of Obama’s weak spots and, most likely, provide Republicans with a much more solid electoral base from which they can launch a campaign assault on the Oval Office.
So, who will lead that charge for the GOP? I won’t predict, but I will suggest a ticket that I believe will not only win, but put into office the leadership needed to turn the United States back into the country she used to be.
First, Sarah Palin. No! For all the entertainment value she provides and the grass-roots excitement she generates, Sarah Palin is not presidential timber. As I suggested in an earlier post, Palin would be much better suited for and considerably more effective as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
Marketing… that’s Palin’s strength. She’s been on the stump for a variety of candidates in this off-year election cycle and has a pretty good batting average so far. Sarah Palin as Chairman of the Republican National Committee would draw in the Tea Party crowd while still appealing to the traditional membership and even moderates. Her ability to draw in new voters, party members and potential candidates will do more to make the Republican “tent” larger than anything or anyone since Ronald Reagan – maybe even more so . Her talent for skewering Obama and the Democrats is keen and her personal appeal unmatched in the GOP. In fact, on the national political stage, Palin’s ability to raise money is likely on a par with Obama and the two Clintons.
I like Mitt Romney. Yeah, he has some contradictions, but he’s smart, he has sterling business credentials and his organizational and leadership skills are superb. But … I think Romney’s talents would be better suited as Secretary of the Treasury. His fiscal management style would be perfect to work the economy back into shape from that venue and he could serve the presidency much more productively by refashioning the nation’s economic policies.
Tim Pawlenty has his own impressive credentials as a two-term governor of Minnesota, but neither his national appeal nor his political base are strong enough for a presidential campaign. Still, he has aptitudes the country desperately needs. Pawlenty would be a superb Secretary of Health and Human Services, a position from which he would be able to slam the door on costly and illogical entitlements.
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, is an extraordinary public servant and politician and his record in Austin puts him at the top of the contenders list. However, so much damage has been done to “homeland security,” his considerable talents may best serve the president and the country were he to become either Secretary of Homeland Security or Secretary of Defense,.
During the 2008 Republican presidential debates, one person stood out as the one I would like in the Situation Room during a crisis; Rudy Giuliani. Whatever anyone might think about the Mayor, Giuliani is as tough as he is smart. He cuts through the BS and red tape, identifies the root of problems and bulls his way to solutions. Rudy, though, is not likely to be electable on a national scale, so use him to the best advantage of the nation. If Rick Perry would become Secretary of Defense, then Giuliani is a natural for Secretary of Homeland Security.
Mike Huckabee has driven himself into being more a media personality than serious political contender. So, let’s leave him there.
Newt Gingrich is probably the smartest person on the American political landscape. He knows Congress and the national electorate. Personal baggage notwithstanding, we need a man like Newt Gingrich in a decision-making role in our government. However, I don’t think that role is as president. Rather, the former Speaker of the House would be invaluable as Vice President. As the president’s point man with Congress and as a savvy muse, Gingrich would be a version of Dick Cheney with a more domestic political focus.
A team like this would be a dynamic and effective leadership group to the new president. My preferred candidate is no lightweight nor is he unfamiliar with the ways of Washington and the world political order.
A brilliant leader with an unsullied reputation, General David Petraeus would bring dignity and honor (back) to the White House and to our government as a whole. As a military commander, Petraeus has been engaged in a wide and extensive range of social, fiscal and political decisions and he is an internationally recognized and respected figure as noted in his Wikipedia profile:
In 2008, a poll conducted by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines selected Petraeus as one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. Also, the Business Executives for National Security awarded Petraeus their 2008 Eisenhower Award. Also in 2008, the Static Line Association named Petraeus as its 2008 Man of the Year, and Der Spiegel named him “America’s most respected soldier.” As 2008 came to a close, GQ (December 2008) named Petraeus as the “Leader of the Year: Right Man, Right Time”, Newsweek named him the 16th most powerful person in the world in its December 20, 2008, edition, and Prospect magazine named him the “Public Intellectual of the Year”.
In 2007, Time named Petraeus one of the 100 most influential leaders and revolutionaries of the year as well as one of its four runners-up for Time Person of the Year. He was also named the second most influential American conservative by The Daily Telegraph as well as The Daily Telegraph’s 2007 Man of the Year. In 2005, Petraeus was selected as one of America’s top leaders by US News and World Report.
Not only would a Petraeus/Gingrich ticket mount a serious challenge to Barack Obama in 2012, I believe it would win. And once inaugurated into office, the team as I’ve suggested would do positively for the country what Obama and his fellow travelers have done negatively to it.