The Next Republican President Won't Be Running in 2012
Senator John Thune of South Dakota has issued a statement on Tuesday, February 22, saying that he will not run for President in 2012. He is at least the third high Republican prospect to take himself out of the race for the White House, after Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.
What do the Junior Senator from South Dakota, the Governor of New Jersey, and the Congressman from Indiana have in common? They are all young, obviously. But more significantly, they are realistic politicians.
No Republican seeking reelection or looking to run for the highest office of the land would praise President Obama, but they all know that he will be tough to beat in 2012 because of his tremendous achievements. Downplaying those achievements, the Republicans like to make it all about growing the Economy and providing jobs to the American people.
Well, the next two years, the last two of President Obama first term, will likely see the economy grow even faster, due to a combination of his policies and the normal course of the economic cycle. What can the Republicans point to if the number of jobs created in the private sector keeps going up (forget about the Public Sector which the Republicans hate so much) and unemployment keeps going down and falls below 9% by 2012?
President Obama is remarkably well-positioned for the “economic battle”, which, as the Republicans’ best chance, will be a losing battle for them. All hope for the Republicans will then lie on some dramatic occurrences or missteps on the part of Obama.
Here again, history is not in the Republicans' favor. Obama makes little missteps, and if he does, he is very good at deflecting any backlash. For instance, many thought his candidacy doomed when the Jeremiah Wright tapes surfaced a little more than two years ago or, later, when he inadvertently made the “cling to their gun" comment. Not only did he beat the Clintons in the primaries and went on to win the presidency, he became a better debater and a master at facing controversy.
The young Republican guns, among whom the next Republican President is more likely to be, are well advised to sit out 2012 and learn from the sidelines. There will indeed be a lot to learn from failed attempts by returning, next in line and last chance candidates, or other dreamers of the presidency.