Q&A Friday #35: Who Do You Think The Republican Nominee Will Be In 2008?

Question: “We’ve seen who everyone LIKES for the Republican presidential nominee, but who do you think will actually be on the ticket? And who do you think will be the VP? Remember, no dream ticket (Thompson – Rice) but the people who will, in all likelihood, be on the ballot. (I realize that it is pretty far out in the future, but use your telescopic vision).” — jasamc

Answer: Here’s my current opinion of the chances some of the favorites have to capture the Republican nomination (Two things: Don’t hold me to this, because it’s still too early to know for sure and this is my opinion of their chances, not just a list of my faves).

George Allen: He has the best chance because he’s a reliable conservative, has low negatives, and is liked by a lot of insiders. He has very little name recognition right now once you get beyond us political wonks, but that’ll change.

Condi Rice: Her grass roots support is much bigger than most people realize and the fact that she’s almost a blank slate on domestic issues would actually be an advantage. On the other hand, the fact that she’s pro-abortion would hurt her tremendously.

Personally, I’m completely unenthusiastic about Condi as a candidate, but if she were running, my gut instinct is that she’d definitely be an “A-List” candidate with a shot to capture the nomination. On the upside, at least from my perspective, I don’t think she’s going to run. Could she be considered as a veep? Absolutely, although the fact that she’s closely tied to Bush could turn out to be a problem.

Bill Frist: Frist is a reliable conservative, he has some supporters, and he should be able to raise money. The big problem he has is that few conservatives seem to think much of the job he’s done as Majority Leader. If he can’t handle that job, then why should he get a promotion? I wouldn’t say Frist has no chance to win, but he would have a very difficult time turning conservative perceptions of him around at this point.

Jeb Bush: Normally, a fairly well spoken, conservative governor from Florida, who would be able to raise a lot of money, would be a top tier candidate. But, Jeb has two big problems right now: his last name and his brother. Republicans don’t want another Bush in 2008 and as W.’s approval rating has dropped, it has made Jeb a much less appealing candidate than he was in, let’s say, in 2004. But, the veep slot? It might not be out of the question. If he’s popular enough to make sure Florida stays red, he might be worth considering.

Rudy Giuliani: He’s coasting along on name recognition, the job he did after 9/11, and his fantastic personality, but he’s on the wrong side of too many hot button issues that really matter to most conservatives. Plus, he’s an adulterer. He won’t be the nominee, but the veep slot isn’t out the question.

Mitt Romney: Romney has benefited from some early hype, but it seems highly unlikely that he could win. He’s a squishy, pro-abortion Mormon from Massachusetts. Most conservatives are just going to give him a cursory look and say, “no thanks.” Could he be the veep? Only if he could deliver Massachussetts and that doesn’t seem likely.

Newt Gingrich: A lot of conservatives love Newt because of the Congressional takeover in 1994, the Contract with America, and because he’s a reliable conservative. But, he’s just got way too much baggage to win. Add his baggage to the fact that he’s from Georgia and his chances of getting the veep slot seem remote.

John McCain: Here’s another guy with high name recognition who gets good press — mainly because he loves slamming other Republicans. But, much of the conservative press absolutely hates his guts — mainly because he loves slamming other Republicans. Once we get closer to nomination time, the new media will hit him like a school of piranha and just eviscerate his candidacy. He won’t be the nominee and he’s such a flakey egomaniac (Ooops! Did I say that?) that he’s unlikely to be considered as a veep either.

Tom Tancredo: Tancredo is a one issue candidate (illegal immigration) who hasn’t made much of an effort to branch out and because of his increasing negatives caused by the pro-illegal crowd pushing back against him, it’s hard to see him being able to gain enough support to make it to the top at this point.

Haley Barbour, Bob Ehrlich, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Mark Sanford, Bill Owens: These are the other governors who may get into the race. Although it’s too early yet to know who’ll get in and who’ll be able to raise money, I expect at least one of them, maybe more, to make a big impact. Unfortunately, it’s too early to know which governor has the potential to catch fire.

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