Well, OK, maybe just to December 21st then if you are a Mayan. If you, like me are happy to see 2011 in your rear view mirror, then welcome. I am happy to see that sorry year fade into oblivion. 2012 is promising for us. There are many exciting opportunities for us to seize and experience (the aforementioned Mayan prediction excepted of course). Politically, we have an election year and all the wonderful nonsense that brings forward to us. What are your predictions? Who will the GOP finally decide upon to compete with President Obama? Will the Republicans beat the President and retake the White House? Will Congress ever get their approval above 15%? What will be the single biggest case decided by the Supreme Court this term? Let's play Predict The Outcome:
1. Presidential Politics: - We are in full swing in terms of primary season. The Iowa Caucuses are this coming Tuesday for the GOP. Of course, the President is sailing to renomination by the Democrats with no challengers in the primaries. I think that is a mistake as we need someone to challenge President Obama if for nothing more to remind him he is a Democrat. (Mr. President, I'm fairly peeved with you about signing the indefinite detention deal. Bad form!). So leaving the Democrats for a minute, let's look at the current polling for the GOP field:
Our Candidate slate is as follows:
Michelle Bachmann - Congresswoman from Minnesota and Tea Party star (Michelle, finally, after putting that harpy from Wassilla on the shelf has risen to be the single female candidate in the race this year. Suck it, Sarah!)
Newt Gingrich - Former Speaker of the House, Historian, Lobbyist, etc (finally, has learned his lesson from his serial philandering and will bring his uncanny ability to alienate everyone he speaks with to the White House, which will most certainly improve the climate in the Beltway)
Mitt Romney - former Massachusetts Governor and Business man (Saved the Olympics, can honestly save us too! Don't pay any attention to that guy who was governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s, who passed a health care plan that closely resembles "ObamaCare". Mitt has no idea who that guy was. Oh, yeah, and Corporations are People too!)
Ron Paul - Congressman from Texas, Libertarian, favorite of the anti-war, pro-pot, conservatives in the GOP (all two of them). Seriously, Paul does pull in a lot of independents.
Rick Santorum - Former Senator from Pennsylvania (spends way too much time worrying about saving traditional marriage)
John Huntsman - Former Utah Governor, scion of a wealthy industrial power (Huntsman chemicals), former Ambassador to China (speaks fluent Mandarin). (Why is this guy not winning? Oh, yeah right, he's somewhat of a moderate and used to work for that Muslim Kenyan poser in the White House when he was the Ambassador to those Reds in China).
Buddy Roemer - Former Governor of Colorado (Buddy who?)
Rick Perry - Governor of Texas (Didn't we learn anything the last time?)
Honorable mention - Herman Cain, the wonderful, massive car crash of a campaign that was Herman Cain. Oh Herman, how we miss you.
Well, the punditry community thinks this is Romney's to lose and dammit, he can lose with the best of them! Seriously though, It seems like Romney is holding enough of the base that he can weather the primaries and come out with the nomination. His organization is strong, he has a lot of money, he's not afraid of going negative (sorry Newt), and he really, really wants the gig. I'm not convinced the others in the race are really there to win. Gingrich benefits from the celebrity in that he sells more books, gets more speaking engagements, who knows, maybe a VP slot? Huntsman is I think doing a dress rehearsal for 2016, though he needs more face time (He's the guy in all the debates standing on the far, far end of the stage) and needs strong showing in New Hampshire to stay somewhat relevant. Look for him for a potential VP spot or a cabinet post if the GOP somehow wins. Who knows, maybe Obama appoints him again to a spot in the administration should he win reelection. Bachmann had her moment in the sun, winning the Ames straw poll in Iowa. She was flavor of the month for a while, but has been relegated to the back of the GOP primary bus along with Huntsman and Perry. Speaking of Governor Perry; Have you ever seen anyone fall so quickly? All it took was two debate performances for him to move from putative nominee to the bottom of the stack. Talking about someone who is so not ready for the national stage. He's messed this up so badly I don't think anyone would seriously consider him for a VP slot. As to Mr. Paul, he is shaking things up nicely in GOP land. He is competing seriously in Iowa, and has said he may not support any GOP nominee should he not win the nomination. Some folks think he might splinter off and run as an Independent in the general. He has enough support to cause some damage to the GOP in my view. I think he pulls more from the GOP leaning independents than from the Democratic leaning independents. Rick Santorum is surging well in Iowa right now thanks to a lot of elbow grease and commitment from him and his campaign. Make no mistake, this guy is a tough campaigner and smart, except he can't get off the social wedge issues. As long as he is shouting at the rooftops about "gays in the military" (you too Mr. Perry), saving traditional marriage, etc., he will not pull any independents in the general, so, I think he is a one trick, socially conservative candidate who might do well in Iowa and some of the southern primaries but that is about it.
So, here is my predictions for the GOP Nomination for 2012.
Romney is the nominee
Romney picks a southern state appealing VP candidate to counter the backlash to his Mormonism. Candidates include; Haley Barbour former Governor of Mississippi, Marco Rubio (senator from Florida), Susana Martinez (governor of New Mexico). I think the idea of picking someone to from Congress is a non-starter, given the abysmal rating Congressional leaders have right now.
Obama wins a squeaker with just over the 270 electoral votes required to retain his job.
What are your thoughts on the 2012 Presidential sweepstakes?