National Journal unveiled its “Presidential Power Rankings” today, billed as a look at which candidates are in the strongest position to win the Republican nomination in 2012. What struck me about it is how thin the field is. Basically, their top three A-List candidates seemed plausible: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and John Thune. Then they rounded out their A-List with Haley Barbour, which speaks volumes about the GOP’s A-List.
After that we get to Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and then a bunch of even less credible candidates. So to summarize: we’ve got Romney, who’s the obvious frontrunner but also a transparent panderer who has some serious problems with the Republican base (RomneyCare, he’s Mormon); a couple of decent but faceless midwesterners; a smart tactician who unfortunately resembles Boss Hogg far too much to be electable; and three bomb throwing social conservatives. I guess somebody has to win the nomination, but it’s sure hard to see it being any of these folks (though I know plenty of people disagree with me about Palin’s electability).
This is a pretty hard race to handicap. But campaigns being what they are these days, the first half of next year is hat-in-the-ring time. So I guess we’ll find out soon just who thinks they’re the one to pick out a new carpet for the Oval Office.