Now for the list. First we have the Zeros. These are people that have zero experience politics, but they (or their fans) think they can win a nomination, let alone a general election. I am not going to bother saying the many reasons why they can't win in 2012. It's the same reason why I can't win an Olympic gold medal in skiing (and I have been skiing since I was 8). Donald Trump leads right now, mainly based on name recognition - before a campaign begins nobody knows anything about candidates, so they pick the most famous name that they think is the right general direction. Now, these Zeros could run for Senate or Governor, win, then run for President in 2016. But they are not 2012 candidates.
- Donald Trump. The Millionaire.
- Glenn Beck. The Paranoid
- Rush Limbaugh. The Joker
Next comes the Self-Inflicted wounded. These are people that the "left" laugh at. They won't steal any Democrat votes, and frankly they don't have much of a shot with the independents. They have the same problem that Hillary Clinton had - if you liked her, you really liked her, but if you don't, you hated her.
- Newt Gingrich. Cheater. Destroyed himself with suicidal combo of pro-family values and mulitple affairs with multiple wives
- Sarah Palin. Quitter. Has a rep for being folksy but not intelligent. Too many bad quotes out there. She won't win, anymore than Hillary Clinton did. Pretty gets you attention, but doesn't win the game.
- Michele Bachmann. Mud slinger. Has a reputation for publicly stating rumors that are just plain wrong. When the GOP has some ridiculous statement that can't be proven, but they know their core constituents will believe, they get Michele to say it. From birther stuff to false information about the finances of presidential trips, Michele is there to sling the mud. This reputation has killed any chance of her winning the Primary.
- Rudy Guiliani. Former Mayor of New York City. I lived in Manhattan while Guiliani was mayor. He started as a tough prosecutor, and ended up with the police hating his guts. Trust me, this man makes enemies as quickly as he makes friends. He makes Dick Cheney look cuddly. September 11 rescued him from obscurity, but it won't win him the presidency - at least not a decade later.
- Mitch Daniels. Governor of Indian. Has gone against the GOP party and increased income taxes. He also busted unions before it was popular. Smart man, but no way will the GOP let elect someone that raised income taxes. On the other hand he did cut property tax and raised sales tax (property tax is on the rich, sales tax is on the poor, because the poor don't own property but spend all their cash, while the rich save their cash in investments not subject to sales tax). He also was arrested for possession of marijuana, LSD and other drugs, but plead it down to common nuisance. He also signed a state healthcare bill - counts against him for GOP. Finally, he convinced a state walkout of Democrats to return, but supported Wisconsin GOP in their walkout. Daniels has just a few two many negatives - taxes and drugs. Maybe in 2016, but that depends on a lot of other stuff.
- Mike Huckabee. Former Governor of Arkansas. Heavily conservative on social issues. Pro intelligent design, anti abortion, etc. Only strays on environmental- and not that much. Does have some (for a republican, any is interesting) support among blacks and unions. I see him losing again in 2012 to Romney, but being a contender for 2016 primary.
- Jon Huntsman. US ambassador to China, Former Governor of Utah, The 'other' Mormon. (See Romney below for the religious issue.) Low visibility, but that is what a Primary is for. Can clearly work with Democrats (Appointed by Obama to Ambassador). Good manager - under him Utah was considered one of the best states to do business in multiple times. Moderate socially, conservative financially. Has gone against the GOP party - climate, immigration, and gays issues. Still anti-abortion and pro gun control. But the GOP is big on dogma right now, and that hurts him.
- Tim Pawlenty. Former Governor of Minnesota. He is a real social conservative, pro-life, anti gay. etc. He wants to cut Social Securty and Medicare, something that will kill his election. Worse, he trails in Conservative polls after Mitt Romney. If the GOP decides to continue with the "No Compromise", pull the country to the Right, they will go with him - and lose. The SS issue will probably kill him in an election, but he could win the Primary.
- Mitt Romney. The Mormon. Former Governor of Massachusetts. Front runner in most serious polls for the GOP. The guy that used to be pro choice, pro-healthcare etc. but flip-flopped to stay a "Republican". But I am not sure America will elect a Mormon. They are wonderful people, and frankly I don't think their story of Jesus coming to North America is any more ridiculous than the Roman Catholic version. But they have a reputation of being a little bit prudish and "culty" (undeserved). Americans like our religion a little more mainstream. The only thing that might stop Romney from winning the GOP Primary is that they may think him a flip-flopper.
Note, I think Rubio is the best man not running, Jon Huntsman is the best of the GOP candidates. But the GOP already lost to Obama using a "Maverick Moderate". So my call is Romney wins the Primary (and loses the election). Rubio or Huntsman might be the President after Obama's Second Term, assuming one of them can beat Huckabee in the 2016 primary.
I do think that Rubio has a good shot to be the Vice President candidate