One of my theories is that the best chance to defeat Obama in 2012 is to make the election about Obama, not about the Republican candidate. The Obama record is so abysmal, and the Obama aura so shattered, that 2012 could be a repeat of 2010.
Each of the current top 4 Republican contenders (Palin, Romney, Newt, Huckabee) has issues of public perception which would make the race, to varying degrees, about the Republican.
Nominating Palin would be like sticking a red hot branding iron in the face of the mainstream media and Washington establishment (which from an emotional point of view may be reason enough, and she would generate the most enthusiasm). Palin v. Obama would be like WWIII. Maybe that’s a battle which needs to be fought, but I don’t think anyone can say it keeps the focus on Obama.
Romney will have to deal with Romneycare which can be distinguished intellectually from Obamacare, but perhaps not in 15 second soundbites; and Romney will be attacked for the restructuring of companies during his investment banking days. Newt has issued so many policy prescriptions that he is subject to misleading attacks, and his public persona is somewhat stuck in 1994. And Democrats will try to turn Huckabee into a caricature of an evangelical.
Any of these top 4 contenders would be okay with me, but I’m looking at it now purely from a tactical point of view.
I’ve seen Tim Pawlenty on television quite a lot lately, as he obviously is trying to raise his profile. Based on how he presents himself, he would seem to fit the bill of a conservative who, if nominated, would keep the focus on Obama.
But, I don’t know a lot about Pawlenty. What’s to know?