Home 2012 races Mitch Daniels Out; Will Desperate Republicans Turn to Bob McDonnell?

Mitch Daniels Out; Will Desperate Republicans Turn to Bob McDonnell?

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With the dead-of-night Sunday news that Indiana Governor – and former Bush Administration OMB Director – Mitch Daniels will not run for President in 2012, speculations is growing that a desperate-for-a-serious-candidate (as opposed to a sure loser like Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin) Republican establishment will now “intensify efforts to convince another major candidate to join the race, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.”

I’m highly skeptical about Jeb Bush being a candidate in 2012, as the Bush family “baggage” is probably still far too strong at this point, and also since Bush has stated repeatedly and strongly that he’s not running. However, I can certainly see efforts being made (in fact, they already appear to be underway, whether from the “top” or at the grassroots level) to recruit from the GOP “Class of 2009.” I’m talking about the two Republicans elected in November 2009 — New Jersey’s Christie and Virginia’s own Bob McDonnell.

The question is, are either of the two “Class of 2009” Republicans willing to run? And, if they are willing, what are their chances of actually winning the Republican primaries and general elections?  On the former question, Christie has made it very clear he’s not running, declaring, “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running.” In addition Christie’s poll numbers recently – see here (“Forty-seven percent of 807 New Jersey adults surveyed approve of Christie’s job performance, while 49 percent disapprove.”) and here (“NJ voters by 5:1 say Christie should not run for President”). In sum, so much for that idea.

Which brings us to Bob McDonnell; what about His Excellency?

A few points. First, McDonnell won his 2009 race for governor by a much wider margin (59%-41%) than did Christie (49%-45%). Of course, McDonnell ran in a lot “redder” (or “purpler”) state than generally “Blue” Jersey, but, but even accounting for that, McDonnell’s 18-point margin of victory in 2009 is far better than Christie’s 4-point edge.

Second, McDonnell’s poll numbers now are significantly higher than Christie’s. For instance, a recent Washington Post poll had McDonnell at 62%-26% approval/disapproval in Virginia. Another poll, this one by PPP, had McDonnell at 50%-35%, not nearly as strong as the Post poll indicates, but still far better than Christie’s abysmal numbers.

Despite all this, there hasn’t been much buzz about a McDonnell presidential bid in 2012. I searched around, and I didn’t find much. For instance, there’s a “Draft Bob McDonnell in 2012 Facebook page with just 301 fans (in comparison, we got 1,000 supporters for Jim Webb online in just a few weeks in 2006). Lame. Then there’s McDonnell’s own statement that he’s “not running for anything” in 2012, but instead is “thrilled to be governor of Virginia.” It’s not a “Shermanesque” statement, perhaps, but it’s pretty definitive.

The question is, what happens if desperate Republicans ratchet up the pressure, cajoling, pleading, etc. for McDonnell to throw his hat in the 2012 ring? Personally, I’m not convinced that the term-limited McDonnell would rule out the possibility. Over at the Washington Post “Right Turn” column, Jennifer Rubin is certainly enthused, writing that the “GOP could do a lot worse than McDonnell” and that “Republicans might think about an accomplished governor with a solid track record.”

For the moment, put aside the fact that McDonnell’s record is actually paper thin, as much as he pushes his Big Lies. The question is whether Republicans, faced with a field right now that leaves something to be desired (to put it mildly), will now turn to the square-jawed, smooth-talking, Pat Robertson-educated, highly popular (if you believe the polls) governor of Virginia? Given the gap between his rhetoric and his actual accomplishments (what accomplishments?) as governor, I’m not particularly worried about this lightweight’s chances in 2012. To the contrary, I’m eagerly anticipating awaiting the Bob Boomlet. 🙂 How about you?

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    My bet right now would be either Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman. Of course, the teacrazies would be very upset by either, but they do – at least – have records longer than a couple of years as governor.  

  • blue bronc

    He does have the credentials:

    killed woman trapped in prison

    hates gays

    perfected budget shell game (hides true cost with lies of income)

    blows away campaign promises of privatization of booze

    I’m concerned that he is being overshined by his student CH Cooch though because he is not shoving his version of religion down everybody’s throat.

  • Daniels has made a strategic move.

    He knows Obama will win in 2012.  

    Daniels also knows that the radical rightwing wackjobs, dingbats, theocrats, nutcases, Teahadists, and assorted fascists who now control the GOP will be destroyed in 2012.

    After 2012, the GOP will rebuild on its traditional base of Rotary-club, Main-Street, fiscally-conservaitve, socially-conscious normal people — and he will be The Man.

    Of course, I drink a bit and fantasize a lot, too.

  • Mike1987

    Angle/ Cuccinelli 2012 “Forward to the 12th Century”

    Angle/O’Donnell 2012 “The Coven has Arrived”

    Gringirch/Gringrich 2012 “Nothing can compare”

    Cain – oh wait, he’s black….

    Bachmann/Angle 2012 “The Bottom has Been Reached!”

  • aznew

    With the proviso, of course, that things could change, McDonnell is too smart to get involved in 2012.

    If last week’s events involving Newt showed anything, it showed that the ultimate GOP nominee will have to pledge fealty to eliminating Medicare. This has been a longstanding goal of the GOP, and they now see their last chance, with the budget “crisis” in full spring, to accomplish it.

    Here is why. Medicare is, with good reason, both very effective and very popular, so the only way to get rid of the program, or even limit it, is to argue that it is unaffordable. Republicans realize that, one way or another, the budget issue will be resolved over the next 2-3 years, and if that is accomplished without severely curtailing Medicare, the GOP can kiss this long-time goal goodbye.

    Pushing for the elimination of Medicare, however, is clearly a form of political suicide. Why on Earth would any GOP candidate who sees a future for himself/herself in national politics want to be the standard bearer in 2012 for this issue? Among so-called serious candidates, for someone like Gingrich or Romney (yesterday’s news), or Pawlenty or Huntsman (hoping to be one-shot wonders), they don’t care about their future viability – they have no conceivable hope of achieving the nomination past 2012. But if I’m McDonnell, Christe, or Bush, my gaze is on 2016, a year that, to the extent this can be gamed out that far, is shaping up as a much friendlier terrain for the GOP and the presidency.

  • Johnny Longtorso

    I realize that I’m biased, but I can’t think of a single thing McDonnell has accomplished in his 1 1/2 years as Governor. His big “privatize ABC stores” idea went down in bipartisan flames.

  • NotJohnSMosby

    1) The most credible Republican nominees are stepping back and waiting for 2016.  They’re doing this because they know there’s very little chance of defeating Obama next year.

    2) They’re looking for a substitute for the logical candidate, Romney, since the Republicans who still think know that he cannot beat Obama (he’s Mormon and RomneyCare) and he’s clearly the best of the candidate bunch right now.

    I see a replay of 1996 coming up.  Unless the economy heads south again, it’s Obama’s race to lose.

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    Paul Ryan.  WOW! Today’s GOP, the party where everyone thinks he or she can and should be president.