While the race is still wicked early, I am going to give my current picks for the Republican candidates.
Michelle Bachmann: She enjoys strong support from the Tea Party folks, but seems to strike moderates as a bit too extreme. However, the Republicans need a woman or a minority to run against Obama. At this point, I think she has a good shot of being the Sarah Palin VP candidate of 2012. If she gets the nomination, I predict that she will cost the party votes among the moderate independents.
Herman Cain: He has an impressive background, but does not seem well-established enough to secure the nomination. As the only black Republican running, he is probably being considered by some Republicans. Since the Republicans need a woman or minority to run against Obama, I can see him in the VP slot.
Newt Gingrich: Once a powerhouse, Newt is limping on one smoking engine. Barring a miracle, he is done.
Ron Paul: Too honest and too libertarian. Not a chance unless all the other candidates are eaten by wolves or sex scandals.
Tim Pawlenty: T-Paw is T-boring. He has some conservative cred, but doesn’t seem to have what it takes to stand out. Might be a VP candidate if the Republicans go for the traditional male mayo on white bread approach (two white guys).
Mitt Romney: He seems to be the top dog. He made a serious run in 2008, so the Republicans might see him as having paid his dues. His success in Massachusetts is, ironically, seen as a mark against him. While his business background will appeal to Republicans, a closer look at his business practices might worry moderates. His being a Mormon should not be an issue, but probably will be. But maybe he will do for the Mormons what Kennedy did for the Catholics. My money is on him, at least for now.
Rick Santorum: Google “santorum.” If Romney drops out, he might have a chance.
At this point, I’m thinking a Romney-Bachmann or Romney-Cain ticket.
But, it is still early and there are some wild cards that have yet to be played.