As most of our thoughts are now turned towards this fall and the possibility of a larger than usual loss for the party in power -- the Democrats -- we should take a minute to look ahead to the presidential contest in 2012.
With unemployment likely over the 10% mark by election day this November and hot topics like the war in Afghanistan, the spiraling deficit and immigration to name a few, the Democrats will suffer larger than usual losses but they might not be as dire as analysts and pollsters are predicting. The House and Senate may stay in control of the Democrats because in the final analysis even in an anti-incumbent mood many voters revert back to casting their ballots for someone they know rather than taking a chance with a newcomer.
However, once the midterms are over and new faces emerge on the GOP side who will immediately be cast as potential presidential possibilities in 2012, one person seems to have taken the lead for that position as we head into the 2010 midterms. That person is the ever present former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.
While many Democrats and pundits and others may laugh and scorn the former 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidates for her views and abruptly leaving her job as governor of Alaska and many of her other behaviors that seem to many as out of the mainstream, she actually seems to be doing quite well in positioning herself for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. She is very actively promoting, endorsing and giving money to candidates who look like likely winners this November. She is on FOX News as a commentator and the public knows her views and opinions on the key issues of the day.
She is certainly appealing to the Tea Party movement and the conservative part of the GOP who determines who will get the nomination as they are the activists who go out and vote in the
primaries and caucuses.
To someone not involved in politics looking at who commentators and pundits and analysts always bring into the 2012 presidential equation it is Sarah Palin. She is outdistancing her likely rivals by her ever present performance on and off the air and on her websites.
How much attention is the senator from South Dakota getting as he lets it be known he wants to run for the GOP presidential nomination? You mean you haven't yet heard of John Thune?
And Newt Gingrich is saying he will most likely run in 2012. He appears to be old news with some new ideas to be sure but he had his day as Speaker of the House and not sure he has mass appeal for the voters.
Mitt Romney should be leading the pack at the moment but aside from his book he is keeping a lower profile these days than Palin for sure.
Tim Pawlenty hopes to run for the nomination but he is unknown to most voters and not many Republicans are that enthusiastic. Haley Barbour is lively and colorful and would make a terrific
campaigner but I don't know if much of the country could handle his deep accent.
Bobby Jindal has enough problems in his state to keep him busy for awhile and Mike Huckabee seems to be known as a jovial and cheerful talk show host more than a serious presidential
candidate at the moment.
Mitch Daniels, Scott Brown, Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum all have an appeal but certainly no national following like Palin has at this point in time.
The Republicans have a weak field at a time when the president's popularity for good reason continues to decline as he seems disconnected from the main events of the day.
With no one having a lot of time to get a national reputation Palin is actually leading the GOP field you might say by default. She is colorful, provocative, engaging and likes to stir things up.
She knows how to make news on a daily basis where the other potential candidates seem to be nowhere to be seen.
She may not be able sway Independents to her side in 2012 and she may turn out to be a marginal candidate who could not appeal to the general public voter in 2012 but at this point in 2010 one would have to christen her the favorite and the frontrunner to get the GOP presidential nomination.
In a so far weak Republican field of presidential possibilities she stands out as the top dog or top grizzly bear or whatever you want to call it but other serious GOP candidates better start taking her seriously and get in the game quickly before she has a lead that can't be beaten.
Palin is not a joke that some people like to make her out to be -- she is doing the right things and doing them well and staying in the spotlight.
Presidential possibilities in 2012 certainly look like Obama and Palin going against one another. Rather than smiling and jumping for joy the Obama team should take Palin seriously! She will be a tougher and more serious opponent than they think.