I am not a prophet nor do I play one on television.

Nevertheless, here is my take on possible announcement dates by the candidates most likely to run for President in 2012. All of them would be wise to get in by the time the Reagan Library debate in May, 2011 is held.

Tim Pawlenty:  Expected in Iowa to close his book tour the last two days of January.  Perhaps while he is still in Iowa on February 1st, he will make his plans known (or make a short trip back home to tell us from his home in Minnesota).  I think he is definitely in and getting in first, often, and early will allow him the press coverage that other candidates won’t get.  The press will pace around him Iowa the next few months like a cat waiting feeding time.  Like Mike Huckabee at this time four years ago, he is probably not well known in Iowa or around the country.   That means a free ride unless he picks up steam, then out will come the sharks prepared to eat him up if he has any scandals, terrible votes, foolish statements or bad hair days.

Rick Santorum:   Another candidate who needs to get in early, but who has better name recognition.  He has made many trips to Iowa already and as a longtime social conservative may be the best candidate to challenge Palin and Huckabee among those voters if they run.  Santorum will have to give better reasons for endorsing Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2004 than he has to date.  His answer to this point is revealing – it was a tactical, political move.  He can hardly argue that his pragmatic decision helped his causes as Specter continued to vote frequently with the Democrats and eventually joined them.  Maybe Santorum will announce near Valentine’s Day.

John Thune:  One more candidate likely to get in earlier rather than later, if he decides to run. He is not a sure thing like Santorum and Pawlenty are.  (I should disclose here, my first donation ever to an out of state politician was when Thune ran against Tom Daschle.  And no I didn’t give money to Daschle). Thune voted for TARP in 2007 which could be a problem for him.  Complaints, however, won’t come from the mouths of Palin and Romney who both supported John McCain’s vote for it. I hold to the view McCain’s one vote in favor of TARP may have cost him the election (and not his GOP-inspiring pick of Palin).  By late February, Thune might be in.

Mitt Romney: He’s in, unless his poll numbers plummet.  He may jump in anyway. I predict that he will take a great risk and forego serious campaigning in Iowa. I predict he will also move to the center on social issues or minimize them at the very least. He probably won’t announce until late April, right before the Reagan Library debate. Questions linger about his implementation of Romneycare and its relation to Obamacare.

Mike Huckabee: Whether he will run or not is still an unknown. I doubt his Fox News gig is the most important factor. It may be depend on whether there is a conservative running he trusts, such as Michelle Bachmann or Jim Demint. With name recognition he does not need to get in early. He will certainly have to shore up support among fiscal conservatives and figure out how to raise more money than he did in 2008.

Sarah Palin: Like Huckabee, it is not clear whether she will run or not. And if she does not run, will she endorse somebody or not? (It won’t be Huckabee, but might be Romney or Daniels). She can also get in very late and possibly even last, with a strong following and immediate access to the press. She may wait to see who else gets in and how her numbers are at that point.

Michelle Bachmann: Threw her potential bonnet in the ring this week. Immediately well-received by those on the right. It is tough for a member of congress to get traction, but she could do it, and she has as much relevant experience as others in the field. Look for her to announce by Mid-February, if she is in. She is a Tea-Party favorite.

Newt Gingrich: I predict he will not run. He is a perennial teaser, with too much personal baggage. He must announce very early (no later than the end of February) and virtually live in Iowa to even have a shot.

Mitch Daniels: Will not run unless both Huckabee and Palin choose not to run.

Mike Pence: Won’t run unless he can get either a Romney, Huckabee or Palin endorsement.

Haley Barbour: Won’t run unless Romney drops out. He could enter late, if Romney drops out. He would be an immediate favorite of the talk show and money crowd in the GOP.

Ron Paul: Will not run or will be ignored by the other candidates if he does; unless he decides to endorse somebody, then suddenly he will be all that and a bag of chips.

Herman Cain: Will provide lots of entertainment. Will enter on Groundhog Day.

Others Not Running: Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and Rudy Giuliani (if America’s Mayor does enter, it will be on April Fool’s Day).

Other candidates I wish would consider running: Steve King (at least run for Senate, Steve!), Jim Demint, and J C Watts.

17 comments
  1. I think Ron Paul will run and his rating will grow. He is like 4th or 5th place in a lot of opinion polls out there. With people like Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich on top. We’ll see where it goes, but I know he will be up to running and he will add an even bigger twist to this race than in 2008.

  2. Pretty good analysis. I think Gary Johnson will run for sure and much of Ron Paul’s supporters will eventually support him. However, Romney is going to be endorsed by Scott Brown, Jim DeMint, Nikki Haley, Chris Cristie, Marco Rubio, and eventually Sarah Palin which will be simply too much for anyone else to match. Romney will beat President Obama as well because it’s all about jobs and Mitt has the easiest case ever to make that he can provide the conditions for job creation.

    1. I agree that Johnson is definitely going to run (he visited NH five times in the last year!) — there’s a rumor that he will announce next month. Romney is the man to beat. Movement conservatives may never trust him, but his obvious leadership qualities make him the second choice of enough people that he will probably be unstoppable.

    2. I would hit the streets and visit with each of my neighbors within walking distance again for Ron Paul. I wouldn’t go through the effort to obtain a dime bag, roll a j, and smoke it with Johnson.

      Paul has the ground troops in place. Current polling has him in the top 5 with about 8 percent of the vote before the election begins. Of the four ahead of him, 3 aren’t going to run, and the other is a flip-flopping Mormon who has at his core the desire to wield power, and not one inviolate conviction other than that.

      1. I’m not sure why you’re so hostile towards Johnson. Ron Paul supports legalization of all drugs, not just pot. He’s also said that, as a Dr., he believes pot to be less dangerous than many pharmaceuticals.

        This issue is actually a big reason why I’ll probably be voting for either Paul or Johnson. I have chronic pain, but can’t take opioid painkillers. I resent the fact that the war on drugs has stunted research into the compounds contained within marijuana, many of which cause no impairment.

      2. My point is that he won’t get past the fact he just admitted to using pot within the last decade. He’s supported terrorists! The convo. in a Johnson campaign would be all about the ‘dro, man.

        He will have zero credibility the day the press decided to lay into him about it. Marijuana “legalization” couldn’t pass in California. Flyover country will have nothing to do with him as soon as he outed as a “stoner” (fairly or not.)

      3. Johnson used marijuana for pain after a serious hang gliding accident in which he hit a tree, which “slingshot” him 50 feet to the ground. If people want to demagogue that, no problem. Johnson has otherwise abstained from pot and alcohol since he was in college. He’s also quite an athlete — an Ironman triathlete who has climbed Mt. Everest — so I would love to see the other candidates try to moralize about how he treats his body. We can then open up their medical records and see what kind of drugs they’ve used in the past ten years.

        The press would love to cover Johnson’s background as a human interest story and it will only give credibility to his overall position on marijuana (they’ll try other ways to take him out, just as they do with every conservative).

        And BTW, you do your man Ron Paul no service by spreading misinformation about his potential opponents.

      4. I’m just a guy who is stating what I’m seeing.

        The Johnson campaign will be all marijuana all the time, because there isn’t more than a handful of media types who want anything like Johnson in charge of their communist government. All the reasoned arguments in the world won’t get past the point that he admitted to using marijuana, and acted against the laws of his State and country within the last decade.

        Perhaps you remember the ’08 cycle? Ron Paul consistently held his positions. His arguments made sense to many of us ~ but when he was in the media or debates (even on the “right wing” :eyeroll: foxnews) the questions were all about the truthers and racists who were his “supporters,” Paul’s non-interventionism was argued to be North Korean isolationism, sound money austrian economics was “quixotic” or “kooky” ~ and the economic problems he foresaw were nonsense (the economy was just GREAT in ’08, don’t cha know.) The media ignored his very on the record arguments, and set up an army of strawmen to knock down.

        I suppose you have some reason to believe that Gary is going to get a fair hearing in the ’12 cycle?

      5. I agree that Gary Johnson doesn’t scratch the itch so to speak, like Ron Paul. And to Ben, he simply doesn’t inspire. He seems to be about himself; Ron Paul is about the country, and liberty.

      6. JKR — I agree, Johnson does need more inspiring rhetoric. A lot of Gary’s stump speech is “about himself” because he needs to introduce himself… and his background (like Ron Paul’s) powerfully backs up his message.

      7. JKR — I agree, Johnson does need more inspiring rhetoric. A lot of Gary’s stump speech is “about himself” because he needs to introduce himself… and his background (like Ron Paul’s) powerfully backs up his message.

  3. Would love to see Steve King run for Senate.

    I suspect will know the entire field by June, some will bypass the May debate. The forum in Iowa in March will be missing some as well.

  4. Would love to see Steve King run for Senate.

    I suspect will know the entire field by June, some will bypass the May debate. The forum in Iowa in March will be missing some as well.

  5. Mitt Romney is about ready to fully announce his candidacy.

    Yes, he worked as the MA governor for his entire term for FREE!!! Not sure that will happen again.

    MA had a huge deficit when he started, and he left MA with a surplus and balanced budget without raising taxes at the end of his term. He can’t help it if they screwed up after he left.

    The state Democrat controlled legislature wanted desperately some kind of Universal Health care program. He worked with them to create one that would work, similar to mandated auto insurance. It is estimated that 98% of the residents are now covered. It was within projected budget, except after Romney left, the state government had to make changes to the program and now it is costing them.

    He compromised on some things in order to keep the state government working together and moving forward.

    He has successfully and profitably managed large businesses, helped turn around large companies that were sinking and helped other companies get started, saving and creating thousands of jobs.

    He knows and understands world economics.

    He turned around a struggling 2002 Winter Olympics and made it into one of the most profitable Olympics in history. And only took a $1 dollar salary.

    He is against federalization and big government.

    He lives the example and believes in the importance of family.

    He is for a strong military and believes the borders should be better protected.

    The list of real positives is far greater than the supposed list of negatives.

    1. “The state Democrat controlled legislature wanted desperately some kind of Universal Health care program.”

      Romney desperately wanted it. Equating auto insurance with health insurance is apples and oranges (and the same argument Obama made). Mass had to make changes because the program Romney created was unsustainable.

    2. “The state Democrat controlled legislature wanted desperately some kind of Universal Health care program.”

      Romney desperately wanted it. Equating auto insurance with health insurance is apples and oranges (and the same argument Obama made). Mass had to make changes because the program Romney created was unsustainable.

  6. Mitt Romney is about ready to fully announce his candidacy.

    Yes, he worked as the MA governor for his entire term for FREE!!! Not sure that will happen again.

    MA had a huge deficit when he started, and he left MA with a surplus and balanced budget without raising taxes at the end of his term. He can’t help it if they screwed up after he left.

    The state Democrat controlled legislature wanted desperately some kind of Universal Health care program. He worked with them to create one that would work, similar to mandated auto insurance. It is estimated that 98% of the residents are now covered. It was within projected budget, except after Romney left, the state government had to make changes to the program and now it is costing them.

    He compromised on some things in order to keep the state government working together and moving forward.

    He has successfully and profitably managed large businesses, helped turn around large companies that were sinking and helped other companies get started, saving and creating thousands of jobs.

    He knows and understands world economics.

    He turned around a struggling 2002 Winter Olympics and made it into one of the most profitable Olympics in history. And only took a $1 dollar salary.

    He is against federalization and big government.

    He lives the example and believes in the importance of family.

    He is for a strong military and believes the borders should be better protected.

    The list of real positives is far greater than the supposed list of negatives.

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