Conventional Wisdom is Wrong
At the beginning of the year there were six potentially viable candidates for the Republican Presidential Nomination. They were Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour. A lesser group with little chance included Newt, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul and about everyone else who works for Fox News.
Conventional Wisdom is that the race for the nomination is completely open. Conventional Wisdom is wrong.
Barbour has just dropped out, citing honestly the fact that he just does not that fire in his belly. Daniels doesn’t either, but enjoys the publicity. Huckabee seems happy in his private life, and does not look like a candidate for public office ever again. Palin’s priorities are (1) making money, (2) publicity, (3) adoration and (4) giving a prime time speech at the Republican Convention. She has not started any serious effort to campaign, and though her startup process would be very short, it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.
So we are left with essentially a two person race, Romney and Pawlenty. Romney must clearly be the favorite, and Pawlenty is doing him an enormous favor by tacking to his right, making Romney look far more moderate than he is, which will better position him for the general election. The leading VP candidate is Senator Rubio of Florda, although Jeb Bush would do nicely in his place except for his last name.
Romney and Rubio, campaigning on a slogan of “America Needs a Little R and R”. Their chances, better than you think, better than 50-50.