Frontrunner, or also-ran?
Much was made over the weekend regarding Sen. John McCain's refusal to give an absolute endorsement to his former running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for the 2012 presidential race. In fact, too much was made of it. So much can change between now and the next presidential vote, and McCain is wise to keep his options open. But McCain also probably recognizes that Palin, while energizing the GOP base, was pretty much a drag on his candidacy last year. The vast majority of the people who were ga-ga over Palin were going to vote for McCain anyway, but McCain's selection of Palin surely drove away some people who were on the fence. It was a horrible choice, one I'm sure that McCain wishes he could do over. That said, Palin remains a contender for the 2012 nomination. She's beloved by social conservatives and by other folks who are charmed by her folksy manner. But to have any chance, she's going to have to bone up on current events; you know, issues on which presidents should have a firm grasp. Her ability to see Russia from an island in the Bering Strait isn't going to suffice in terms of foreign policy expertise. And it's not like she's going to sweep to the nomination unopposed. Despite some recent rough sledding, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is still a solid contender. And some of the 2008 challengers for the nomination - Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - aren't going anywhere. Also in the mix are Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a contender for the VP slot that went to Palin, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. And does anybody remember a fellow by the name of Jeb Bush? A recent straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference saw Romney at the head of the pack with 20 percent of the support. Jindal was second at 14 percent, and Palin was tied with Paul at 13 percent. It's pretty clear that the field is wide open, and Palin has her work cut out for her.