Here are some thoughts:
- Rick Perry - I like some of the things he has said and done, but I fear that his past and some of the things that he has said in Texas will come back to haunt him. I think he trying to come off as electable to everyone by channeling Ronald Reagan. Just look at him during the CNN debate. He looked like a young wax figure of Reagan.
- Can he beat Obama, probably.
- Would he be a good president, maybe.
- Herman Caine - If I had to vote today, he would get my vote. He is plane spoken, speaks his mind, is no nonsense. I believe he is exactly what this country needs, a non politician who is socially libertarian and fiscally conservative.
- Can he beat Obama, probably not. Caine makes too much sense and does not play politics.
- Would he be a good president, with the right VP to help out on foreign affairs, yes.
- Mitt Romney - He is the most photogenic and possibly the least trust-able candidate. He acts like he is small government fiscal conservative. That said, he does not have the political background to prove this change of heart.
- Can he beat Obama, yes.
- Would he be a good president, 50/50 chance.
- Michelle Bachmann - She is the Tea Party candidate. She is also the target of much of the media's criticism. She also suffers from what my mom calls "foot in mouth disease". Michelle has said too many things that make her seem extreme. True or not, she has been painted as the Republican Nancy Pelosi.
- Can she beat Obama, not likely.
- Would she be a good president, maybe. I question how well she could work with everyone to get things done. She seems to be too much of a my way or the highway personality
- Ron Paul - Ron makes a lot of sense 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time, he either seems to be wrong, in my opinion, or he just rambles like your crazy Uncle. On social issues, I agree with Paul. On several of his fiscal issues, I agree with Paul. When it comes to his foreign policy though, he comes off as an isolationist and that does not fly.
- Can he beat Obama, no.
- Would he be a good president, no. Foreign policy is too major a part of being a president and it is much more complex than I think Paul is willing to admit.
- Rick Santorum - As a senator, he did some pretty good things but he is not a strong candidate. He is spending too much time downplaying his competitors instead of talking about his ideas. I know he is trying to get his foot in the door by trying to show the chinks in the armor of his competition. He appears to be a fiscal conservative and socially moderate.
- Can he beat Obama, yes.
- Would he be a good president? He would probably be OK, not bad and not great.
- John Huntsman - Based off of all the things he has said and presented he appears to be a middle of the road Republican. I would not call him a fiscal or social conservative by any measure. He may be appealing to the masses but I do not think that he is what the country needs.
- Can he beat Obama, probably not.
- Would he be a good president, probably not. He seems to wishy washy and willing to bend to polling numbers.
- Newt Gingrich - Newt is by far the statesman of the group. What he says makes total sense. Newt knows how to get things done in Washington and while he is a politician, he is also a scholar. That all said, Newt brings a lot of baggage with him and because of that, would probably not be embraced by the general public.
- Can he beat Obama, maybe.
- Would he be a good president, yes.
If I had to guess today, I would say Huntsman will be the next one out. He would likely endorse no one and his backers would probably fall in line with either Ron Paul or Rick Santorum. After that, it is really going to depend upon fund raising. Gingrich, Santorum or Caine could have to bow out early if they do not pick up more money or endorsements. As we get closer to the primaires, Ron Paul will become a non-candidate as the American public learns mreoa bout him (NOTE - After the CNN debate, it could be earlier), leaving Bachman, Perry and Romney.
So, with all that said, using a Hubble telescope type lens to predict the future, I could easily see a combination of a Mitt Romney-Herman Caine ticket or a Rick Perry-Rick Santorum ticket. Mitt and Herman can project a pro-business, working knowledge of industry perspective while a ticket of the 2 Ricks could project strength, Christian conservative and youth values.
There are some other VP candidates that I think would be good too and they include Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan and locally Jim Talent. They all bring different things to the table and it will really depend upon the state of the nation and the world as to who would be offered the job. If the economy is really in the tank and the House and Senate has a lot of internal bickering, Newt would be the perfect VP. If the economy is still showing no signs of growth and business outlook is dim, Paul Ryan and Herman Caine would be very good choices considering their knowledge and backgrounds. If foreign affairs becomes a hot topic due to more terrorist threats or increasing military action, Jim Talent's name could rise amongst the ranks. Of course if there is a need to try and grab some Atlantic Coast votes as well as some Christian conservatives, Rick Santorum would be a good pick.
I say all of this and admit, though, if Sarah gets into the race, you have to throw out the entire playbook and start from scratch. Personally, I think Sarah is bigger than the presidency at this point and can do more good where she is at now than as the President.
Now these are my opinions. I welcome counter points and other thoughts.