Saturday, March 28, 2009

Elite Eight: FHQ's 2012 Presidential Primary Bracket

[Click to Enlarge]

Last week when I posted the retrospective 2008 presidential candidate bracket, I said that I wanted to put one together for 2012 as well. Well, I did before NPR put out their bracket with the top 32 GOP contenders for 2012. Still, some were interested in seeing FHQ's top 8. Here, without comment, is that Elite Eight (with an Obama Tanks and is Challenged scenario tacked on).

The comments section awaits your cheers and boos.

Recent Posts:
The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (3/28/09)

Minnesota in 2012

Illinois in 2012 Redux


Jack said...

That's very cowardly to put a question mark there. If Obama tanks, you should make a prediction about who the challenger will be.

Your Republican bracket is sensible, and gets cheers rather than boos. I might make a few changes (Jindal over Crist, for example). But maybe the conventional wisdom is damaging my ability to think independently, and I applaud you for staying above it.

Josh Putnam said...

Cowardly? Perhaps, but I thought I'd leave it up to the group to fill in the blank with their thoughts on the matter rather than dictating from on high. [And hey, where is your prediction, anyway?]

I really thought I'd take more heat for the Jindal exclusion. In his case I just couldn't divorce myself from the idea of him being a GOP 2012 version of Mark Warner; someone who has some time to wait for a better opportunity. Jindal has that. An open seat in 2016 is probably more enticing than an Obama challenge in 2012.

Greg B. said...

If Obama has serious trouble, anyone running against him must be divorced from his administration--perhaps snubbed 2008 V.P. choice Evan Bayh?

Doubtful about the chances of that happening, here are my Republican thoughts:
I don't think Crist will run. A moderate like him will probably be more inclined to wait until 2016. Jindal on the other hand might run, if for no other reason than to build V.P. credibility. I also think Gingrich is overrated in your seedings. He may be too 1990s to succeed in 2012. Huntsman is a powerful underdog, but may also be a little ahead of his time (I would think 2016 possibly the favorite if the GOP loses in 2012). My bracket:
1. Romney v. 8. Huntsman
4. Gingrich v. 5. Pawlenty
3. Huckabee v. 6. Sanford
2. Palin v. 7. Jindal
I would see all favorites winning until maybe Romney v. Palin with Jindal and Sanford as possible V.P. picks.

Jack said...

Josh Putnam said: "And hey, where is your prediction, anyway?"

You're the blogger, not me. If you make a pick, I'll make yours too.

Josh Putnam said...

I'll have to agree with Greg. Bayh would be the likely challenger. He's the only obvious one other than, say, Hillary Clinton that jumps out at me. But that just seems like career suicide. This is a guy who took a pass on 2008 likely because Clinton's shadow loomed large over the race.

Clinton would really be the only one with a level of stature similar to Ted Kennedy in 1980. And we see how that worked out for him.

Jack said...

Ross Feingold?

S.D. said...

Regarding the Republicans, I think I'd swap Huckabee (your #4) and Gingrich (your #2), but all in all not a bad job. That being said, I think we can pretty much forget about anyone in the bracket actually being the choice. Few people would have guessed Obama in early 2005, Kerry in early 2001, George W. Bush in early 1997, or Bill Clinton in early 1989 (admittedly, Bob Dole was on a lot of people's minds in early 1993). The point here is, the out-of-power party's presidential candidate seems to come seemingly out of nowhere.

As for a Democratic challenger to Barack Obama, I'm thinking Al Franken. :-)

S.D. said...

Did I really write "seems to come seemingly out of nowhere"? Wow...this is what happens when you post at the end of a long day at work...

Jack said...

Actually, SD, before I realize I spend way too much time on this blog cracking jokes and too little making serious comments, I was going to cite Franken as a probable challenger to Obama in 2012. After all, he's already written about a run for president, and he might just get fed up with waiting for his Senate seat.

Feingold, though, seems to me the most prominent Democrat that would actually do it, simply because he's completely unpredictable, and he'd get a reasonable amount of support from liberals if Obama goes too far to the right. But I can't see any of the other big name Democrats running under those circumstances, not even Kucinich.

Josh Putnam said...

I could probably be talked into that Gingrich/Huckabee swap. As I said in the "name-dropping" post yesterday, though, there really is a division between the top tier and the bottom tier of that bracket. I think you could take the top four and shuffle them in many plausible combinations and do the same with the bottom five (including Jindal). The bottom half is more interchangeable than the top, but you could move things around there certainly.

RE: seems to come seemingly out of nowhere:

I can buy that logic. It is early, but I'd argue that the folks on the bottom half of that list (especially Huntsman and Sanford) are just enough off the radar now to surprise people (again) if they were to emerge in 2012.

Democrats were too shocked in 2001 to think about anyone and at that point it was Gore's to turn down in '04. But Kerry's name was there. He was the frontrunner in that race before pulling a John McCain and collapsing to Dean. But that talk didn't start until late 2002 when Gore opted out.

Bush definitely needed reelection in Texas in 1998 as a prerequisite and passed, but no, he wasn't being openly chatted about in 1997.

Bill Clinton was a no name until Mario Cuomo decided not to run leaving the Democratic race to a slew of them.

Basically, some pieces have to fall in place before we can really assess the field. For instance, what if Romney pulled a Cuomo and pulled out? That would really shake things up. a way that Huckabee or Palin or Gingrich pulling out would not. The ones beyond that top four are "time biders" anyway. Each individually or collectively could decided that 2012 isn't as enticing as 2016 would be. And that depends on how voters are perceiving Obama come the midterms next year.

I'll say this: It'll be fun to dust these brackets off in a year's time and see who on the list above is still on it.

Josh Putnam said...

Feingold? Maybe. Strikes me as a Wellstone in 2000 sort of candidate. No, he didn't run, but he thought about it before deciding the money race against Gore was insurmountable.

And that brings us back to Romney. If he can build a financial/consultant advantage, he could make 2016 look a whole lot better for a lot of these candidates on the GOP side.