Those who closely follow politics know that prospective presidential candidates will announce within the next few months whether they will challenge Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012. It will be interesting to see who the Tea Party movement, which played a large part in the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, will support in winning the party’s nomination. Below is a sampling of people who might run and my perspective on their chance of winning the nomination:
- Mitt Romney-The statewide health reform he signed into law as governor is seen as a precursor to “Obamacare,” which is deeply unpopular with the Tea Party. He has also flip-flopped on several issues simultaneously, such as gun control, the Bush tax cuts, and Ronald Reagan’s legacy. During the election, his political action committee supported both Tea Party-backed as well as “establishment” candidates. He probably will not be supported by the movement.
- Mike Huckabee-During his presidential campaign, he harshly criticized his party’s establishment, including its record on the economy and spending. Huckabee has advocated the Fair Tax, which resonates with many from the movement. He will probably turn away some Tea Partiers because of his solidly conservative stance on social issues (the Tea Party is likely a mixed bag of social conservatives and socially indifferent libertarians). It remains to be seen if he can win their support.
- Ron Paul-He has been invited to speak at a number of Tea Party events over the last two years. Paul served as the honorary chairman of and is a current member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a political action organization devoted to advancing individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise. However, his age might work against him; he will turn 76 in the year 2012. Given the age factor, it remains to be seen if the Tea Party will give him or someone else their support.
- Sarah Palin– Her sudden resignation from the governorship of Alaska will be used against her if she wins the nomination. Many think that the mainstream press overtly disrespected her during the 2008 election and will do everything it can to paint her in a negative light should she run against Obama. However, many from the Tea Party see her as their unofficial leader; they see her as empathetic, enthusiastic, and devoted to their cause. Palin is articulate, and she is known to attract crowds; she also has a proven record of cutting wasteful spending and reforming Alaska’s state government as governor. She will likely get the most support from the Tea Party crowd should she choose to run.