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The 2012 Presidential Election

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring in the Republican ranks as we begin to think of the 2012 Presidential race.   Other than for Sarah Palin the excitement is not being generated by persons who have shown interest before–not for Mitt Romney or Haley Barbour or Mike Huckabee.   No it is younger Republicans like Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio who are drawing attention.

Congressman Paul Ryan has written a Roadmap for reform of Social Security and Medicare reform.   Debt commission leaders Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have included parts of  the Ryan Roadmap in their plan to reduce the deficit.   Nearly as significant, Alice Rivlin, former Clinton budget director for Bill Clinton, recently backed Ryan’s ideas.

Bobby Jindal, Govenor of Louisiana, has written a book highly critical of Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill crisis.   Jindal is doubtful that the President will move away from his radical agenda on any front.   The most in demand speaker for the GOP, other than Palin, is Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor who is fearlessly taking on the Left in his state and beyond.    His speeches remind one of Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman.    The most exciting new U.S. Senator is Marco Rubio of Florida.  Perhaps no one since Jack Kennedy in 1952 has drawn such attention as a Freshman in the Upper Chamber.

One thing these young men all have in common is lack of interest in running for President in 2012.   We can add one more name to this list:   Rick Perry, just elected to his third term as Governor of Texas.   On his watch, Texas has replaced California as the most prosperous and influential state.   Like others noted above he is not seeking the White House.

It is strange how things can change in two years.   In 2008 Barack Obama was the toast of the town and the world and even Larry Sabato, brilliant political scientist at the U. of Virginia, felt the GOP was headed for half pint status.  Now even the Left is asking what happened to the Anointed One, and the Republicans have a bench so deep that their Front Line players are being eclipsed by younger men and women.

Noemie Emery is a very gifted columnist for the Washington Examiner.   She wrote a piece in the November 15 edition of the Weekly Standard  about the “Impermanent Majority,”  in which she notes that  the year 2004 was to be a realignment to the Right.   This was followed by the 2008 realignment led by that transcendent persuader, Barack Obama.   Each of these realignments lasted all of seven months.

In 2006 all knew that 2008 was going to be about Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.   Obama was an asterisk also ran and Sarah Palin was unknown outside Alaska.   Emery closes her article with these words, “In light of these facts, we make no predictions.   All we feel free to say of the future is that it certainly does lie ahead.”

Noemie Emery properly suggests caution at this moment.   She is right.  Even the most gifted cannot see around corners.   But I would add to her careful closing–hang on.   This is all going to be very exciting, however it turns out.