There is a lot of chatter lately on who the Republican standard bearer will be in 2012. I happen to think the Republicans are in need of a fresh face, not the usual suspects.
Has anyone else looked at the list of potentials for the Republicans (Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, etc) and thought, “Wait, didn’t we try this in 2008?” And among the three I just mentioned, there are serious issues. For Romney, RomneyCare. For Huckabee, his pro-life Statism. For Pawlenty, sans the fact that his book cannot crack 5k in sales, is the fact that he worked closely with the Democrats in MN on a host of issues that were neither conservative nor advanced the free market.
Then comes the question of how comprehensive are these would be standard bearers. Is Romney really pro-life? Is Huckabee a fiscal conservative (I don’t buy the “I am wrapping myself in the Fair Tax and that will wipe the slate clean” schtick)? And for Pawlenty, who has more charisma when he speaks-the podium or him?
And then there are Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, John Thune, Sarah Palin and others I am sure I have missed.
Let me rattle through a few things quickly. Barbour-strong on life, but are we really ready to nail the flag to the mast with a heavy set, white male with a thick Southern drawl who has made his money lobbying for earmarks? Jindal-very solid on a host of issues. I like him and his team. But has he recovered from his State of the Union rebuttal debacle? Santorum-you can’t lose a Senate race and jump up to try and win the Presidency (I won’t even go into his support of Specter in 2004 and other issues). Thune-Nice guy. I like him. What has he done in 6 years in the Senate? Palin-good for the movement and I love her brash, outspoken nature. She will not win the primary.
Which brings me to why I like Mike (Pence). Charismatic, fiscally conservative with impeccable credentials amongst social conservatives, he is a man, as Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post points out, that bridges the gap. When House Republicans crumbled under pressure from the Bush Administration on Medicare Part D, Mike was one of 25 that stood firm and voted against it. In 2007, when the Bush Administration put forward a travesty of an immigration “reform” bill, Mike put out a tough, comprehensive bill as if to tell the leaders in his own party, “This is what real reform looks like.” Need someone who can clearly communicate the conservative message? As a former radio host, Mike is your man. Some are going to say, “Can he run from the House and win?” If President Obama can run from the Illinois state Senate and win (which is in essence what he did), Mike Pence can run from the United States House and win. If 2010 proved anything, it is that America is desperate for leadership. The tea party movement, leading that charge for change, is eager to embrace someone to lead the fight against Team Obama in 2012.
Can Mike raise money? Yes. Can he build infrastructure quickly in the early 2012 states? Yes. Will the tea party movement embrace him? Undoubtedly.
The decision is his and I know that by the end of the month he has to decide. My hope is that he decides to run for President. And I can say with confidence, there are a host of reasons millions of Americans will stand with me and say, “I like Mike!”
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