Predicting the 2012 GOP Presidential Ticket

With 2012 less than 500 days away and just a few months left before the November midterm elections, there is no better time to predict the 2012 Republican presidential ticket, because no one else in their right mind would dare.

Yes, I am aware that predictions of this nature are usually worthless, but they are fun nevertheless, and who doesn’t need some fun in these last depressing days of President Obama’s Orwellian-sounding “Recovery Summer"?

(Which leads one to ask: Does “Recovery Fall” start in September? Or did Recovery Fall eclipse Recovery Summer way back in June?)

These are questions for another time. But as for the 2012 GOP ticket, my prediction as of now is: Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Mitch Daniels.

This would be a historic governor-governor ticket.

In fact, back in March of this year, I co-wrote a Daily Beast column with Mark McKinnon about the strong possibility that the 2012 GOP presidential and vice presidential nominees would come from the statehouse. Now it’s time to stick my neck out and predict these two governors will be the eventual headliners.

In the Daily Beast column, we listed two-term Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour among the vice-presidential contenders, but respectably called him “king of the Republican governors” because of his chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

We wrote, “Barbour is someone to watch because he will be so influential in the 2010 governor’s races and will be a mainstay on the national news shows.”

Still true today, but here is the big difference between March of this year and now: Haley Barbour as RGA chairman has emerged as the de facto leader of the entire Republican Party (a post Barbour actually held from 1993 to 1997). This has been accelerated by the disastrous tenure of Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

Now Politico calls Governor Barbour the “most powerful Republican in American politics, at least for the next three months.” This refers to the $40 million he has raised as RGA chairman and his political operative skills, which will most likely lead to an increase in the number of victorious Republican governors among the 37 states holding gubernatorial elections in November.

Of course, if he is successful, Barbour will not only keep that “most powerful Republican”  title along with an impressive stack of IOUs. On November 3, you will also begin reading about how Haley Barbour was the “real winner” of the midterms and hearing hours of  “will he or won’t he run” cable chatter.

The answer is “yes.” Haley Barbour will run and he will be the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.

Back in January of this year, Newsweek called him the “Anti-Obama” and “Mr. Fix It.” Both titles are even more accurate now and position him well for 2012.

Haley Barbour is a governor who has weathered Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now the Gulf oil spill, state-level crises of the magnitude normally reserved for presidents. His stature has risen through both tragedies.

According to a July Rasmussen poll, Governor Barbour had a 70% approval rating in Mississippi.