After watching the past week of crazy in Wisconsin, and after seeing Rep. Allen West in that video earlier and up close at CPAC, and after having dealt with Texas Gov. Rick Perry personally, and after watching all the YouTubes of Gov. Chris Christie — and so forth and so on — I’m seeing a lot of quality leadership on the GOP side for 2012. Real experience, real records, though none of them have officially announced yet. But how do we choose between all of them? Here’s a little thought exercise to sort it all out. Below are all the names of contenders I could think of, excluding ones like Rep. Mike Pence who have definitely ruled out a run for the White House in 2012. I know, I know, both Perry and Christie have done that. Prospective candidates always do that. Pence, though, is set on a run for governor, while Perry and Christie can always be drafted or, you know, reconsider. So here are the names, followed by some intriguing matches. Mix and match, assess and obsess, in the comments.
Gov. Scott Walker (WI)
Rep. Allen West (FL)
Gov. Rick Perry (TX)
Gov. Sarah Palin (AK)
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN)
Gov. Mitch Daniels (IN)
Sen. Jim DeMint (SC)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Gov. John Kasich (OH)
Gov. Mitt Romney (MA)
Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR)
Rep. Ron Paul (TX)
Gov. Gary Johnson (NM)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN)
Am I leaving anyone out? Remind me in comments and I’ll add them. Now, for a few match-ups, in no particular order.
Walker-West – rookie gov who may have a big victory under his belt by 2012, rookie rep who will eat debate opponents alive.
Christie-Perry or Perry-Christie – either way works, red state plus blue state, south plus northeast, both fierce and interesting with solid records.
Pawlenty-Walker – this ticket screams “competent leadership” but also will give off a vibe of dullness. Might be too much of a northern ticket.
Pawlenty-Palin – if Palin’s actual record in office breaks through, says “competence.” But any ticket with Palin will attract more than the usual share of the left’s civility and decorum in public discourse.
Cain-West or West-Cain – just because it would be so awesome.
These are just a few possibilities.