April 1st, 2009
03:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Schneider: Spring training for the next presidential race

Who is on deck to lead the Republican Party?
Who is on deck to lead the Republican Party?

(CNN) - It's spring training, when hope springs eternal for the coming season. That's true for baseball players and for political players.

The scouts are out there, eyeballing hot prospects for the next Republican pennant race. Right now it's wide open.

"We don't have one spokesman right now. That's just one of the features of not having either house in Congress or having the White House. You don't have an official place to be heard," former Massachusetts Governor and former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told CNN's Larry King recently.

Romney's the Republicans' power hitter. Republicans have a history of nominating candidates who ran and lost before - Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, John McCain. Romney ran in the last presidential campaign and did pretty well.

He wins straw polls of conservative insiders all the time, including the 2007 Iowa straw poll and the last three straw polls taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

"This is the time to pare back government spending. It is not the time to fulfill every liberal dream and spend America into catastrophe," Romney told CPAC in February.

Romney's all over television, and this week he's addressing a national Republican fundraising dinner. His interest in the next race?

"That is too far to speculate on," Romney told CNN"s John Roberts on American Morning.

That's the political equivalent of, `"Aw, shucks."

Sarah Palin got a late season call up last year. She recently urged a dinner of Alaska Republicans to keep the conservative faith.

"Sometimes, the middle of the fence is really the most uncomfortable place to be," John McCain's 2008 running mate told Republicans at the Anchorage Lincoln Day Dinner.

Palin has declined an invitation to address a national Republican dinner in June. She'll be replaced by the party's leading pinch hitter, Newt Gingrich. Is the old timer looking to make a comeback?

"I am not undertaking any steps at the present time to do anything about a presidential campaign," the former House Speaker said last month after an appearance on the Sunday talk shows.

Try taking that to the bank.

Mike Huckabee's the Republicans' position player. He ran last time and got most of his support from southern Republicans and religious voters.

"My conservatism is rooted in my understanding of the scriptures," the former Arkansas governor told CPAC last year.

The leading rookie prospect? Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who created a stir when he spoke to a Republican dinner last month here in the nation's capital.

"Do you want the president to fail?" Jindal asked himself. His answer: "It depends on what he is trying to do."

Is it too early to start the next pennant race? Well, you might say the 2008 Democratic race started four years before, when an unknown player was selected to make a speech at a party event. That was a rookie by the name of Barack Obama.


Filed under: GOP
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Raymond Flournoy

    alvino commented: "Of the four, I think Sarah is the smartest. What ever that means."
    If that's true, we're in trouble. While I was watching the President Obama-Prime Minister Brown press conference in the UK today, I tried to imagine "President Palin" answering those questions and intermittently laughed and cried.

    April 1, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Lets see Geinrich is moe,Romney is Larry,Jindal is curly,and
    Palin is Joe Dorita. can't wait until the 2012 election's.

    April 1, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Raymond Flournoy

    They left out Joe the Plumber. He's stronger than those four. Just ask John McCain.

    April 1, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Lance

    Wow – that's what the GOP has to offer? One doesn't have to be connected to know those four are the best friends Democrats have.

    Just wondering when the GOP will have an original idea or is it too early in this century for that?

    April 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Enough

    I could not consider any of them for president.

    Huckabee and Jindal are likeable, but their social fundamentalism is too theocratic for presidency. Palin is included in this group with the exception of appeal after she incited those disturbing rallies last election.

    Gingrich's hypocrisy caused loss of respect for him, and Romney will change his positions any way the political winds blow. No thanks.

    Obama/Biden 2012...hands down.

    April 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    Looks more like the wall at the Post Office. Hey whwer are Mike Huuckabee and Fred Thompsn? Or as like to call em "Huck and Tom". Can't blame the Republicans for thinking about the race early though. If they feel 1/2 as bad about Obama as I did about "W" then thinking about 2012 is therapy to help ypou forget who is president. Look at that bright side folks it could have been worse for y'all/ What if McCain had won and the Supreme Court just turned around and handed it to Obama. Yeah that would have really been awful fer ya.

    April 1, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Rob Baker

    Take Romney and Palin off of the list. We need leadership, not old news that will get us no where.

    April 1, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Ghost

    Hey, let's not forget MC Michael Steele in da house!!! Representin' the R-N-C, baby!!!

    Back to the baseball theme, would that make Rush the coach, GM or president? Maybe the owner? I got it, league commisioner.

    April 1, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. shannon chapel hill

    W won Flordia fair and square in 2000. Al Frankin knows how to steal an election!

    April 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. JonDie

    Thanks to the MEDIA, the election cycles NEVER end.

    April 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Spencer, Virginia

    Why haven't we heard anything else about Romney's cabin mansion in Park City getting robbed. I said from the beginning it sounded like a insurance scam. There needs to be some dirt dug up on this story to use agianst him in 2012. The other 3 candidates in the picture aren't even relevant.

    Jindal – won't accept stimulus money..............Katrina
    Palin – won't accept stimulus money..............Volcano
    Gingrich – Played out

    April 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Paul

    PLEASE... CNN, I'm begging you.

    I know you're suffering election drama withdrawal, but I'm not. This last marathon of an election season wore me out. Frankly, it got to the point that I didn't care who won, as long as it would go away.

    If there's a decent bone in any of your bodies, you'll give us all at least a 6 month reprieve before we begin all this election mess coverage again.

    April 1, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Jan Illinois

    If this is the line up for a winning season, the season is not even going to start. Repugs take my word for it none of the line up could win a race. Think fresh face , get out and search for a decent, young person to try and find the gaps, what you got will not hit it out of the park. at best they are bench warmers.

    April 1, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Dan

    All four of these potential candidates may appear to be a joke now but in four years they could be a serious challenge to President Obama. History shows you that. In 1988 then Governor Clinton was seen as a rising star in our party until he gave a very long and boring speech at the 1988 DNC. After that fiasco many thought his presidential ambitions were practically dead, but 4 years later he defeated George Bush Sr. We Democrats must be careful not underestimate (or misunderestimate) anybody. This point illustrates that any political comeback is possible. The problem with the current state of the Republican Party is that their voters would like a fiscal conservative and social conservative in one package, which is almost impossible to find. Ronald Reagan was seen as a person who could execute both types of policies but in the end he spent like a drunken sailor on weapons we will never use to bankrupt a country (USSR) that most historians will tell you was already on it's way to collapsing.
    Social conservatives are the primary reason that the GOP is unpopular these days. They advocate small government but they tell you what you can and cannot do with your own body and can cannot do in your own bedroom. A majority of the nation feels that the principles these people advocate are outdated and turn back the clock too much. As long as people like Pat Robertson are symbols for the religious right, the social conservatives are in trouble. Let's face it, the religious right has poisoned the political world. The longer the social conservatives control the Republican Party the more the GOP falls behind. All of the candidates Bill highlighted are social conservatives first and fiscal conservatism comes second.

    April 1, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. cali seadog

    J.S.@4:05
    Nothing is being dismissed by CNN. Look at the previous articles so you can whine about Sibelius. Look just below this article so you can see about the GOP budget, it's actually more of the same recycled ideas. Also, try using spell check.

    April 1, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Mari

    As I read the comments from the far-right I can't help but .........laugh!

    Romney did not even come close in 08! Huckabee? You are kidding!

    April 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Tim

    What a bunch of losers!! I can call it right now 2012 ticket will be Romney = Mormon for President & Jindal = Muslim for VP. Wonder how the base will take that team???

    April 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Angie

    poor repugs. all the above are sad choices. if that is the best they can do, they should go back to the lab and start again. what a joke and what a bunch of losers.

    April 1, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Tommy

    Ron Paul.

    April 1, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. capnmike

    I look at the pictures of these four and all I can see is four sorry LOSERS! The Repiglican Party is very long on criticism, big on slamming Obama, but has NO SOLUTIONS, nothing creative to offer, just more of the same crapola that has gotten us into the trouble we are in now.
    They should fold their tents and get out of town.

    April 1, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Objective Thinking

    Ron Paul and Mark Sanford are probably the only two Republicans that have a chance at my vote.

    April 1, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Paul

    "Romney ran in the last presidential campaign and did pretty well"? Are we rewriting last year's history already? He failed miserably despite millions spent, because he has a sincerity problem: people don't trust him, because he very obviously clings to whatever point of view will profit him most, and people see through him.

    April 1, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Put 'em on horses and you've got an Apocalypse.

    April 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. John

    Republicans: Unconcerned about spending until they were concerned about spending.

    April 1, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Big George in Big D

    After your dream baby Nobama ruins the US, any one of the above 4 can beat him!

    April 1, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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