Polls suggest it is "put up or shut up" time for Sarah Palin on whether she'll run for President or, if not, assume the role of Kingmaker — and her endorsement will have power.Rick Perry has vaulted into the lead nationally, but I still have qualms with really calling him the front runner.Michele Bachmann is fading.Jon Huntsman is beclowning himself.And then there are the hangers on. We'll get into it all in this week's horserace.
Michele Bachmann has held an impressive wave of momentum together to make a competitive race with Mitt Romney in Iowa and nationwide. But her star is starting to fade as she becomes overshadowed by Rick Perry.Don't count Bachmann out. There are several debates coming up in succession in Florida and she will have time to rebound. She's been hurt of late with a media narrative that she is a diva, but she can make quick work of dispelling that narrative just by getting out and working the crowds.If Bachmann cannot regain her footing and keep up fundraising, she'll probably be able to hang on to Iowa, but no further. It's still early though.
The only rationale I have for Jon Huntsman's campaign is that he is building the case for a third party run. He is slamming the other Republicans. He is smearing Iowans. He's burning every bridge within the GOP. The only other place to go is to endorse Obama or claim to be a third party "middle way" candidate.I think the Huntsman camp is not behaving irrationally. They are behaving rationally from the perspective of making Huntsman the victim of the evil, nasty right-wingers. The media will gladly let him play victim.
I will believe it when I see it. At the same time, more and more polling shows Palin will have little impact if she gets in the race. I think people are tired of the tease and they want Palin to make up her mind. If she gets in, she will definitely move up, but I no longer think she will move up as much as she might have had she gotten in earlier.People are ready to settle on a candidate and I suspect for many there is a subtle resentment brewing that Sarah Palin is stringing them along.
Ron Paul will not be the nominee.
Perry is, according to the polls, the front runner.It is too soon to tell if he is the actual front runner or just benefiting from a polling bounce due to his entry. Here's the other issue with Rick Perry. He has not yet performed in debates. He is going to have to hold his own in the debates and, if the other candidates presume him to be the front runner, they may very well challenge him.And if Perry really is the front runner — there are six months to go till kick off. The big question is whether he can maintain that lead. Historically, the answer is yes he can. But that all depends on if his polling is a bounce or real.
Mitt Romney may soon suffer a new problem. Remember how Pawlenty and Bachmann went at each other fighting for second place? Mitt Romney has largely escaped the fray because you've got to secure your spot for second place before taking on the front runner.So if Bachmann was in second and now is in third with Romney in second, Bachmann will probably go for Romney, not for Perry. As will others on their way to second place. Mitt Romney's days of getting a pass in the debates may soon come to an end. That said, Romney will need to find ways to go after Perry.My guess? Perry is, for all intents and purposes, a career politician after leaving the Air Force and family farm. Romney will probably use his years in the private sector and keep saying nice things about Herman Cain as a way to push some insurgent grassroots supporters back from both Bachmann and Perry.If the candidates go for Romney and Romney for Perry, we will have a good indicator that Perry really is in first place.
Listing of Presidential candidates
I consider "former" candidates
(in order of being dropped)